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  • Day18

    More art – old & new!

    September 6, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    We started the day with breakfast at Café Farini where the coffee was excellent yet again! Next stop was the Doges Palace in St Mark’s Square. This costs 20 Euro for the visit but you also get entry to 3 other museums in St Mark’s Square so it isn’t too bad. The palace is another of those buildings that has been added to, burned down and partially rebuilt several times. Started in the late 12th century the palace was the residence of the Doge (the elected ruler of Venice) and the seat of the administration of the city. The visit is fairly structured in that there are lots of signs saying “direction of visit” and that sort of thing. We started with the administrative chambers which are rather grand and filled with art – a lot by Tinteretto (Jacob as well as his son Domenico). The we visited the armory which has 2000+ weapons and then finally the goal which includes the famous “Bridge of Signs” which one actually gets to cross in both directions. Although the goal was built as a “model” prison and was seen as very “nice” for the prisoners, it is clear that such things are relative as it was dark, dank and really rather smelly. It WAS very interesting however.

    Having seen lots of old art we moved on to the new stuff – heading off to the Arsenale where we had another go at the Biennale. The Arsenale was first developed in the early 12th Century and was the heart of the Venetian naval power as it functioned as the ship building yards covering an area of 46 hectares (about 15% of Venice) and employing 16,00 workers at its peak – at which time up to 100 ships would be in various stages of production simultaneously. The Arsenale is now the venue for a large proportion of the Biennale, which is what we went to see. There were 5 pavilions with invited artists in the main building and then various country pavillions around the rest of the site. I am not sure if I am missing something or just don’t “get” contemporary art – I couldn’t see the point of a lot of it – we actually suspected many of the artists might have genital issues based on what we were seeing. Although that being said some of the works were really interesting and the venue was fascinating!

    By about 3pm we were all “arted” out and headed back towards the Rialto – we got a bit lost (a very regular occurrence in Venice although it never lasts long) and then stumbled across another Farini branch where we revived ourselves with a double espresso and a cake thing. Fortified we wandered off to check out the Correr Museum which is housed in a late 16th Centruy Building at the other end of St Mark’s Square to the Doges Palace – it has a serious of rooms restored to their 18th Century use as the apartments of the Empresses as well as a large collection of items ranging from religious, through naval and church items.

    After the museum, we took the Traghetto from the Rialto Market stop across the Grand Canal and then walked down Strada Nuova towards the station browsing the shops and generally enjoying the mild evening. We returned to the hotel to shower and change and then headed back past the station to a restaurant we had passed earlier for tea. The food wasn’t awful or anything but it wasn’t fantastic either – I had spaghetti al nero (spaghetti with cuttlefish and squid ink) which was really nice, then grilled salmon (which was a tad dry and a bit boney) with a nice salad. Kirstin had Salmon and polenta but didn’t enjoy the salmon because of the bones. Post dinner it was back to the hotel to start packing and sort out our plans for tomorrow when it is off to Verona!
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