Nine Days in Italia – Parte Due: Unexpected Breakfast And Unexpected St Marks’

The second day of our trip to Italia and our first full day in Venezia, as before all images are taken on my Olympus OM-1 with either 50mm F.Zuiko or 28mm Vivitar lenses this day the film used was FujiColor C200.

This was our first full day in Venezia, not that we hadn’t spent a good few hours there the day before but this time we had the whole day and could make actual plans of what we wanted to do. This boiled down to two main things, Jo wanted to go on a boat trip to a few of the islands in the Venetian lagoon, specifically Burano since she’s been obsessed with visiting the place ever since she first saw photo’s of the multicoloured houses, and what I wanted to do which was see the Palazzo Ducale, as with every relationship the lady won so a boat trip it was. Actually that’s a little unfair as to get to where the boat trips were we had to go past the Palazzo Ducale anyway, not that we realised that as we sort of just stumbled our way through the maze of Venetian streets blindly attempting to get to St Marks’ Square where we knew you could get a boat.

Helpfully very few of the images here are actually of the boat trip itself as luck would have it I finished the roll of film at the first stop off point of Murano and a glass blowing factory. Oh well, at least Fuji captures blue’s excellently, which is good for a day of sea and cloudless sky. My God that cloudless, burning hot sky!

1.jpg Jo will probably kill me for this photo but I sort of have to show the whole roll of film, that’s the whole point. One great thing about doing Air BnB and staying with a host as nice as Fiorella is the breakfast she laid out everyday, totally unexpected in fact to the point that I actually felt a little sheepish asking if it was for us. There was everything you can imagine laid out and so much of it that I pocketed a few items in my camera bag for later on since we were going to be out all day.

2.jpg A view from the train crossing over from the mainland to Venezia itself, just look at that sky, this was probably around 11am at the most and it was already around 35 degrees, those clouds would soon be burnt off. One thing we learnt very quickly this day was the heat in Venezia is pretty inescapable, the enclosed buildings, tight alleyways and narrow streets don’t lend themselves well to gentle breezes, no wonder most stores have air conditioning, a very effective way of dragging people in off the street

3 Remember what I said about the Santa Lucia Stazione being right on the Canal? Well hears the evidence, this is taken from the bottom of the steps leading into the train station.

4.jpg We probably should’ve realised that we were heading the wrong way when these streets seemed, well no deserted but less busy than they probably should have been. But hey we were on holiday, and if you can’t wander around without a care in the world when you’re on holiday when can you? The photo below is probably one of my favourites I took in all of Venezia, it’s of nothing in particular, just a bog standard canal, but the colours of the buildings and the reflections in the water make it stand out to me as very nice. I’ll pat myself on the back for this one.

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6.jpg I noticed this lady painting in this unassuming square so had to stop and take an image, you can see from the almost vertical shadows how oppressive the sun was. Phew..

7.jpg The first clock we came across that keeps “Italian Time”, the clock was showing has semi Roman numerals and instead of 0:00 being midnight it’s when the sun rises, so technically speaking at no point on any one day is for example 6 o’clock the same time as the sun rises differently across the year. I don’t know why I’ve never heard of this but honestly look it up.

8.jpg Ah the dreaded back of the camera opening itself up again struck, hence the red banding across this image. Damn, it’s quite nice otherwise, the price you pay for using film.

9.jpg So when I was in Roma a year ago everywhere you went street sellers were trying to sell you bloody selfie sticks, or when it rained ingeniously poorly made umbrellas (they’re really crap, Jo bought one that imploded 5 minutes walk down the street). In Venezia it appears the only thing for sale on the street is this rubber ball toy thing that splats on the ground and then regains its ball shape. Utterly everywhere! Maybe since I’m too old to play with stuff like this but don’t have kids I don’t understand but at the same time, why were they trying to sell these to me? Know your market guys.

10.jpg And here we are, when I say we stumbled into St Marks Square I literally mean it, one moment we were following signs for it semi lost the next we stop look around and realise we’re stood literally in the shade of St Marks Basillica. Good thing we didn’t have a sit down though, some tourists were doing just that as this photo was taken, not realising they were taking a rest at the foot of/almost on top of St Marks tomb, not a good idea which they were reminded of by a polite warning from the Carabinieri.

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14.jpg To say St Marks is busy is an understatement, not that I would’ve expected anything less being one of the most famous squares in the world. The architecture as you can see is stunning, the Venetian Republic really knew how to blend styles with the Byzantine and Middle Eastern elements from their trading empire mixing in with the Italian. The photo’s really don’t do the place justice, especially as they’re annoyingly underexposed, although due to the great band at the bottom of the image of the Campanile below perhaps the fogging is down more to the film or that pesky camera back again?

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16.jpg The Palazzo Ducale, or Doge’s Palace in English, was the seat of Venetian government for the vast majority of the life of the Venetian Republic, to say its impressive would be quite the understatement. This is what I wanted to go and visit but as it was such a nice day, the boats were about 100 yards behind me and because I’d been over ruled, a boat trip it was instead. We’d go check this place out tomorrow.

17.jpg We bought a couple of tickets for a 4 hour trip to a number of islands in the Venetian Lagoon, Murano (where there was a tour of a glass factory), Burano (where the coloured houses Jo wanted to see were) and Torcello (which has a monastery). The boat trip actually consisted of a little more of that, with the boat heading out towards the Lido and giving a good round about trip of the north of Venezia as we sailed past as well. It wasn’t cheap but was at least half the price of a half hour Gondola ride so I see that as a win.

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20.jpg There she is, the fine vessel we’ll be sailing in.

21.jpg The next few images have a light banding that can be seen, this time its not the film or the camera, its because they’re taken through the windows of the boat. The boat that was unbearably hot, my God it was like sitting in a giant plastic fish bowl oven, so hot in fact that on the way back from Torcello I nearly fell asleep.

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23.jpg Just look how beautiful the city looks with the glistening water, you can see why the place is such a popular tourist destination.

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25.jpg And the final image on this roll of film happens to be horribly underexposed as we’re inside watching a glass blowing demonstration. An incredibly skilled demonstration at that, the guy makes an amazingly detailed glass statue of a horse on its hind legs in less than 5 minutes, utterly brilliant. And utterly expensive as it turned out, we had a walk around their store/museum after the demonstration, I quite fancied a set of gilded glasses but shipping wasn’t available on items under 600 Euros, and there was no way I wasn’t going to break them in my bag over the next week and a flight home. The sort of items that were available for shipping however, well if you have a spare 10,000 Euros you could get a very nice chandelier the size of a sofa.

With that the roll of film expired and I had to switch to digital for the rest of the day. A few extra points of what happened;

  • Burano was as pretty as the photographs make it look, have a look at some of the images of it on this blog, the place really is picturesque.
  • The birds in Torcello are completely unafraid of people, hence the very close up photos I managed to get and again have been posted on this blog already.
  • I managed to do a little street photography while Jo popped into and out of various shops, yet again some of these have already been posted.
  • And finally the one and only time we got caught out with a restaurant. Remember Fiorella said the vast majority of the restaurants were terrible? Well we found one of them. Over priced, minuscule portions, pasta that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a tin of Heinz pasta shapes and service that was very get in, get out, serve the next poor soul who fell for the trap. Lesson learned, don’t eat out anywhere near the Grand Canal.

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