Our final full day in Venice was spent with a leisurely morning walk to Piazza San Marco, a visit to the San Marco Basilica and then the ‘Secret Itineraries’ tour of the Doges Palace. We then were to hop back on the vaporetto and head out to the beautiful lace making island of Burano.
Luckily, getting to San Marco early meant the piazza was somewhat quiet compared to the usual commotion. The pigeons were in full force but luckily we were ushed inside the basiclica right at opening time. The basilica is beautiful inside but there were so many people there it was hard to appreciate it. Much like how it was at the Vatican museums. That is why I find walking into smaller churches to be a lot more enjoyable. We wandered through the basilica and back out, missing the serenity of the other local churches we had visited and gritting our teeth at the way so many tourists behave in groups.
Packs of tourists in the ‘quiet time’.
We were then fortunate that we only had to go next door to join our tour of the Doge’s Palace. I had read about the Secret Itineraries tour as it grants access to the Palace that you cannot see normally – it was well worth it and very interesting! We got to see where prisoners were kept, where Casanova tried to escape from and the secret offices that were kept from the people of Venice where there was a whole lot of people working in secret. If you are ever in Venice, you defintiely should take the tour!
Outside Doge’s Palace –
My favorite – the Mouth of Truth. These were basically a little mailbox for what they call secret denunciations. Basically, you could dob on somebody doing something wrong anonymously. Back in the day there were many of these around Venice. The accusations were taken very seriously and if you made a false accusation, you could be killed for doing so!
I found a translation for the Latin. It says “”Put down here your secrets, against those who oppressed you, freely and officially. Have faith, for those who hide the truth will answer for it.”
The ornate ceilings –
The staircase –
View from the top ‘hidden’ areas of the palace –
We then wandered around the whole palace a bit more, when and visited the prisoner cells that the public knew of and walked over the bridge of sighs.
Then, we went and took our touristy photo with the bridge in the background. Awww!
It was then time to get on the vaporetto and head out to Burano with a stop for lunch along the way. When we got off at at our transfer point we found a little dodgy place down a side lane that seemed touristy by the look but there was hardly anyone there. It seems to be more of a late night place. There, we had a great meal that looked TERRIBLE when photographing it. Yes, my risotto looks like a plate of vomit. But it tasted SO good. It was a really good mushroom risotto that was cooked perfectly. Bill went for pizza and it was delicious as well!
Burano was so lovely. The shops were awesome and had a great range of scarves, doilies and other crafts. We bought some scarfs to bring back and also a few small doilies for the lounge room. Here we loved the colorful exteriors and again, the peace and quiet. Enjoy these photos!
We wandered into the local church there and their choir was rehearsing. They were singing beautifully so we took some time to stop and listen before slowly making our way back to the vaporetto. It was also a warm day so a small cup of gelato was a welcome treat as we walked around.
The ride back to the main island was long and I had a little nap – we really were in vacation mode now! The only thing that faced us was packing our cases as that was our last night in Venice. So we got back to our room and without any distractions of TV, we packed up our things and freshened up before heading to dinner. Bill also went back to the supermarket where we saw the horse meat, to pick up some goodies for our trip to Paris.
We wanted to stay close by so went to the La Rivista, a little restaurant and wine bar that was just a short walk away. It was a strange mix of food but it was just what we wanted. The service was great and our waitress was so friendly – it was a nice way to end our time in Venice.
We walked along the water one last time and this is what we saw –
We were up with the bells again in the morning, had a quick breakfast and checked out of Don Orione. I was quite confident that if I had to return to Venice, I would stay there without hesitation. The area and the facilities were exceptional. Bill was not quite as confident as he really likes the creature comforts of a TV and plush surrounds but for me, staying at Don Orione made sure Venice was as relaxing as possible.
To get to Venice airport hopped on the vaporetto and opted for the extra long trip to the airport as we had time to spare. This gave us one last tour of Venice from the water and I was excited as it was the first time I have ever travelled by water to an airport!
Here is Bill after we disembarked and heading to the departures area.
Ciao Venezia, addio Italia and bonjour Paris! We really loved Italy so much it was sad to leave. Note – not a day goes by since we left Italy that we haven’t talked about Italy. Our time there was magical. We are now going back to Rome in February. We cannot wait!