Video: Carnival in Venice It’s Carnival time! And, in good medieval style, they come with religious lessons. Karel: Deep breath, deep breath…. Thanks for joining us. Among the many palaces you'll see lining the Grand Canal, only one looks modern: the former mansion of Peggy Guggenheim. You could take two round-trips on this for the cost of an ice cream cone. They're built with a slight curve, so that a single oar on the side propels them in a straight line. In this shop the workmen — who needed to be good with wood — were traditionally from Italy's mountains. Located in Italy, at the north end of the Adriatic Sea, is Venice. You can walk across it, from head to tail, in about an hour. For an ear-shattering experience, be here at the top of the hour. The Christian symbolism is unfamiliar to Western eyes, done in the style of Byzantine icons and even Islamic designs. Inside is a decor of mosaics, colored marbles, and oriental treasures that's rarely seen elsewhere. He organizes two-hour Venetian pub tours (better to book by email than by phone). This exquisite, professional, and small hotel has nine plush rooms, a velvety royal living/breakfast room, and its own dock for water taxi arrivals. St. Mark's bell tower — or campanile — soars 300 feet over the square. The show has reached its tenth season to date. With a huge span and foundations stretching about 200 yards on either side, it was an engineering marvel back in the 1500s. Along with a powerful collection of weapons — state of the art in its day — it comes with some fun curiosities: tiny crossbows, thumbscrews, and a particularly effective chastity belt. Terms of Service | Privacy, Venice, Italy: Grand Canal and La Salute Church. The doge lived with his family on the first floor up, near the halls of power. It features the work of three great Renaissance masters: Donatello, Giovanni Bellini, and Titian — each showing worshippers the glory of God in human terms. As they've done for a thousand years, artisans here are patiently restoring a damaged piece of mosaic. Today many former palazzos survive as hotels. Go inside to buy tickets; the kiosk in front just rents audioguides and is operated by a private company. In this travel class, Rick Steves outlines the glories of Venice, from the Grand Canal to the Rialto Bridge to St. Mark's Square — including art-filled churches, opulent palazzos, twilit gondola rides, and three other cities in the northeast Italian region of Veneto: Padua, Verona, and Ravenna. There's no place like it. Traveling New Hampshire Rick Steves style, we’d miss out on seeing the tower of flame that rose to our fifth story apartment window in Rome when a certain organization set a luxury car on fire. Because of its former wealth, Venice is a city of palaces. For centuries, it was nicknamed La Serenissima, "The Most Serenely Beautiful One" — and for good reason. From here, you can see how Venice is an island lying in the center of a vast lagoon. All the full length Rick Steves Europe PBS Episodes that I could find. Tuscany's Dolce Vita by Rick Steves' Europe. By Rick Steves and Gene Openshaw. With water taxis, police boats, delivery boats, post boats, and over 400 gondoliers all navigating around the churning vaporetti, there's a lot of congestion on the Grand Canal. Join Steves on more European adventures every weekday, as episodes of his travel show air twice a day -- at 5:30 a.m. and again at 7:30 p.m. Start at the Piazza di San Marco Joy riding through the town is one of Europe's unforgettable treats. European Cruising 101 My guidebooks outline a stop-by-stop tour, as does my free audio tour of the canal. Alessandro: This is cicchetto…a little thing that you grab with the hand; has to be finger food. Find a gondolier whose personality you enjoy, settle on a price, and hop in. From his once-lavish (now sparse) quarters, you'll follow the one-way tour through the public rooms of the top floor, finishing with the Bridge of Sighs and the prison. That's why they maintain a refreshing alpine-feel in this delightful little corner of Venice. Here in the doge's lavish apartment, a map illustrates the reach of the Venetian maritime empire — which stretched across most of the eastern Mediterranean. Life is good. Sign in. Tintoretto's monsterpiece, Paradise — the largest oil painting anywhere — reminded lawmakers that making wise decisions would ultimately put you in the company of 500 saints. They're cleaning and resetting old stones and cutting new ones as necessary — all according to