Thursday, March 20, 2014

Venice - Florence Day 8

We started our day very early in Venice before the massive crowds arrived.

Between the two pillars is the entrance to  San Marco Piazza. Doge's Palace is on the right with all of the arches. The bell tower is on the left.

We had a fright when an elderly local woman fell just beside our group. She hit her head hard on the stone ground and cut her head badly. She was in shock and with a mixture of people from our group and a local Italian man we were able to call an ambulance. We saw the Italian man later in the day and he said that the woman was 93 and moving on her own after the ambulance arrived. She was going to be okay. What a terrifying experience, but thankfully everyone acted quickly and worked together in several languages to get her help.

After what was already an eventful morning we were off to see a blown glass  exhibition and followed by shopping.

I made several purchases in Venice and then we went up into the bell tower.

The views from the bell tower were amazing. When we came down we shared a gondola ride with another couple on our tour with musicians on board. The man played the accordion and the lady sang beautiful Italian opera. The acoustics along the canals was amazing. Everyone along the way regardless of nationality or language stopped to listen. Music transcends language.

Bridge of Sighs is the bridge that people walked prior to execution.

Everything in Venice is built upon 30ft tall oak trees that were hammered into the mud and sand below the city. Once the trees were hammered into the mud then they built a foundation of stone and these are the streets of Venice. Apparently oak petrifies over time when exposed to salt water and becomes stone. These petrified oak trees are what supports the entire island of Venice. Because of these trees and the fact that many settle at different levels everything is a bit unlevel. You can see in the image below that the tower has a lean from the settling of the oak trees. The Venetians used millions of oak trees to build Venice. They had to import them after a period of time.

After the gondola ride we boarded a boat to take us back to the mainland where we set out for Florence and a drive through the Tuscan hills.

We are making a quick stop at the hotel and then off for a drive in the Tuscan hills for a big Italian dinner. We had blue champagne, strawberry wine, and red and white wine with dinner. 

We also had a guitar player and singer who were excellent. The guitar player was an older gentleman who played everything from Italian songs to a little ACDC. It was great, but unexpected.

My husband even ended up singing and playing guitar for the entire group. We tour Florence and see the David statue in the morning and then off to Rome in the afternoon.

Day in Venice

Dinner in Tuscan hills in Florence

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