July 24: Venice

A late night rain storm has dropped the temperature and humidity below 100 degrees so the day, while very hot (approx. 95), is at least a little more tolerable. Shade is still at a premium, but the walk between each patch isn't so intense that one questions the sanity of even venturing out away from shade or air conditioning.

First on the list of "to do" places is a water taxi ride to the island of Murano, just "down the street" from the center of the city. Murano is known world wide for its glass factories. The Venetians have been famous for their artistic glass since the Middle Ages and many of the current Masters are descendents from these early artists. Each factory has its own unique pattern or style of glassware that has been handed down over the centuries. All the pieces are hand made on site using furnaces burning at over 1000 degrees. Today's factory visit included the making of chandeliers, one more beautiful than the next. Each is hand crafted, assembled for the buyer to view, and then carefully disassembled, packaged and shipped to all points of the world. Fine goblets, stem ware, cordial glasses, statues, plates, every imaginable glass piece is on display. The price of each depends on several factors, one of which is the degree of experience the glass maker has. Young boys of 14 or 15 begin their apprenticeship under the watchful eye of the Masters. Their pieces, while still beautiful, start at a much lower price. A piece by a full Master who has worked in front of the furnace's heat for years commends a price that one could by a house for -- but it is a heirloom treasure, for sure.

Second on the list is the Palazzo di Doge (Palace of the Doge) with its Ponte di Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs) connecting it to the Prison on the main piazza of Venice, the San Marco Piazza. The Doge was the head of the ruling party and government with the Palazzo as its headquarters for over 1000 years. All matters of state were conducted within the walls as well as serving as the main residence of the sitting doge. It is a symbol of prosperity and power of those early years. The interior walls and ceilings are covered with fine murals gilded in gold; carved woodwork benches line the rooms of council; intricate marble and stonework can be seen throughout the building; tapestries cover the walls of the doge residence area. Included within these walls was the House of Justice. The laws of the land were enforced here with the offender placed immediately after his/her hearing into the prison next door. The prison was in direct contrast to the opulence of its neighbor. A covered bridge connect the two so that the prisoner never experiences the feeling of freedom from the outside world again. This bridge was appropriately named the Bridge of Sighs in tribute to the sound each prisoner made as he enters the dark and forbidding building.

Leaving The City

Out a Back Street!

On The Main Street to Murano

Betsey Loving the Sea Breeze

Furance Area in Glass Factory in Murano

Chandelier Waiting to be Displayed in Showroom

Molten Glass Being Shaped



Hot Work on a Hot Day!

Rejected Glass or Broken in Process

Finished Chandelier Pieces


Betsey Out In the Cooler Air Again!

Race of the Ferries

Gondola Station

Bridge of Sighs

Sue in the Courtyard of the Palazzo

Entrance Stairs into the Palazzo


Carved Door

Prison Hallway

View of Two Person Cell

Another Hallway

Betsey on the Stairs to the Bridge of Sighs

Caprese Salad with Buffalo Mozzarella


Spaghetti Carbonara for Lunch!