the exact medieval original. While the Arsenale is still a military base and is therefore closed to the public, its massive and evocative gate, the Porta Magna, is worth a look (to see the gate, turn left at the Naval Museum and follow the canal). In a scene-by-scene storyboard, we see Adam lonely in the garden, the creation of Eve, and then trouble: from apple…to fig leaf…to banishment. Italy The Republic's fortified shipyard, with 3,000 workers using an early form of assembly-line production and standardized parts, it could produce one warship a day. Cruise the Canal Grande all the way to St. Mark's Square, starting at the train station (Ferrovia) or the bus station (Piazzale Roma). At its peak, in the early 15th century, of its 180,000 citizens, nearly 1,000 were fabulously wealthy. Venice, more than any other city, is the place to get out early and stay out late — to be swept away. Venice Travel Guide by Rick Steves For coronavirus (COVID-19) travel information, see our FAQ . Thanks for joining us. Mary then sends an angel baby to drive away Old Lady Plague. Glorious paintings throughout the palace reminded Venetians of their heritage and divinely ordained greatness. Alessandro: Yes, yes, to find in the market in the morning. Switzerland Travel with a Mobile Device While these are copies, the originals are inside. The seat of the Venetian government and home of its ruling duke, or doge, this was the most powerful half-acre in Europe for 400 years. Alessandro: If you keep going for three, four bars, yes. Can't afford a private gondola? ©2021 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | Alessandro: By the tail, and you eat it, just you want, they are fantastic…dopo di me! Rialto, which left the politics to San Marco, has long been the commercial district of Venice. To enhance your art experience, you can find a clip related to this artwork at Rick Steves Classroom Europe; just search for “St. Over the high altar, glowing red and gold like a stained-glass window, Titian's Assumption of the Virgin Mary sets the tone of exuberant beauty found in this church. Take a joyride and introduce yourself to Venice by boat. Rick: And it can make a small meal. To cross the Grand Canal where there's no bridge handy, save time and energy by hopping a traghetto — one of the ferry gondolas, which shuttle pedestrians back and forth at strategic locations. Venice Lagoon: Zattere waterfront, Italy. Rick: So, what is cicchetti? His shop is just behind St. Mark's Square, inland from the Church of San Zaccaria on Fondamenta de l'Osmarin — look for it down an alley from the Ca' del Sol mask shop. It WAS more expensive than travelling independently , and was in fact only part of our 28 day visit to Europe . So much to see, so little time. For four centuries, this was the most powerful piece of real estate in Europe. Cantina Do Spade: Highly recommended by a local AND Rick Steves - See 2,182 traveler reviews, 912 candid photos, and great deals for Venice, Italy, at Tripadvisor. According to the romantic legend, gazing out the window, prisoners tried to enjoy their last view of Venetian beauty, sighed…and were taken to their cell. Travel as a Political Act, England & Wales Spain Get ready to be immersed in the wonder of this continent's most romantic city: Venice. They were a huge concern. Debonair guide Alessandro Schezzini is a connoisseur of Venetian bacari — classic old bars serving wine and traditional cicchetti snacks. Opponents of the government were dealt with swiftly and decisively. I feel like I'm, uh…I feel like the village idiot but I'm smiling! The golden archangel Gabriel at the top always faces into the wind. But I particularly enjoy seeing art in the setting for which it was designed — that's in situ — like at the Chiesa dei Frari. Posted on March 24, 2020 April 29, 2020 Daily Dose of Europe: Piero’s Venice With a shrinking population and in a state of elegant decay, Venice survives on the artificial respirator of tourism. The Naval Museum itself (Museo Storico Navale) is very old-school and military-run, but anyone into maritime history or sailing will find its several floors of exhibits interesting. All this precious art is carefully maintained in the church's mosaic workshop. Originally, Venice had two major centers of power: one at San Marco, and one here at Rialto. To help you plan your sightseeing, we've listed our ideal itineraries for Venice, whether you're going for one day, two days, three days, or more. Europe for Foodies But my local friend