For the morning we had booked the well known “Secret Itineraries” tour at the Doge’s Palace, for Brenda, Linda and Ken and me. I had actually taken this tour in 2005 with Kathryn and our friends, Kris and Katie.  I recognized the tour guide right away and she confirmed that she had been doing this tour back then.

Meeting the guide in the courtyard

Meeting the guide in the courtyard

The tour was a bit different though.  Two years ago, they added a section known as the “wells,” which is group of jail cells on the bottom floor where it sometimes floods during aqua alta.  It is totally dismal, as you’d imagine hell to be. There was still some “graffiti” on the cell walls from the long ago prisoners.

The Doges (Dukes) of Venice reigned from the mid 700’s until 1797.  We learned a lot about the structure and history of Venetian government during those years.  There was a lot of talk about Casanova, seeing the cells he stayed in and finally where and how he escaped.  We also went into the attic where all the armor and historical weapons are stored.  Very Game of Thrones stuff.img_3280

I liked peeking out from the little attic windows to see the roof designs close up.img_3288

The guide took us into one special room with this incredible optical illusion floor and a brightly restored Veronese on the ceiling.

see my foot?

see my foot?

The tour ended at the top of the “Golden Staircase” and we went into some of enormous palace rooms on our own after that. I liked the astrological clock:

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We came out and walked over to the Bridge of Sighs and then hung out in the Piazza San Marco for a while.  I so wish, for Brenda and Linda, that it wasn’t so gray so the basilica would sparkle a little for them, but no such luck.  Winter is Coming.  We still have not seen blue sky since we arrived. We strolled around some more and then went to Alle Testiere (arguable one of the best fish restaurants in Venice) for lunch.  I had razor clams which were nice but a little grittier than usual, and some really nice vegetables.  Ken had spaghetti with clams and our friends both had prawns with ginger and lime.  We shared 2 desserts and had some coffee.  It was a very nice lunch, but nothing fantastic.

Rest time was next so we made our way home by way of Santa Maria Formosa and the Giovani e Paolo campo.

In the evening we went on a shopping expedition.  Tried an new bakery for bread and stopped at the little cheese and salumi place right near us.  Of course, we made a stop in the Coop.  It was drizzling the whole time.

Had a very nice dinner with all of our booty and a salad.  And wine.

Another early night.  Fine with me.

 


Comments

Re: Casanova — 3 Comments

  1. You are fortunate to know Venice in every kind of weather and ever thoughtful to want the blue skies for your friends. I fell in love with Venice as a youngster watching “Summertime” with Katherine Heoburn. It still remains one of my favorite films. Thank you for reminding me about the Secret Itineries tour. Fun to know they have added more places to explore. Your leisure days there are such a gift. You are an excellent slow traveler.

  2. When we took the Secret Itinerary tour many years ago, we went down to the basement cells. It really freaked me out and I was practically pushin the people ahead of me to get them to go faster. Our favorite part was walking under the roof where you could see the inverted ship’S keel design and also see and here what was going on in the Greatt Hall below us.
    We have always loved Alle Testiere and I am sorry to read you had a disappointing meal there.
    Hope the sun comes out for you.

  3. When we took the Secret Itinerary tour many years ago, we went down to the basement cells. It really freaked me out and I was practically pushin the people ahead of me to get them to go faster. Our favorite part was walking under the roof where you could see the inverted ship’S keel design and also see and here what was going on in the Great Hall below us.
    We have always loved Alle Testiere and I am sorry to read you had a disappointing meal there.
    Hope the sun comes out for you.