|Rialto Bridge - so empty at 8am!|
|view of the Grand Canal from the top of the Rialto Bridge|
We figured the best time to wait in line to see St. Mark's was when everything else was closed anyway, so we spent about an hour just hanging out in the square and taking turns standing in line until it opened at 9:30am sharp. The line we stood in conveniently faced the clock tower, which taunted us for so long.
To the left of our line was the Campanile. We thought about climbing up to the top of the bell tower, but didn't think it was worth waiting in yet another line just to see a slightly better view than from the top of St. Mark's. Hindsight - good call.
Do you see Bo standing in line? The people on the far left were the very first in line, so we had a pretty darn good spot.
And here is a view of the line from the top of the church - after they had already started letting people in. It was definitely worth waking up a little early. Notice how the line follows the path of the shade :)
|St. Mark's Four Horses (duplicates - the originals are inside the church)|
The inside of the church was stunning. The ceilings, walls, and even the floors were covered in mosaics, mostly made of gold. Admission is free and there were a few exhibits that you could pay to see, but no pictures allowed. Bo liked the museum best (shocking) - which is the exhibit that allows you to climb up to the top and enjoy the view, so I actually ended up liking it as well. The Treasury was also really awesome - very intricate chalices, crowns, and jewelry.
After seeing St. Mark's, we had finally done everything in the St. Mark's area that we wanted to do. We hopped on the vaporetto and made our way back near our hotel.
|St. Mary of the Rosary|
I was so fascinated by all the bridges, and couldn't believe how many boats could fit under them at a time. Dad - you would have been impressed! Many times it felt like the top of our boat was going to hit the bridge, but there is just enough room with high tide. I could reach up and touch a lot of the bridges.
|Ponte dei Pugni|
|Ponte dei Tre Archi|
We got off at the stop near our hotel and walked over to the Basilica of Saint Giovanni and Paolo. Several doges are buried within the church and all the monuments were incredible. Bo specifically wanted to go to this church because he had recently read A History of Venice, and had learned all about the doges who were buried there. It was pretty nice having my own personal tour guide!
|it's hard to capture - but the walls are made of brick which gives the red glow|
|Chapel of the Rosary|
After spending a majority of the day in churches, we walked back to the hotel to grab our bags and head to the cruise ship!! We took yet another vaporetto ride through the Grand Canal to get to the cruise port.
Almost a year in waiting...finally boarding the ms Nieuw Amsterdam - our home for the next 12 nights!