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Pompeii and Venice

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Here is a bit more from our Mediterranean cruise. From the Amalfi coast, our tour took us to Pompeii. I was surprised at how quickly we arrived at Pompeii by not going over the windy scenic coast road! Scenic coast road – approx. 4 ½ hours; return – 30 minutes! The ruins were HUGE; Pompeii was a large city when it was damaged by the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 79 AD. We arrived in mid afternoon; there were some big crowds in some areas, but other side streets were almost deserted.

Pompeii street

This Pompeii oven looks ready for pizza! Hard to believe it is over 2000 years old

Forum (city center)

Body covered in ash; ancient fresco

We had a very welcome sea day for rest and relaxation as we sailed around the toe of the boot of Italy and between the strait between Italy and Sicily, and then up the Adriatic Sea to Venice. On our sea days, we visited the gym and walked the promenade.

Venice was amazing! (We toured Venice and our remaining destinations without guides). On our first day in Venice, we arrived at the port mid afternoon, and took a boat to St Marks Square. Spunky LB had been to Venice before; but she had only visited St Marks Square and rode in a gondola. (She had no desire for another gondola ride). St Marks Square was very crowded.

We toured the Doge’s palace, which is an amazing building. We weren’t able to take photographs inside beyond the entry. Here is one photo of the Golden Staircase (taken just before the “no photos” sign).

The Doges ruled Venice for many years, and his palace was the center of state. The building was filled with art and sculpture, and I really liked the rooms. It included halls of justice, meeting rooms for heads of state, and a private bridge called The Bridge of Sighs that connected to prison cells.

Bridge of Sighs

The following day, we took public transportation – we got on the people mover (monorail) to the first vaporetti stop. The Vaporetti are water buses that tour up and down the big canals. We bought a 12 hour ticket that allowed us to hop and off all stops on the grand canal. Our first stop was Rialto Bridge.

Grand Canal scene

Gondola rush hour

Rialto bridge

Grand Canal from Rialto

We stopped at San Toma, and visited a special exhibit of Leonardo Da Vinci, where they recreated many of his marvelous machines. We also visited the lovely Santa Maria Gloriosa del Frari church. We had pizza and hot chocolate at a little café. We LOVED Italian hot chocolate, which is like a thick hot pudding. (I have been trying to recreate it at home).

We also stopped at Academia, and visited the Academia (art gallery). In addition to their collection of great Venetian oil paintings and sculptures, they also had a special exhibit of Da Vinci, featuring some original drawings.

We finished by riding the Grand Canal to the end, and a final viewing of St Marks Square (Piazza San Marco)

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    So beautiful. I am so grateful you share your adventures with us. Did you get to see any of the narrow streets that had flower boxes hanging full of blooms from the windows of the buildings?
    1579 days ago
    Really enjoyed seeing your pictures. I have always been interested in Pompeii; I have shown videos about it to my students but have not yet been there. I saw Venice in December many years ago, but your pictures and discussion brought back many memories. Thank you! Wonderful.
    1584 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/16/2013 10:35:12 PM
    What an adventure!! I love, love, love these pictures!! I think you next career should be as a travel writer~lol! This makes me want to go on my cruise right now. As it gets closer, I may ask you some questions about planning if you don't mind. Thank you for sharing with us :)
    1586 days ago
    What gorgeous photos! Your trip was just amazing. The part that was amazing to me was the photo of the body covered with ashes! Wow! And what a tragic event too. Thanks for sharing. emoticon
    1587 days ago
    Ooooh! I want to go to Venice RIGHT NOW! Your pictures are beautiful, and it looks so amazing. I never knew exactly what the Bridge of Sighs connected. Now the"sighs" makes sense. Can you walk through it?

    Wasn't Pompei fascinating?

    Hugs, Gail
    1587 days ago
    You did it up right! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1587 days ago
  • YMWONG22
    Beautiful country. Would love to visit it one day.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1588 days ago
    I am so jealous, I will one day make it there.
    1588 days ago
    All I can say is Wow! What a trip! I look at those magnificent buildings and just think about how they built those back then without all the tools that we have today-just amazing!
    And then the sad story of Pompeii - I imagine that was very moving to see that body or just to think of what happened there.
    I would love to visit all these places one day. You are so lucky! emoticon
    1588 days ago
    Oh to visit Pompeii!!! I think I would go first thing on the morning when it opens to avoid the crowds as much as possible, and get an idea for the atmosphere... This is one of the places in the world where I really want to go!!!
    "Scenic coast road – approx. 4 ½ hours; return – 30 minutes!" -- That made me laugh! We have scenic roads like this one in France too! ;-)
    As for Venice, I know I wouldn't cope with the crowds at all, it would drive me mad. Maybe it is different in January? I am not sure that Venice is ever empty, haha!
    The Italian hot chocolate sounds amazing! Something else to try next time I go to Italy (my treat has been a gelato in the past!)! Thank you so much Alison for another fantastic blog!
    1588 days ago
  • DR1939
    Isn't Pompeii interesting. We've not been to Venice. We talked about it several years ago but decided to go back to Rome instead. I can't wait to see your pictures of Dubrovnic. We spent two weeks on the Dalmatian coast about 5 years ago and visited Dubrovnic then. Very beautiful city
    1588 days ago
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