Sunday, March 25, 2012

A little bit of Vicenza... A lot of Venice

We rolled into Vicenza, and came to our hotel… which we found out was 5km outside of the city center. Of course no one wanted to walk that far to see the city, so our bus driver was nice enough to drive us there so we could explore. We didn’t really know what was in Vicenza besides some works by Andrea Palladio. So we just walked around to find these. We saw the duomo and the basilica (which has since been turned into a shopping center… kind of disappointing…) We wandered some more and came across a big open park – with a huge muskrat. We came across a tree with a bunch of roosters in it; so naturally Blake decided to try to hold a conversation with them. He would call to them, and every time they would answer back. It was pretty comical. We made it through the park and decided to try to find dinner… which was more challenging than we thought it would be. But we did come across a restaurant that had…decent food. Not the best I’ve had, but not too bad. We made it back to the hotel, worn out from the long day, ready for bed.
Tower by the Basilica

Morning came and we were given a big ol’ breakfast by the hotel – so many options! We loaded the bus again to head to our first stop of the day Villa Rotunda. We had studied this in history as well as in some studio classes so seeing it first hand was pretty awesome. It is very symmetrical, but it has a certain beauty about it… it’s hard to explain. But I’ll just say all famous architects after Palladio studied this as well as many of his other works.
Villa Rotunda
On the way to Venice we made one more stop at a cemetery designed by Scarpa. I will say that I have no idea what goes through that man’s head when he designs because I can’t explain a single thing he does, but it was a beautiful place. As weird as it may sound because it was a cemetery, I could have spent hours there. It had a certain personality about it that I really enjoyed. But, we were all eager to get to Venice, so back on the bus we went!

About an hour later we rolled into Venice. This has been the one trip I’ve really been looking forward to since we got to Italy. When I think of Italy, I think Venice is what pops into my head: the buildings on the water, the bridges, the canals. I was so excited to spend the next three days here! I love water… so that may have something to do with it too. Marco met us at the hotel and walked us around for a little while to get us acclimated to the city a little bit. There are so many shops that sell masks and glass from the glass blowing factory… yay souvenirs!
The first day with Marco we went to Piazza San Marco. This is the piazza where there are no Venetians because it is packed with tourists! Haha. He took us into Doge’s Palace – it was pretty incredible. I’m not one for museums, but when I can appreciate the building I can handle it. We made it through the palace and then were able to go up to the top of the tower. When we got up there we had a 360 degree view of the city… Venice is gorgeous – love this city. After the tour we took the ferry to Murano – the island with all the glass blowing. We went to the museum and saw some pretty amazing works. I found myself asking if what I was looking at was really glass. We of course did some shopping around after that to get some one-of-a-kind glass souvenirs. It was a pretty cool little place.
View from the bell tower

Murano Island!

We made our way back to the hotel to get ready for dinner –Hard Rock CafĂ©! Yes, that’s right, we went big. I may have spent 15 euro on BBQ, but it was definitely worth it. Best American meal I’ve had since we got here. Can’t put a price on good ol’ home cookin! After dinner we headed out to celebrate Anne’s birthday and met up with our friends from Castiglion. It was a pretty good night!
BBQ Dinner!
The next day we got up and got all packed for our spring break travels. We left the hotel for our last trip with Marco which consisted of a walk around the city and St. John/St. Paul’s Church. The walk was amazing, of course, because it’s Venice. I can’t get over how beautiful it is. And the church was pretty spectacular too. It doesn’t matter how many we go in, each one has its own thing that makes it so beautiful.
Inside the church

Next stop... Paris!

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