Piero has a knack for explaining the real Venice. His bones would be perfect. Venice, more than any other European city, has a seductive charm. And the theme is made clear at the high altar: The Virgin Mary is approached for help by a humble Lady Venice. This is your best chance in Italy (outside of Ravenna) to glimpse a forgotten and somewhat mysterious part of the human story — Byzantium. Here in the Senate Hall, nobles gathered to address their colleagues, debate, and pass laws. We had the great pleasure of hosting American travel writer and television personality Rick Steves in late April. Enjoying the views from a vaporetto is the best way to really appreciate the front doors of this historic chorus line of mansions, most from the 14th and 15th centuries. Today's boats still come with gondoliers standing up and no rudder or keel. Alessandro: This, this one they are cooked in the oven. About 25 miles of canals crisscross the city, flowing like streams into the Grand Canal. Surveying the domes and towers of the city's skyline, it's amazing to think that all this sits on a foundation of pilings...millions of tree trunks driven deep into the clay. European Travel Skills Boats come by every few minutes, so you can hop off and on all along the way. The long, lofty nave, flooded with light, was ideal for large gatherings to hear sermons. These work like city buses except that they never get a flat, the stops are docks, and if you get off between stops, you'll drown. The "Church of the Friars" was built by the Franciscan order and the art that decorates it feels warmed by the spirit of St. Francis. Alessandro: That's good! And for further encouragement, the famous Bridge of Sighs led directly from the palace to its infamous prison. It's customary to stand. You help yourself, one for you, one for me, a little for you, a little for me, and they try you see, look yeah. This is just one more way to yield to the enchanting wonders of this "most serene" city. On a gondola, you glide through your own private Venice — far from the hubbub of modern tourism. The winged lion is the symbol of Mark, the patron saint of Venice. For a break from sightseeing — and a fun meal — explore the back lanes, and pop into a bar serving cicchetti — that's the uniquely Venetian hors d'oeuvres. The palace kept an armory on display — an intentionally intimidating array of weaponry designed to dishearten potential adversaries. According to legend, St. Mark actually traveled here, personally bringing Christianity to the region. Beat the crowds and enjoy the crisp morning air at 9:00 or the cool evening breeze at 18:00 (but closes earlier in winter, tel. That tower crumbled into a pile of bricks in 1902, a thousand years after it was built. With aggressive trade policies and clever alliances, for Venice, the eastern Mediterranean was a virtual free-trade zone. So, in 828, Venetian merchants smuggled Mark's remains out of Egypt and into the church — shown here as it looked in the 13th century. For coronavirus (COVID-19) travel information, Among Europe's churches, St. Mark's is peerless. The creation dome tells the story of Genesis with Adam and Eve and the original sin. I’m one happy dad right now — because both my kids called me today from Europe. You grab it, they sell it from the tail — Andy FaceTimed me from the Cinque Terre, and I got to wave to 25 happy travelers on the Rick Steves Best of Europe in 21 Days Tour he is leading. ... Venice, Italy: A Boat Tour of the Lagoon by Rick Steves' Europe. The remains of St. Mark lie beneath the high altar. Today, they're back in what Venetians believe is their rightful home. I have taken one tour - and that was the 14 Family Europe Rick steve’s Tour , with one of my three kids ( my 11 yr old daughter ) . This dramatic bell tower replaced a shorter tower, part of the original fortress that guarded the entry of the Grand Canal. Plagues decimated communities throughout Europe. With Rick Steves’ Venice 2007, travelers can experience everything Venice has to offer—economically and hassle-free. (Here's hoping that very soon, Venice will once again be crowded. This is a great way to try a variety of dishes. Mark”. Alessandro: When you come here to the bar, you have to order what they find in the market in the morning; has to be fresh. To gain religious importance and a kind of legitimacy, the Venetians needed some important relics. The popular museum of far-out art, housed in the American heiress' former retirement palazzo, offers one of Europe's