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Wait till early evening, when the crowds are gone, and the light is right. Venice is small. And, until the 16th century, when explorers like Vasco da Gama and Columbus opened up the world leaving Venice stuck in a geographic hole, Venice did dominate. Here in the Senate Hall, nobles gathered to address their colleagues, debate, and pass laws. The Arsenal put the "fear of Venice" into visiting rulers. Saw this hotel on TA & one of Rick Steves' books. You can count on Rick Steves to tell you what you really need to know when visiting the island city of Venice.Following the self-guided tours in this book, you'll explore Venice's most important landmarks and cruise the Grand Canal for a close-up look at the elegant palaces, bridges, and churches. Survey the city by cruising the Grand Canal on a boat called a vaporetto. With Rick Steves’ Venice 2007, travelers can experience everything Venice has to offer—economically and hassle-free. The doge lived with his family on the first floor up, near the halls of power. Visiting, you can imagine it as Peggy's retirement dream home — with the heiress and her Picassos greeting guests in the entryway. They're built with a slight curve, so that a single oar on the side propels them in a straight line. I'm Rick Steves, surrendering to the timeless charms of Venice. see our FAQ. For me, this church offers the best art-appreciation experience in Venice, because so much of its great art is in situ — right where it was designed to be seen, rather than hanging in museums. France The remains of St. Mark lie beneath the high altar. Joy riding through the town is one of Europe's unforgettable treats. Oh, that's an explosion of taste! Ciao! They were a huge concern. His bones would be perfect. While it didn't have vast land holdings, Venice was a mighty trading empire — built upon a network of ports and a mastery of the sea. The place is wallpapered with masterpieces by Veronese and Tintoretto. For an ear-shattering experience, be here at the top of the hour. 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. With astonishing foresight, she assembled a Who's Who of her generation's greatest art. Alessandro: Yes, yes, to find in the market in the morning. For coronavirus (COVID-19) travel information, Later the Venetians grabbed them, only to have Napoleon swipe them to decorate an arch in Paris. You can pop in to watch Paolo carving both fórcole and traditional oars. The sprawling palace is a maze of richly decorated rooms. His weekly public radio program, Travel with Rick Steves first aired in 2005 and is still successfully running. This prison — with its discouraging bars — held commoners and nobles alike. With a huge span and foundations stretching about 200 yards on either side, it was an engineering marvel back in the 1500s. And, in good medieval style, they come with religious lessons. 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. The grand church of St. Mark's was built in a distinctly Eastern style. You can see Venice's most picturesque gondola workshop (from the outside; it's not open to the public) in the Accademia neighborhood. The Pala d'Oro, or Golden Altarpiece, is a medieval masterpiece. The city's ceremonial front door was unfortified and faced the sea. While there are a number of luxurious big hotels in town, my favorites are the smaller, family-run ones — which combine historic character, a warm and friendly welcome, and plenty of travel tips. Switzerland It's a fish-shaped island connected to the mainland by a long causeway. The goods — in the case of this family, furs, salt, cotton, and coffee — came off ships through this loading dock. 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. Terms of Service | Privacy. 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 Titian's complex composition draws you upward — from man on earth, to triumphant Mary, and on up as she rises to join God in heaven. Nice little hotel with 25-30 rooms situated in an 800 year old building and located just a stone's throw from the Rialto Mercato vaporetto stop (a huge advantage when hauling luggage) and a very short walk from the Rialto Bridge-- … Get inspired with Rick Steves’ recommended places to go and things to do, with tips, photos, videos, and travel information on Venice. 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. (Here's hoping that very soon, Venice will once again be crowded. To gain religious importance and a kind of legitimacy, the Venetians needed some important relics. Rick started his first television show, Travels in Europe With Rick Steves, which aired from 1991 to 1998. Opponents of the government were dealt with swiftly and decisively. Alessandro is joining us to give our nibbles some meaning. 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. Hi, I'm Rick Steves, back with more of the best of Europe. 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. Glorious paintings throughout the palace reminded Venetians of their heritage and divinely ordained greatness. You help yourself, one for you, one for me, a little for you, a little for me, and they try you see, look yeah. At its peak, in the early 15th century, of its 180,000 citizens, nearly 1,000 were fabulously wealthy. The city's main thoroughfare is busy with traffic. 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. 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. Its domes and elaborate exterior remind us of Venice's close ties with the Greek, Byzantine, and Muslim worlds. Power in Venice also came from some ancient bones. Of all the loot ornamenting this church, its grandest prize is a set of horses, which for centuries looked out over the square. By the time she retired, Peggy herself had become a celebrity. The most lavish face the Grand Canal. Mary then sends an angel baby to drive away Old Lady Plague. The style? Boats come by every few minutes, so you can hop off and on all along the way. See the Travel Details above for recommendations highlighted in bold, excerpted from Rick's guidebooks. 