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Venice: City on the Sea
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Venice: City on the Sea
  Venice Travel Tale

by Lorry Patton ...

venice_doves_210.jpg Close your eyes for a moment and visualize Venice. What do you see?

Dreamlike shimmering reflections of a city floating on the sea. Gondolas gliding beneath the stars. Gondoliers serenading in the moonlight. Water lapping at artistic buildings that seem without foundation. Squares vibrating with native chatter and fluttering pigeons. Palaces and cathedrals beaming with priceless art. Bridges and more bridges.

Are these visions merely exaggerated daydreams? No. Venice is exactly as you imagine--a real heart-throbbing visual delight.

There are nearly 400 bridges in Venice. One is called the Rialto.

This heavy and massive bridge is not in harmony with the rest of the Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance styles so evident in Venice. Perhaps that is why it is the most majestic bridge of all. Built in the 16th century, a double row of colorful shops occupies its arcades--shops extremely popular and crowded Among other things, the famous Venetian glass is sold here, and from the parapets of the bridge, you can see the spectacular Grand Canal.

venice_street210.jpg The Grand Canal, the main artery running through the city, is 3,800 meters long and varies in width from 30 to 70 meters. Shaped like an inverted S it flows alongside opulent palaces and painted houses--some 800 years old.

There are solid streets in Venice, too; little narrow shopping streets that cut crookedly through the ancient structures. And alleys, tiny twisted alleys that seem to run in circles. There are embankments where an endless variety of water vessels come and go and docks where gondoliers barter for your attention.

Then there are the squares. One in particular is the fascinating St. Mark's Square. Touted as the most beautiful square in the world, it was the center of Venetian life for centuries. Today it draws visitors from everywhere. They come, not only to mingle with friends at the open air cafes, but to witness the flight of the pigeons, a spectacle that multiples each year. And, they come to explore the aged monuments like St. Mark's Cathedral, the Correr Museum and the Ducal Palace.

The remarkable St. Mark's Cathedral is the greatest religious shrine in the city and one of the wonders of the world. A masterpiece of Romanesque-Byzantine architecture, its golden interior sparkles luminously in the gloom. Its floor, uneven due to the continuous subsiding of the ground, has figures of animals and geometrical designs from the 12th century.

The splendid Correr Museum contains a rich gallery of famous paintings from the 14th to the 16th century. Paintings such as Christ Giving the Keys to St. Peter by Lorenzo Veneziano and the Crucifixion by Giambellino.

The decorative Ducal Palace, first constructed in 814 and restored in the middle of the 14th century, is absolutely stunning. The Senate Room and the Room of the Major Council are so ornate they will leave you speechless. The Room of the Major Council also contains the largest canvas in the world (22 meters by 7 meters). It is titled Paradise and is by Jacopo Tintoretto.

These are but a few descriptions of the glorious sights to savor in this romantic city of earthly treasures. In fact, there are 200 historical structures on the Grand Canal alone.

Unfortunately, through time , floods, and high tides, these treasures are slowly sinking into the lagoon. Solutions to stop or reverse the process are very costly.

It may be worth it, considering there is no place on earth quite like Venice.




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