Last week our kids had Spring Break from school and we went on an epic trip to Venice and Slovenia.We flew into Venice on Friday afternoon and planned to stay until Sunday. We checked into our airbnb apartment and were thankful that the owner met us at the vaporetto stop (water taxi) because I don't think we ever would have found it on our own. It was down a very narrow street (I could easily touch both walls at the same time) and despite being at the top of our budget for accommodations, it wasn't very nice. (We're not too fussy, but the wifi didn't work, there was no dish soap or hand soap, and the entire first floor smelled badly of mildew; though I suspect that is a common issue in Venice.) So we headed out right away to explore the neighborhood and eat some pizza and pasta. We wanted to go on a gondola ride, but it was drizzling constantly so we decided to wait a day and see if we'd get better weather.
We did, however, find the Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti, which was open for an exhibit by an artist named Joseph Klibansky called Beautiful Tomorrow. It was free, so we thought we'd check it out. The building was gorgeous!
Okay, so this is one of his pieces. It is a gorilla head wearing a birthday hat, surrounded by black balloons. Interesting. But this room! And the hand blown glass chandelier!
The art work was intriguing and the kids thought it was great. But I mostly loved the rooms and the chandeliers.
After a rough night's sleep and no hot water to shower (grrr) we headed out on Saturday morning toward San Marco. I hope they know this tower is a little lean-y. Maybe it's just me, but I find things like leaning towers a little concerning. Also, it was still raining.
Piazzo San Marco! With St. Mark's basilica in the background.
And up close. We did walk around inside a bit, but they don't allow any photographs. There are some pictures and more info here if you are interested.
Next door to the basilica is the Doge's Palace. We enjoyed walking all around and exploring and occasionally getting out of the rain.
Check out this awesome 24 hour clock. Notice it runs what we would call counter-clockwise.
There are doubtless volumes written about the artwork on the walls and ceilings of the Doge's Palace, and it is wow-worthy, but we didn't spend a lot of time researching it. We just enjoyed it.
The Doge's Palace was the seat of government, and when someone was convicted, they were walked over the Bridge of Sighs to the prison. The story goes that prisoners would stop and look out the window at the beauty of Venice and sigh before being taken to the dungeons to never see the light of day again. It is hard to take a photo through the stone work, but this would be their view.
After all of that it was time for some paninis and more pizza. Still raining.
Our next stop was the Correr Museum. The history of Venice was interesting, but a bit exhausting with the four little ones.
They were much happier to be back out on the Piazzo and feeding the pigeons- in the rain. All of the kids tried, but only Toby was able to get birds to land on his hand to be fed. Rob was a little freaked out about the uncleanliness of this activity, but the kids loved it.
Since it was STILL RAINING we headed back to the apartment for a nap in the hope that we might yet get our gondola ride in the evening. Not long after we got there, there was a knock on the door and the owner asked us when we would be leaving. We thought we were booked for two nights, but we were not. No bueno. I felt terrible. I book all of our travel, and I have never left us homeless until now. This was a very stressful situation and it could have gone very badly, but thankfully I have the most fantastic husband who did not blame me, or get annoyed at me, or anything of the sort. In fact, he said, "I didn't really want to spend another night here anyway." We just put our heads together to come up with a solution. Our solution was to get out of Dodge. I took this photo of the Rialto Bridge as we awaited the vaporetto to take us back toward the airport where there would be wifi and possibly hotels that provide shuttle service.
The kids were a little bit stressed by our hasty departure, but trusted that we would work it out.
And we did. We booked two rooms at the airport Marriott and took the shuttle there. We enjoyed hot showers, yummy food at a restaurant down the street, and comfy, mildew free rooms. We are so glad we got to see Venice, but it will not go down in history as one of our favorite cities.