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. Ride the elevator 325 feet to the top of the bell tower for the best view in Venice (especially at sunset). 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. All the full length Rick Steves Europe PBS Episodes that I could find. Portugal Its main drag — the Grand Canal — starts at the fish's mouth and winds through the center. Turkey, ©2021 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | Practicalities. Today's boats still come with gondoliers standing up and no rudder or keel. Alessandro: That's good! Venice's sleek and graceful gondolas are a symbol of the city. 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. For centuries it was nicknamed "La Serenissima," the most serene place — and you're about to see why. Spain 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. And in this clip from my public television special Rick Steves’ European Easter , we don masquerade masks to drop in on “Carnevale” festivities in Venice. Venice, more than any other city, is the place to get out early and stay out late — to be swept away. And the theme is made clear at the high altar: The Virgin Mary is approached for help by a humble Lady Venice. There were 120 doges over 1,100 years. 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. Rick: Look at that! Everything we'll see is within a 10-minute walk of the Rialto Bridge and St. Mark's Square. 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. The doge was something of an elected king, which only makes sense in an aristocratic republic like Venice. Along with economic might, the splendor of Venice was built upon a foundation of military power. There's no place like it. 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. As Venetian nobles traded their way into fabulous wealth, they built luxurious palaces like this one, which has been owned by the Pisani family for nearly 400 years. As they've done for a thousand years, artisans here are patiently restoring a damaged piece of mosaic. Took this tour about 12 years ago . About 25 miles of canals crisscross the city, flowing like streams into the Grand Canal. 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. She made her mark as a friend, patron — and lover — of modern artists. (If you think of this tour as a light dinner with a local friend, it's a particularly good value.). While these are copies, the originals are inside. Alessandro: This is cicchetto…a little thing that you grab with the hand; has to be finger food. Rick: So this is representative of what Francisco found in the market good this morning. Mark”. The long, lofty nave, flooded with light, was ideal for large gatherings to hear sermons. Rick: By the tail! 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. Alessandro: These are fantastic. Adjacent, Giovanni Bellini's Madonna and Saints was painted by the father of the Venetian Renaissance in a softer, more Venetian style. Venice, more than any other European city, has an endlessly seductive charm. And perhaps the best way to appreciate that is gliding through its picturesque canals on a gondola. The palace kept an armory on display — an intentionally intimidating array of weaponry designed to dishearten potential adversaries. Alessandro's tours include sampling cicchetti with wines at three different bacari. He organizes two-hour Venetian pub tours (better to book by email than by phone). The entrance hall features an elaborate and cohesive series of Old Testament scenes. Photo credit: Courtesy of Rick Steves. Venice Travel Guide by Rick Steves For coronavirus (COVID-19) travel information, see our FAQ . It features the work of three great Renaissance masters: Donatello, Giovanni Bellini, and Titian — each showing worshippers the glory of God in human terms. Technically, he was a noble selected by other nobles to oversee the carrying out of their laws and decisions. Where the Grand Canal opens up into the lagoon stands one of Venice's most distinctive landmarks, the church dedicated to Santa Maria della Salute, Our Lady of Health. Palaces like these remind us that Venetian merchants amassed lots of capital. Travel as a Political Act, England & Wales Because of its former wealth, Venice is a city of palaces. Lonely bridges, canals without sidewalks, and reflections of once-upon-a-time grandeur. Here's a breakdown of a few of the must-do's he points out while visiting the city in this episode of "Rick Steves' Europe." Get ready to be immersed in the wonder of this continent's most romantic city: Venice. Today an elevator zips you effortlessly to the top to enjoy a commanding view. With a shrinking population and in a state of elegant decay, Venice survives on the artificial respirator of tourism. And talk about well-traveled: According to legend, they were cast for Alexander the Great in the fourth century B.C., taken by Nero to Rome, then brought by Constantine to his new capital in the East, Constantinople. Verona, Italy: Joy of the Veneto by Rick Steves' Europe. 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. 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. To see the work in action, visit the wood-carving shop of Paolo Brandolisio. 