The last time we saw The Barrs was in a preview of Venice where they celebrated daughter’s Kaceys birthday in St. Marco square during a fireworks festival honoring long-ago plague survivors. However, the family told Kacey all of Venice was celebrating her birthday. They were not far off as, nothing ever seems straightforward in Venice and what a wonderful thought for her to remember for the rest of her life.
Venice never quite seems real, but rather an ornate film set suspended on the water. The alluring sceneries, timeless architecture, enchanting language, cuisine, the people– it’s impossible not to love Italy! Few countries in the world can rival Italy’s cultural legacy. There’s something magical about this place. I decided to write about the Barr’s time in Italy on a slower level for some reason, as it seems like a dream.
Imagine the audacity of building a city of marble palaces on a lagoon, Venice, capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region, is built on more than 100 small islands in a marshy lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. Its stone palaces seemingly rise out of the water. There are no cars or roadways, just canals and boats. The Grand Canal snakes through the city, which is filled with innumerable narrow, maze-like alleys and small squares. If you are in Venice, then travelling down the Grand Canal is a must. Going in the evening must be amazing with the reflections of lights on the canal. You can buy a travel card for the Vaporetto if you intend on going down the canal more than once, with times ranging from 12 hours to a week. The canal itself takes between half an hour to an hour depending on how you choose to travel. Beats the bus!
Dodges palace is a must. Doge’s former residence, the Gritti Palace, now a supremely elegant hotel that reopened last year after a 35-million-euro renovation. technically orivate chapel. Next door to basicilla priceless artwork. Feasts of days gone by are available in miniature at happy hour, when bars mount lavish spreads of cicheti (Venetian tapas).
Bring your camera, because when you find the iconic Bridge of Sighs, you will probably want to take a photo, or two, or three. This is one of the main attractions in Venice and ever days literally crowds of visitors come to the bridge, just to walk across. I was interested to learn that the bridge was actually once used by Italian prisoners, en route to the dungeons. The bridge is fully enclosed and features two actual layers, so that the prisoners going to and from the dungeon would not bump into each other. Well that’s what they say anyways.
The Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) is where you will find the Bell Tower, which is actually a part of the basilica. The Campanile has become quite a sight on the square and is around 100 metres tall. It was built in the 10th century and then some 800 years later, disaster struck, it fell down in 1902. It was then re-built, although somewhat slowly, and is now as beautiful as it probably ever was.
Venice lives on like a kindly maiden aunt, always alive, but you are never quite sure for how much longer.
Here’s hoping she has a few more years left, because as Trevor said, you just have to keep on going to visit her.
As Robert Browning once said, “Every one soon or late comes round by Rome”- and that was the next stop for the Barrs.