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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Venice - Day 2

It's Sunday so we sleep a little before having our breakfast at the hotel. Today we're going to explore around the Arsenale/Castello area - there's plenty of churches on our map so we've have a look at which ones will merit a visit inside. Since it is Sunday we won't be going inside.

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The Museum of Naval History (Museo Storico Navale) is located in a former naval granary and ship's biscuit warehouse.

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These anchors that are located at the front of the Museum were taken from Austrian battleships during WWI.

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Virtually attached to the Museum is this old church, the Chiesa di San Biagio, which was founded in 1052 and rebuilt in the 18th century.

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This looks like a scene from "The Birds"

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View along the Rio de L'Arsenale - towards the Arsenale and towards The Canal

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Entrance to the Arsenale - the Arsenale was founded in the 12th century.

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The Arsenale gateway dates from 1460 and was designed by Gambello for the Doge Pasquqle Malipiero.

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This winged lion above the doorway holds a bible and a sword .

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The terrace in front of the doorway is home to eight stone statues.

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There are also four large lion sculptures in front of this entrance but they are mostly covered by scaffolding at the moment.


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Just round the corner from the Arsenale entrance is the Chiesa di San Martino Vescovo.

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It was founded in the 10th century and then rebuilt in the 16th century, the façade was also altered in 1897.

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Our next stop is the Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista in Bragora - founded in the eight century it was rebuilt in the 9th and 12th. Its current appearance is the result of works in the 16th century

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While we were standing in the piazza in front of the church, the bells kindly rang out.


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You know I have a thing for knockers, this one probably takes the cake.


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Our next stop left us a little confused.

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This is the Chiesa di San Antonin - though we couldn't actually find an entrance or any markings to indicate that this is indeed, still a church.

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as you can see, the adjacent buildings just seem to come out from the church walls.

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It leaves us with lots of questions like who is that small door for?


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Typical Venetian scenes - bridges and narrow pathways

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Around the corner is the Scoula Dalmata di Santi Giorgio e Trifone (San Giorgio deglia Schiavoni)

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This school building dates from the 15th century.

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Down a nearby alley is the Chiesa Gran Priorale.

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Next up is the rather large Chiesa di San Francesco della Vigna - it is surrounded on one side withis piazza. The campanile is one of the tallest in Venice and dates from 1570 with some remodelling in the 17th century.

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The white façade of the Chiesa di San Francesco della Vigna.

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Façade on a Liceo Scientifico

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This next church, Chiesa di San Lazzara dei Mendicati wasn't open and as it is on a canal it's very hard to get a good photo of the façade. But right around the corner is the Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo.

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The rather attractive building located right next to the Basilica is the Hospital of San Giovanni e Paolo.

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Just down from here is the Chiesa di Santa Maria Formosa

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This church is the result of a appearance in the 7th century of the Madonna as a shapely women to Saint Magno. The name formosa means shapely in Italian.

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The church was rebuilt in the 15th Century and the Campanile added in the 17th.

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Yep, it's another canal.

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Our final stop, the Chiesa di San Zaccaria.

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Founded in the 9th century, the façade dates from a remodelling in the 16th century.


By this stage we were well and truly looking for some place for lunch and we found it here

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the Trattoria Rivetta.

For starters:

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Paalo has the Melanzane - eggplant discs that have been baked with cheese, tomato and anchovies. Now Paalo isn't the biggest fan of eggplant but he loves this dish.

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My starter was the Vegetable Antipasto - an excellent mix of beans, roasted potatoes, eggplant, caprese salad and one of those delicious baked eggplant discs that Paalo is eating.

For mains:

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Paalo has the Fegato alla Veneziana - Venetian-style Liver served with white Polenta. A simple dish but delicious, thinly sliced and braised veal served with sautéed onions.

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My main is the Gnocchi con Bolognese, I had wanted to try the Gnocchi with Crab but unfortunately it is only served for two. Excellent gnocchi.

After lunch we headed onwards through the Piazza San Marco, passing one of the most photographed spots here in Venice

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the Bridge of Sighs.

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This bird didn't like my comments on its weight - but Venice is home to the fattest pigeons in the world.

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And here we are, the Piazza San Marco

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there's lots of scaffolding here at the moment and I've got better photos from 2 years ago so I'm not going to waste mega pixels taking many more.


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However, this building is now unwrapped - the Torre dell-Orologio.

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This is one of the more unsavoury sights in Venice - Paalo snapped these two in front of San Marco gorging on McChucks - of all the food you could possibly eat all these two could find in the whole of Venice was something pre-digested and made from by-product of the petrochemical industry. You two enter our unofficial "you shouldn't be allowed to travel" hall of shame.

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On our way back to the hotel we were distracted by another church and it's distinctly leaning tower

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This is the Chiesa di San Giorgio dei Greci and dates from 1536 where the local Greek population were given permission to build their own orthodox church. Until that time they had to use the first church we saw today, the Chiesa di San Biagio. The Campanile has been leaning ever since it was built.

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Our last church for the day and I promise it is the last is right on the waterfront, the Chiesa di Santa Maria Della Pietà.

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For dinner we try another of the restarants from our previous visit and like last night, this one has been remodelled.

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The evening starts off well with this nice basket of breads - though it is very oft-putting that the waiter spends his time just milling around the table. Another odd thing is that the restaurant is lacking Italian diners.

For starters

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Paalo's first choice of Baccalà Mantecato wasn't available so he is persuaded to have the seafood antipasto. There's nothing particularly wrong with it, it is just a little pedestrian.

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I choose the Baked Scallops - these arrive searingly hot, too hot to eat in fact. When they cool down a little, they are nice but as they are still attached to the shell, detaching them is a little difficult.

For mains:

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Paalo has the Pizza con Crudo - once again there is nothing wrong with the pizza, the base is obviously one of those pre-made wood-fired bases, it's a little thicker then you would expect but it's perfectly edible. We do decide to only order pizza if we see that wood fired oven in the corner.

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My main is the Fried Calamari with soft white polenta. The calamari are freshly fried, they aren't oily and the calamari themselves are still tender.

We leave the restaurant a little less enthused about the dining options in this area - it proves that 2 years is indeed a very long time.

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