2:17. ... VOLTERRA on Italy's Great Hill Towns by Rick Steves by VolterraTelevision. The grandest of these is the Rialto. The winged lion is the symbol of Mark, the patron saint of Venice. This dramatic bell tower replaced a shorter tower, part of the original fortress that guarded the entry of the Grand Canal. Alessandro: With your finger, with your wine, yeah. ©2021 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | According to legend, St. Mark actually traveled here, personally bringing Christianity to the region. The basilica is decorated with a ragtag assortment of mismatched columns and statues from different eras, much of it pillaged from Venice's rivals. The art of the gondola survives in the quiet back canals. Rick: That's a good one! Easy-to-follow maps (including color maps of Italy, the St. Mark's Square area, the Rialto Area, and a Venetian overview) Trip planning: When to go, pre-trip checklist, festivals and holidays, recommended books and movies Venice Lagoon: Zattere waterfront, Italy. This is your best chance in Italy (outside of Ravenna) to glimpse a forgotten and somewhat mysterious part of the human story — Byzantium. 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. A tower has stood here, like an exclamation point, proclaiming the power and greatness of the Venetian Empire, for 1,200 years. Rick Steves Istanbul Youtube They also have what they call a Give Away Page, which is over two hundred of their most popular titles, audio books, technical books, and books made into movies. Rick Steves, Venice Bites Updates . Venice, more than any other European city, has a seductive charm. Greece Give the freebies a try, and if you ... Venice: City of Dreams Naples and Pompeii Budapest: The Best of Hungary Rick Steves' Andalucía: Rialto, which left the politics to San Marco, has long been the commercial district of Venice. Go behind the camera with Rick and his crew for the shoot of his 2006 Milan and Lake Como episode as Rick shares all the tricks of his trade in TV production. Europe for Foodies Thanks for joining us. Well, I'm all alone! Ireland There's no place like it. In Donatello's wood carving of St. John the Baptist, the prophet of the desert — dressed in animal skins and almost anorexic from his diet of bugs 'n' honey — announces the coming of the Messiah. So much to see, so little time. St. Mark's bell tower — or campanile — soars 300 feet over the square. You can walk across it, from head to tail, in about an hour. Today, they're back in what Venetians believe is their rightful home. The city is actually a car-free maze of about 100 islands, laced together by several hundred bridges and a vast web of alleys and canalside walkways. And for further encouragement, the famous Bridge of Sighs led directly from the palace to its infamous prison. Gondolas are moored everywhere. Sign in to YouTube. It's perfect for a romantic anniversary, and owner Matteo makes guests feel like royalty. Get ready to be immersed in the wonder of this continent's most romantic city: Venice. But, with their natural lagoon defenses, Venetian palazzos could be sumptuous rather than fortified. Until a few weeks ago, Venice was inundated with tourists. This was the Venetian Republic's religious and political center: St. Mark's Square, or Piazza San Marco, with the Basilica of St. Mark and the Doge's Palace. Rick: So, what is cicchetti? The interior of the basilica glitters with its gold-leaf mosaic work. Alessandro: This, this one they are cooked in the oven. On every square is a surprise, and around each corner is an excuse to savor the unique charms of the city. Here, Bellini places them in a physical setting so beautiful it creates its own mood of serene holiness. Take a joyride and introduce yourself to Venice by boat. From here, you can see how Venice is an island lying in the center of a vast lagoon. 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. Be thankful…and keep on travelin'. Rick: The great Venetian rogue Casanova did time…this is so cool, I can't believe it… Originally simple and spacious, over time, it was embellished with chapels, added by wealthy groups or families who hired leading artists to leave their mark. Scandinavia 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. Its stunning golden wall of 250 painted enamels features prophets and saints, and, at its center: Jesus, as the Ruler of the Cosmos. With mountains of capital, plenty of traders with ready ships, and an awesome military, Venice was a commercial powerhouse — one of the six biggest cities in Europe. Don't worry too much about the great art. With aggressive trade policies and clever alliances, for Venice, the eastern Mediterranean was a virtual free-trade zone. This is just one more way to yield to the enchanting wonders of this "most serene" city. A gondola ride is a traditional must for romantics. This is a great way to try a variety of dishes. 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. The Doge's Palace was built to show off the power and wealth of the Republic. Rick Steves is on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and you can follow @RickSteves on Twitter. We had the great pleasure of hosting American travel writer and television personality Rick Steves in late April. The show has reached its tenth season to date. 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. Stepping into La Salute, the glorious architecture — a round dome atop a hexagonal base — makes the relatively small church seem bigger than it is. 