Monday, June 2, 2014

May 21 - Venice Day 2, Murano and Burano

For our second day in Venice and the last day of our tour, we have our morning free to do some exploring and then we will board a water taxi that will take us first to Murano Island and then Burano Island where we will have our end of tour dinner.

So this morning we board the hotel shuttle which will take us from Giudecca Island to the Dorsoduro Sestieri (neighborhood) of Venice.  Dorsoduro is primarily a residential area and is directly across the Giudecca Canal from our hotel.  There is a large church there that we want to see.  Here we are on the hotel shuttle with Marina, our Tour Director, and a couple of the ladies who were on the tour with us.

Along the way I shot some additional photos of some of the churches.  This is Chiesa del Santissimo Redentore, commonly called Il Redentore.  It is a 16th century church that was built on Giudecca Island.  It was designed by Palladio and was built as a votive church to thank God for the deliverance of the city from a major outbreak of the plague that decimated Venice during 1575 - 1576 and in which some 46,000 (about 25 - 30% of the city's population) died.  Per the request of Pope Gregory XIII the church was placed in the care of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin.  A small number of friars still live in the attached monastery.

This church is also on Giudecca Island and is the Chiesa Santa Maria della Presentazione better known as La Zitelle which I talked about yesterday.

This is the Chiesa San Giorgio Maggiore which I also talked about yesterday.

We are dropped off on Dorsoduro side of the Giudecca Canal and started walking along the edge of the canal.  Marina knows a short cut to the church we are headed towards and so we head down a little alley to get to the other side of the island.

We  arrive on the Grand Canal side of Dorsoduro and have this great view of the Grand Canal with St. Mark's Campanile just visible over the tops of the buildings.  This is Venice's main street so it is very busy.

Here is a panorama I assembled showing the full length of the Grand Canal visible from this end of the Dorsoduro.

And this is what we came to see, the Basilica Santa Maria della Salute, commonly called the Salute. In 1630, Venice experienced an unusually devastating outbreak of the plague  that killed about 33% of the population (46,000 in the city and 94,000 in the lagoon).  Prayers and processions to churches dedicated to San Rocco and San Lorenzo Giustiniani had no effect so the Senate decreed that a new church would be built dedicated not to a mere saint but to the Blessed Mother.  Salute translates into English as Deliverance or Health so in English this is known as the Church of Saint Mary of Health.  It is built in the Baroque style, groundbreaking was in 1630 and it was completed in 1687.  The church is built on a platform of over 1,000,000 wood pilings.

Lots of ornamentation on the exterior, here are of some of the statues.

This is the statue of the Blessed Mother on top of the dome.

Big bronze doors lead into the church.

The interior of the church is octagonal with three side altars on the right and three on the left.  Here is a photo of the ornate floor with the main altar straight ahead.

This is a photo of the interior of the dome with eight statues lining the inside.

Here is the main altar.  The altar shelters an iconic Byzantine Madonna and Child of the 12th or 13th century, known as Panagia Mesopantitissa in Greek (Mary the Mediator).  On top of the altar are statues depicting the Queen of Heaven expelling the Plague from the city.

Here is a photo of the chandelier in the center of the church.

This is the chair that Pope Pius X used when he visited this church.

Here is one of the side altars.  The painting depicts the Assumption of the Blessed Mother and was painted by Luca Giordano in 1667.

Here is a close up of the gold front of the altar.

Here is another side alter. It is of the Presentation of Mary at the Temple and was also painted by Luca Giordano in 1672.

This church is most famous for its extensive collection of  paintings by Tiziano ( Titian ) and Tintoretto from the mid 16th century. Unfortunately, they are in the Great Sacristy and no photos are allowed. However, we did buy a print of the "Marriage at Cana" by Tintoretto.

This is the former Chiesa San Gregorio.  It was founded in the 9th century and in the 13th century became a Benedictine  abbey.  In the mid 15th century it was rebuilt into its current appearance.  in 1807 after Napoleon conquered Venice the monastery was closed and the church deconsecrated.  It was used as a mint laboratory and then an art restoration center. It is now closed and unused.

Here is a small canal that separates two of the islands in the residential area of Dorsoduro.

And a small shrine to the Blessed Mother on someone's garden wall.

Pat posing in front of the Giudecca Canal with the Chiesa del Santissimo Redentore in the background.

Another small canal separating islands.  You can see a sidewalk along one side of the canal and a footbridge crossing the canal in the background.

Here is a cruise ship entering town and on its way to the cruise ship port.

Here we are congregating in the hotel lobby and waiting to board the water taxi for our trip to Murano and Burano.

Here are two of our travelers, Rose Conti, seated, and Josephine Matozzo

Here are Sue and Joe Jurkiewicz.

And here is Soleil Milata.

And Gail and Rick Mercadante.

We're now getting ready to board our water tax.  Pat is having a discussion with Marie Franco with Joe Christie, Soleil Milata and Doris Chiapetta in the background.

Here is another photo of Santa Maria del Rosario which I discussed yesterday.

