Today was our busiest yet! On our list included St Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, the Bridge of Sighs, Vivaldi Museum and an Art Nouveau exhibit of Gustav Klimt in the Correr Museum.
St Mark's exterior
Every day since we arrived, we have walked through St. Mark’s Square and seen the line-ups to get in to the Basilica. They are unbelievable! So today we headed out early and were practically first in line at the entrance. Although we had to wait 45 minutes before the doors opened, it still felt less stressful getting in before the crowd.
Pigeon Poop Patrol missed Olivia today and got me instead. Darn good thing we are not looking up with our mouths open! For the past 2 days in Venice Olivia seems to have been their main target, but today, they got me!
I don’t think I have ever walked as much, climbed as many stairs, seen as many special places or looked at so many violin collections in glass cases ever before. The longer we stay here the more we add to our MUST DO list, except for churches. Although we are tired of them, the ones we have visited so far have been wonderful. They are time capsules that contain art dating back to before the 15th century (some including works by Bellini and Tintoretto), historically significant architecture, and the stories that accompany the patron family that paid for its construction. Each church is also the resting place for the saints and other notable figures that are buried beneath, on top of and inside the building. Some of these churches even have glass sarcophagi’s that have the mummified remains of revered personages. Those are hard to look at.
Baptismal where Vivaldi was baptizedVivaldi's Baptismal Certificate
Back in March when I first started exploring possible performance venues for “Peggy’s Violin” I contacted the Guggenheim Museum in Venice and they responded with interest. However, when we visited the museum today it appears that they have only small “domestic” sized rooms that would not function well at all for a performance for a young audience. We very much enjoyed our visit to the museum; the space, the exhibits and Peggy Guggenheim’s story and legacy were all very compelling. Even the garden space with its wonderful random stone and tile patterns, bronze sculptures and plantings of trees and perennials were a feast for the eyes. Nevertheless the focus of this museum does not seem to fit or connect with our story of “Peggy’s Violin”.
Guggenheim sculpture garden
Breakfast will never be the same again! Sitting in the interior courtyard of the Metropole Hotel surrounded by urns and other antiquities (and protected from pigeons by a canopy), we munched on fruit mousse, assorted artisan breads, Venetian cheeses, delicately sliced fruits, fresh croissants AND CHOCOLATE! You could also have granola and prunes but since that need has passed we move onto better things.
Vivaldi violin sonatas in the building that was once the Opsedella de la Pieta where Antonio Vivaldi composed and bought violin.
So on a full stomach I pulled out the Grancino, tuned it and warmed up to play some Vivaldi Sonatas that I have uncovered. With the window open over the small canal beside the hotel the sound resonated to the boats below. I did not feel any Vivaldi vibes. Maybe I was playing out of tune or wrong notes? But it is a wonderful feeling to know that I am sleeping, eating and playing my violin in the space on this earth that he worked in, but 300 years later.
Just down the street/canal!
The pictures that we see in our travel books and movies do not do justice to Venice. Our mouths were wide and our eyes as big as pizzas when we first glimpsed the real Venice from the Vaporetto (water boat/bus). My brother in law, Clive, would love this place. Water and boats all over the place! And the buildings, it is quite a miracle that this city even still sits here on the wooden stilts that support it! The only clincher so far is the tour boats that drop off thousands of tourists who swarm the area and the pigeons who have already dropped on Olivia! And that happened when we had just been here a couple of hours!
Canada wins the 2012 Giro d’Italia today in Milan!
The Giro Trophy on display just outside of McDonalds
Today was our last day in Milan and we wanted to see some of the Fashion Quadrilatero, nicknamed the “Golden Rectangle” of fashion before we left. Walking through the narrow stone paved streets I got quite dizzy with the frequency of great picture opportunities of amazing, wonderful, crazy, and ridiculous window displays.
At the end of our visit to Milan we make yet another discovery! Wonderful chocolate on the top floor of the RINASCENTE store. Olivia viewed this top floor from her viewing point yesterday when she was on the roof of the Duomo. So this was our destination for dinner last night. Quite the spectacular vista and pretty good food too, except for the smokers, again. And we HAD to buy some chocolate.
Olivia choosing her chocolate
Shoes, made of chocolate, not for wearing!
We have walked by and photographed the Duomo (Milan Cathedral) all week so today it was time to investigate further. The piazza in front of the Duomo was originally completed in the 14th century and the Duomo itself took about 6 centuries to finish and apparently is in a constant state of renovation or repair.
I have become quite attracted to some of these cute little cars that every one is driving in around Milan. Electric and you can almost park them in your dining room!
another view- it even comes in pink!
Museo della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci was today’s destination. And again we had the usual map problems, which way is up??? Navigating with the sun has helped. But we have now learned a quicker way of solving it. When seeking our museum destination we have found that we just need to look for the groups of school children going to the same place! That was our successful method today.
Museo della Scienza
Museo della Scienza courtyard