best reviews of the art of the first half of the 20th century. Along the way we'll feast on Venetian treats, get a splash of modern art, then glide on a gondola through this city of elegant decay. Because you can't drive a car in Venice it's perfectly suited to bar hopping like this. Its stunning golden wall of 250 painted enamels features prophets and saints, and, at its center: Jesus, as the Ruler of the Cosmos. The art of the gondola survives in the quiet back canals. Rick Steves, Venice Bites Updates . Of all the loot ornamenting this church, its grandest prize is a set of horses, which for centuries looked out over the square. There were 120 doges over 1,100 years. Get ready to be immersed in the wonder of this continent's most romantic city: Venice. Crown-shaped La Salute was the crowning achievement of architect Baldassare Longhena (who also did St. Mark's Square's "new" wing and the Ca' Rezzonico), and the last grand Venetian structure built before Venice's decline began. Give the freebies a try, and if you ... Venice: City of Dreams Naples and Pompeii Budapest: The Best of Hungary Rick Steves' Andalucía: By the time she retired, Peggy herself had become a celebrity. After sorting through the monuments of Venice's powerful past, we'll cruise the Grand Canal and be dazzled by masterpieces of the Venetian Renaissance. The Franciscans, inspired by St. Francis, were non-materialists — part of a reform movement that spread across Europe in the early 1200s. Ireland Visiting here, many feel that they're experiencing beauty, people, and even life itself at a more intense level. And perhaps the best way to appreciate that is gliding through its picturesque canals on a gondola. Alessandro says it's alright to just point at what you want, but your selection will be limited to what's fresh from the market that day. see our FAQ. It's an ancient Roman statue carved of precious purple porphyry stone — symbolic of power — pillaged from far away, probably Constantinople, and placed here proudly as spoils of war. A palace served all the family's needs — import/export warehouse at water level, business offices above that, and plush living quarters above that — all under one roof. For centuries it was nicknamed "La Serenissima," the most serene place — and you're about to see why. The basilica is decorated with a ragtag assortment of mismatched columns and statues from different eras, much of it pillaged from Venice's rivals. Iceland Venice is a great place to fall in love, enjoy a honeymoon...or a special anniversary. While lots of towns made plague monuments, Venice built this entire church in hopes of surviving a disease that hit in 1630, and within 14 months killed a third of its people. Scandinavia There's no place like it. ... VOLTERRA on Italy's Great Hill Towns by Rick Steves by VolterraTelevision. The city was driven by an interest in dominating Mediterranean trade. These much-coveted and exquisitely cast bronze horses are a trophy befitting the city's power. At this hotel, I'm splurging to enjoy that prince for a day feeling in the lounge, a bedroom with all the comforts, and a terrace with a view of the Grand Canal. For coronavirus (COVID-19) travel information, Nearby, in an artisan's workshop, visitors are welcome to observe as he provides for the city's 400 gondoliers. The Grand Canal cuts Venice in half, and has only four bridges. It's perfect for a romantic anniversary, and owner Matteo makes guests feel like royalty. Here, Bellini places them in a physical setting so beautiful it creates its own mood of serene holiness. Renaissance humanism demanded Madonnas and saints that were accessible and human. In this episode, Rick Steves explores three historic capitals of Iran: Persepolis, with its splendid monuments; Shiraz, with the tombs of Iran's most beloved poets; and Esfahan, with its extraordinary mosques and endearing people. Ciao! The church is covered with glass and gold mosaics. Power in Venice also came from some ancient bones. Rick: Eat with your fingers, with your wine. Stroll through styles represented by artists whom Peggy knew personally — Cubism (Picasso, Braque), Surrealism (Dalí, Ernst), Futurism (Boccioni), American Abstract Expressionism (Pollock), and a sprinkling of Klee, Calder, and Chagall. The group was all smiles, tanned, rested, and ready for their Italian seafood feast. But, with their natural lagoon defenses, Venetian palazzos could be sumptuous rather than fortified. 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