Friday, April 19, 2013


The ice cream colors of Torcello

     When we dream of Venice, we dream of romance, sitting with the man or woman of your dreams in a gondola as it’s piloted through the canals. Listening to the gondolier sing a ballad of love and seeing the water lap against the old palazzos where pots of brilliantly colored flowers relax on terraces, and smile at the sun. We board a vaporetto and pay a visit to Murano where the art of glassmaking industry has made everything from bowls to chandeliers since 1251 and Burano, a fishing village known for its lace and, the third and most charming village—Torcello, with an ancient stone bridge and the Cattedrale di Torcello with its Byzantine mosaics. For shoppers a walk across the single arched Rialto Bridge is an invitation to luxury boutiques and inexpensive souvenir stands. We flock to St. Mark’s Basilica, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, the Academy Gallery and walk, and walk, and walk—losing ourselves in the streets—perhaps the most fun of all.  
     But there is another side to Venice, there is the Piazzetta San Marco, a minute square next to the Doge’s Palace that faces the Grand Canal. Here, the infamous medieval justice of Venice was carried out—Victims lost their head or were hung after being held in torture chambers where they were interrogated. Inquisitors known as The Terrible Ten were appointed by the city to dispense justice. The prisoners first crossed The Bridge of Sighs—the name descends from the wail of sorrow by victims forced to cross the bridge knowing they would suffer torture and almost certain death. The Palace of the Doges dates back to 1309—a fire in 1577 damaged much of the building and many magnificent artworks were ruined but a number of the finest Venetian artists of the 16th century contributed to its restoration by replacing the frescoes and paintings of old masters.
     A city filled with beauty, fine shops and restaurants and like any other—a city that has known evil.


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