We arrived on May 12 in the morning, and after a lengthy Uncle Wiggly’s trail on the dock to board the Amsterdam, we dropped our carry-ons in our room and headed out in search of sights to see. 

    We caught the local ferry boat from the dock to St. Mark’s Square, but didn’t get to see much due to the rain and it being a Saturday night with the cathedral closed up.  We got into the Doges Palace, which denies photos inside.

     But we did book a serenaded gondola ride for that night through the ship, which was good, because it rained so much the next morning that those who booked for the day got cancelled. And we just wandered a little more the next day before our afternoon departure.

Above, our serenaded gondola ride

The Bridge of Sighs

     The enclosed bridge is made of white limestone and has windows with stone bars. It passes over the Rio di Palazzo and connects the New Prison to the interrogation rooms in the Doge's Palace. It was designed by Antoni Contino (whose uncle Antonio da Ponte had designed the Rialto Bridge), and built in 1602.

    The view from the Bridge of Sighs was the last view of Venice that convicts saw before their imprisonment. The bridge name, given by Lord Byron in the 19th century, comes from the suggestion that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice through the window before being taken down to their cells.

    In reality, the days of inquisitions and summary executions were over by the time the bridge was built and the cells under the palace roof were occupied mostly by small-time criminals. In addition, little could be seen from inside the Bridge due to the stone grills covering the windows.

    A local legend says that lovers will be granted eternal love and bliss if they kiss on a gondola at sunset under the Bridge Of Sighs.

    Below is a view from the Bridge of Sighs.  Just a lot of tourists taking photos of the canal and bridge.

Above, the black screen is a “secreted” recording of singing in the mass at St. Mark’s. I turned the camera on “video” inside my pocket. You might want to play it as background to the video below.

    Venice is breathtaking and delicate. Graceful Byzantine building double their images in the canals, defining a handsome skyline.Feathered mask and elaborate costumes brighten the winter when the unique Venetian Carnival celebration erupts.  Mid-winter rains end as light bursts through the parting clouds seeming to herald a call from heaven.  No one wonders why painting was always a popular Venetian form. 

    Venice’s 117 islands each have their own character and legends.  The vanguard is the long, narrow sandbar known as the Lido.  Laced with 150 canals, the city includes more than 400 bridges. The longest span is the 3-mile Laguna Veneta, the only road to the mainland, that leads to Mestre.

    The harbor city began as a place of refuge from fifth century barbarian invasions.  As communities grew, the islands became inter-dependent and developed into a powerful, flourishing city-state.  During the Crusades, the fledgling maritime republic dominated much of the Mediterranean region, and the winged Venetian Lion, symbol of St. Mark and city protector, represented a vast network.