#3 Italy (final), April 10, 1997

Dear Everybody,

Roberto took me to Arezzo to catch the train to Venice. From the train station I jumped on the vaporetto (boat-taxi) and got off at the Piazza San Marco. I stayed in a hotel very near St. Mark’s Square and identified many palaces and churches on a leisurely walk. How nice to have no car or bus traffic! At dusk Piazza San Marco was plumb full of teen-agers and pigeons—I guess it’s school vacation.

The Cathedral of San Marco is extraordinary with its horses on the loggia, its beautiful mosaics, its winged lion, Venice’s symbol, which is everywhere, and its gold altar.

I visited the Doge’s Palace, with the carved ‘Noah’s Drunkenness’ (let it be a lesson to you!) and its ‘secret ballot’ box. At noon I bought a sandwich and a bottle of Chianti Classico, which was lunch in my room.

Then up, up I went in the elevator in the Campanile and had a lovely view of the city.

Venice is one big museum. The lovely canals, the old palaces, the jillions of Titians, Carpacchios and Tintorettos—it is just thrilling! The Church of Santa Maria de Salute was built after a plague to give thanks for the plague’s end; the Peggy Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art is a modern one-story building on the Grand Canal.

Much of the pleasure is just walking around, crossing the canal bridges, eating at sidewalk cafes, and enjoying the beautiful sunshine!


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