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. You'll see the evolution of warships, displays on old fishing boats, and gondolas (all described in English). Today the palazzo houses the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, filled with groundbreaking 20th-century masterpieces. They're cleaning and resetting old stones and cutting new ones as necessary — all according to the exact medieval original. Terms of Service | Privacy, Venice, Italy: Grand Canal and La Salute Church. Her dining room, with its original table, is still decorated with masterpieces by Brancusi, Braque, and others. And each walnut fórcula — the stylized oarlock — is like a sculpture: hand crafted, one of a kind, and honoring the city's heritage. In this shop the workmen — who needed to be good with wood — were traditionally from Italy's mountains. Rick: Mmm. Germany & Austria The Doge's Palace — the ruling center and residence of Venice's duke — was built to show off the power and wealth of the Republic and to remind visitors that Venice was number one. Hi, I'm Rick Steves, back with more of the best of Europe. You could take two round-trips on this for the cost of an ice cream cone. Entire cities made great and desperate deals with God in hopes that he'd spare them from the dreaded disease. Can't afford a private gondola? These are the videos that Rick posts on his blog, where he shares his travel experiences, candid opinions, and what's on his mind. By Rick Steves and Gene Openshaw. The group was all smiles, tanned, rested, and ready for their Italian seafood feast. But all the magic sits on a practical foundation of political and economic might. From the start, boats were the way to get around among the island communities of the lagoon. see our FAQ. The Christian symbolism is unfamiliar to Western eyes, done in the style of Byzantine icons and even Islamic designs. In this first of two episodes on Venice, we'll sample the splendor of the Doge in his palace, take a pilgrimage to St. Mark's Basilica, see some famous horses, enjoy a grand but noisy view, feast on Venetian treats, get a splash of modern art, be dazzled by masterpieces of the Venetian Renaissance, and get intimate with the city of Casanova...on a gondola. Video: Carnival in Venice It’s Carnival time! This city also has several palaces now functioning as art galleries, which are packed with old Venetian masterpieces. Debonair guide Alessandro Schezzini is a connoisseur of Venetian bacari — classic old bars serving wine and traditional cicchetti snacks. I'd call it "Early Ransack.". The vast Hall of the Great Council could host a meeting of 2,500 nobles. In Rick Steves Venice you'll find in-depth Rick-tested information on: . Scotland Among Europe's churches, St. Mark's is peerless. +39-041-522-4064). The golden archangel Gabriel at the top always faces into the wind. 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. On a gondola, you glide through your own private Venice — far from the hubbub of modern tourism. 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. Their counterparts on the mainland had to fortify their places with heavy stone and tall towers. Because you can't drive a car in Venice it's perfectly suited to bar hopping like this. In 1948, the American-born heiress retired here in Venice. Inside is a decor of mosaics, colored marbles, and oriental treasures that's rarely seen elsewhere. 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. Two mighty columns welcome you to a power without equal and the most exquisite downtown imaginable in its day. That's why they maintain a refreshing alpine-feel in this delightful little corner of Venice. Among the many palaces you'll see lining the Grand Canal, only one looks modern: the former mansion of Peggy Guggenheim. 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. Enjoy the building. These four guys are a favorite of mine. 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. The church is covered with glass and gold mosaics. You grab it, they sell it from the tail — For coronavirus (COVID-19) travel information, 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 ) . Nearby stand the imposing gates of the Arsenal — Europe's first great military-industrial complex. 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. From the outside, it's a riot of domes, columns, and statues, completely unlike the towering Gothic churches of northern Europe or the heavy Baroque of much of the rest of Italy. Visiting here, many feel that they're experiencing beauty, people, and even life itself at a more intense level. It WAS more expensive than travelling independently , and was in fact only part of our 28 day visit to Europe . The creation dome tells the story of Genesis with Adam and Eve and the original sin. It's customary to stand. )Europe is effectively off-limits to American travelers … Alessandro: By the tail, and you eat it, just you want, they are fantastic…dopo di me! 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. Nearby, in an artisan's workshop, visitors are welcome to observe as he provides for the city's 400 gondoliers. While the Frari has great art in situ — for me, the entire city is art in situ. The Grand Canal cuts Venice in half, and has only four bridges. Originally, Venice had two major centers of power: one at San Marco, and one here at Rialto. Working with traditional tools, graceful oars are carefully planed to be true and properly balanced. But my local friend Piero has a knack for explaining the real Venice. Its lacy exterior, a distinct blend of east and west, is Venetian Gothic. European Cruising 101 While this prison was considered relatively comfortable in its day, wasting away in here, with so much beauty so close, must have been a particularly cruel punishment. Tuscany's Dolce Vita by Rick Steves' Europe. Alessandro: If you keep going for three, four bars, yes. Renaissance humanism demanded Madonnas and saints that were accessible and human. She married the painter Max Ernst. 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. This exquisite, professional, and small hotel has nine plush rooms, a velvety royal living/breakfast room, and its own dock for water taxi arrivals. Iceland Karel: Deep breath, deep breath…. With a good regional wine in a rustic setting, you can eat cheaply and make new friends or enjoy old ones. 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