Thursday (June 30), we packed up and headed to the train station to make our way to Venice. While I was packing, Peter curiously and thoroughly enjoyed watching me cram all of my stuff back into my pack.
We took a bullet train directly from Milan to Venice. It was about a two and a half hour ride.
After arriving in Venice around 3 o’clock, we took the vaporetto (water bus public transportation system) to the stop closest to our apartment. We stayed in one of the residential areas of Venice, the Dorsoduro neighborhood. Once we found the apartment, we met someone to get the keys.
We got settled and made a quick grocery store run. A little later, we got dinner at Osteria da Codroma-which was right around the corner from our apartment. We all split a mixed grilled seafood plate (monkfish, swordfish, scallops, prawns, codfish and shrimp) and several pasta dishes. Then we all split a tiramisu for dessert.
July 1st (first full day)
Everyone was pretty tired from our time in Milan, so we all slept in a little later than usual. We made a big brunch and ate it outside on our patio.
We left the apartment to go exploring around 1 o’clock.
Our first stop was a church we stumbled upon, the Church of San Pantalon. This church, built in the sixteenth century, is famous for its painted Baroque ceiling. It is believed to be the largest oil painting in the world, made by 40 canvases sewn together. Painted by Giovanni Antonio Fumiani over 24 years, it depicts the martyrdom of Saint Pantaleon, the patron saint of physicians.
Next, we walked a little further into the heart of the city to the Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. The first church at this site was built around the year 1231. The current building was built in 1492. The church most famously houses a Titian altarpiece and religious sculptures by Donatello. Also found inside this church are the tombs of Renaissance painter Titian and eighteenth century neoclassical sculptor Canova.
After finishing up at the Frari church, we spent a couple of hours just wandering around town.
When we got back to our apartment, we made a yummy dinner of pasta, salad and bread.
Later that night, around 9, we went and got on the vaporetto to ride up and down the Grand Canal. We passed all the major landmarks and sites. It was interesting to see the city at night, with all the lights reflecting off the canals. The whole ride took about an hour and a half.
We got done with the vaporetto ride around midnight, went back to the apartment and crashed.
July 2nd: Island Hopping Day
The family woke up around nine and was out the door by around 9:30/10.
We hopped on the vaporetto to go to our first stop, the San Michele Cemetery Island.
The island became a cemetery in 1807 and since then has become the final resting place of many Venetians, as well as some notable persons such as composer Igor Stravinsky and poet Ezra Pound.
After wandering around the massive cemetery for a while, we hopped back on the vaporetto to head to Murano Island, about a 15 minute ride.
The island of Murano has been known for its glass blowing since the 13th century. While I’m sure that many people might enjoy wandering around the island, it wasn’t what we had hoped it would be. The Durhams gave it 1 out of 12 thumbs up.
After doing a lap around Murano, we took a 45 min vaporetto ride to the island of Burano. Burano is known for its picturesque, colorful houses and its lacemaking. We spent a few hours wandering around the island, stumbling down different colorful alleyways, eating sweets from the local bakery and just people-watching.
When we were finished at Burano, we took the vaporetto back to the mainland of Venice, about an hour ride. Peter tried to nap…
For dinner, we made pasta, salad & bread with gelato for dessert.
[click here to read part 2 of the Venice blog]