Posted by: travelrat | June 11, 2007

St. Mark’s Square

Tuesday, 20th March 2007: 7.15 am. The Priuli Palace Hotel, Venice.

Did it rain very hard last night?’

‘Must have done! There’s someone schlepping down the street outside in a motor boat’


Yes, it does rain in Venice. And, it blows. It seemed every litter bin in town contained at least five trashed umbrellas! A question almost everyone asked me when I got back homewas ‘Does Venice smell?’ I’m tempted to paraphrase Doctor Johnson here: ‘It does not smell, Madam! It stinks!’

However, that wouldn’t be right in this case. Although people have told me it can get rather whiffy later in the season, it certainly wasn’t now. I supposed the recent heavy rains and high tides had something to do with that. There were still platforms out in St Mark’s Square so that, in the event of flooding, people could still go about their business dryshod.

It was nice and dry inside the church of St. Mark’s Basilica, though. High above were the famous bronze horses, which Napoleon declared to be ‘ … too heavy for cavalry and too light for artillery’ He still had them away, though!

Not that the Venetians had anything to complain about. I suspect the correct name for the ‘treasure’ in the Basilica was ‘loot’.

Next door is the Doge’s Palace. Now, this really is something! The Doge, of course, was Top Man in Venice at one time, and this was where he lived … among other things. If you can imagine the Houses of Parliament, the Law Courts, Buckingham Palace and Wandsworth Prison … and, possibly Lloyd’s of London … all in one building, that’s what the Doge’s Palace was about.

The paintings were rather a disappointment. Almost without exception, they were dark and gloomy religious scenes … in my inexpert opinion, probably overdue for restoration. And, not a single Canoletto … not that we saw, anyway.

We paid a quick visit to the Grand Canal and the Rialto Bridge, and tried to find good angles to photograph them without getting in anyone’s way, or getting myself or my photo gear wet.

Tip: If you’re staying in Venice, just work out where your hotel is in relation to the Rialto Bridge or St Mark’s Square … those two landmarks are signposted from just about everywhere in town.

In the afternoon, it dried up enough to allow some more leisurely photography and filming, although the light was still poor. In the evening, we went to dinner at a restaurant on the banks of the Grand Canal. I had a Cotelette Milanese … which, it would seem, is Italian for Weiner Schnitzel. Sweet was a Coppa Kiwi … which was delicious, and nothing to do with the New Zealand police!

For much more information about Venice, visit


  1. Hi Keith,
    I’ve been following your blog and its development, and I must say I’m very impressed. That You Tube video on venice was very good!!
    In fact, I think you’ve inspired me to get my *** in gear, and start to develop my own blog too—seems to be soemthing that we all need now.
    well done, and cheers,

  2. Thanks, Vivienne!

    Look forward to reading your blog!


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