Atlantis Alumni

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hit and Miss Adventures, Venetian Style

Photos: Jim on the balcony of St. Marks Basilica, colorful Burano, the historic churches of Torcello

We started our day in Venice by visiting the Basilica of St. Mark’s. The old Byzantine church is one of the greatest examples of that type of architecture. Best of all was walking in the galleries above the nave, where we saw the magnificent four horses or ‘Quadriglia’ from Constantinople, and a display of the ancient mosaics and stonework. We enjoyed beautiful views of the city from the church’s balconies. After the basilica we took a vaporetto to the Academy, the great museum of art, full of treasures by the greatest Venetian artists including Carpaccio, Bellini, Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto and many others. Then we headed toward the opera house, La Fenice, where we hunted for a luncheon restaurant. Unfortunately we hit a dud. Even after many years of travel, it’s still possible to find rip-off places, unknowingly. The restaurant we chose used the same boring red sauce on all its main dishes, including crepes and the gnocchi. Plus, it was way overpriced. Then we continued the temporary downhill slide with an arduous trip to the island of Torcello. It took us almost two hours to travel by boat to the ancient island, home of another great, if smaller Byzantine basilica. Its mosaics are wonderful, but then we had another hard trip back to Venice via the Lagoon, on crowded boats that made every local stops. All of this took almost 6 hours and we were exhausted by dinner time. Happily, we ate at a charming restaurant fairly close to our hotel, the Corte Sconta, or ‘Hidden Courtyard.’ In a pleasant outdoor garden we dined on such goodies as artichoke with walnut pesto, lobster and green beans with home-made taglierini, and a squid stuffed with radicchio. Then, after dinner, we walked over to the Piazza San Marco to hear the cheerful bands playing at the restaurants on the square. We hope to have another busy, if less hectic, day tomorrow.-Dan

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