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