This is the Emporio dei Sali (Salt Emporium).  From earliest times, salt has been a commodity that was a necessity of life.  In the 6th century Cassiodorus, a Roman statesman, wrote that man may live without gold and silver but not without salt.  Venice was a major player in the salt trade and even fought a war with Genoa over the salt trade.  In the early years of Venice's history, salt was the one commodity that Venice had that everyone else needed and they used it to develop their economic power.  Main land cities would have to bring their products to Venice to trade for salt and slowly Venice developed as the major economic power in the area.

This is another view of the Bridge of Sighs.  As you can see from the crowds on the bridge it is a very popular tourist destination.

Here another photo of the Campanile of San Giorgio dei Greci that I discussed yesterday and you can clearly see the amount it leans.

Nice little yacht.

This is the bell tower of the Chiesa San Lazzaro degli Armenia on the island of the same name. The city of Venice bought this island in 1182 and established a leper colony on it.  It received its name from St. Lazarus the patron saint of lepers.  It was later abandoned and by the early 18th century only a few crumbling buildings remained.  In 1715 a group of Armenian Catholic Mekhitist monks, fleeing the Turks, arrived in Venice seeking a place to settle.  In 1717 the Venetian Senate ceded the island to them as at that time Venetian law prohibited the establishment of new communities within the city limits.  The monks quickly repaired the existing church and built a monastery which was finished in 1740.

This is the Chiesa Santa Maria della Vittoria (St. Mary the Victorius) on Lido island.  This church was built in 1930s as a memorial to Venice's World War I dead.

This church is the Basilica di San Pietro di Castello in the Castello Sestieri of Venice.  The present building dates from the 16th century but a church has stood on this site since at least the 7th century.  From 1451 1807 it was the city's cathedral though hardly playing a dominant role as it was inconveniently located and was overshadowed by the St. Marks which up until 1807 was the Doge's chapel.  In 1807, St. Marks became the city's cathedral and St. Peters was largely abandoned.  It was fire bombed during World War I but has now been restored.

It has one of the most precarious bell towers in Venice.  Here is a photo of the front of the church I downloaded from the web to show you how far this tower is leaning.

We have arrived at the island of Murano which at one time was the center of Venice's glass industry and here is a photo of its light house.

Murano is a group of seven islands that was initially settled by the Romans, then from the 6th century, by people from Altinum and Oderzo which were towns on the mainland.  It prospered as a fishing port and through its production of salt.  After the 11th century it declined as people moved to Dorsoduro.  In 1291 all the Venetian glass makers were forced to move to Murano because of the fire risk and for a while Murano was the major glass producer in all of Europe.  It later became known for chandeliers.  Although decline set in during the 18th century, glass making is still Murano's major industry.

Here is a photo of the water taxi that brought us to Murano.  We are about a mile from Venice.

Pretty flowers.

This is a rowing crew from the local rowing club.

Some of the ladies in our group doing some window shipping, Sandi Conti, Rose Conte and Polly Dougan.

Here is the Grand Canal of Murano.

This is a modern glass sculpture named The Comet.

One of the smaller canals with shops lining the walkways.

From Murano we took the water taxi out to Burano Island which is actually four islands connected with foot bridges.  As you can see the residents of Burano believe in painting their houses bright colors.  Historically, the major occupation has been fishing and the residents believed that the bright colors would help their fisherman find the way back to the island in foggy weather.

The islands were originally settled by Romans then from the 6th century by people from Altinum. Fishing is the main occupation for the men.  For the women it is lace making and Burano is world famous for its lace.

Here we are getting off our water taxi.

And did I mention that they paint their houses bright colors.  They leave their front doors open but hang a cloth over the opening for some privacy but mostly to keep the bugs out.

Here we are in the main piazza.  This used to be a canal but is was filled in when they merged two of the islands.

More flowers.

And again.

Here is a small shrine to the Blessed Mother on the sides of one of the houses.

Venice is famous for elaborate masks that are worn during carnival and the local shops did a brisk trade in selling them to tourists.

One of the small canals separating the islands.

Here is the main church on the island it is the Chiesa San Martino.  The church was founded in 959 but the current church dates from the 16th century.  The exterior is undecorated.  The bell tower is leaning as you'll see in a later photo.

While on Burano we had our farewell dinner as tomorrow morning most of us are all heading home.  This is the restaurant where the dinner was held. Seeing as how this is a fishing port, the dinner was heavy on the seafood with a very good fish spread, salad, a seafood risotto, a seafood pasta, fried calamari, fried shrimp, something called St. Patrick's fish, fruit and for dessert some of the local cookies and almond brittle.  Plus local wine and coffee.  It was an Excellent meal.  We did pull a fast one on our Tour Director, Marina. We had all bought Venetian masks and put them on and then sang a special song dedicated to her. Tom Christie wrote the lyrics to the tune of "That's Amore".

As I mentioned earlier, the bell tower of the church is leaning as you can see in this photo.  We are on the water taxi on our way back to our hotel.

This is a river cruise ship that runs from Venice up the Po River.

Here is a group photo in the hotel that I think got most of us.

It's the next morning and since we had a very early flight we had our own private water taxi that took us to the airport.  Unfortunately, since our flight was leaving at 7:40 AM we had to be up at 3:30 and catch this water taxi at 5:00.  Marina was there to see us off.  Sad to be leaving Italy but it will be good to get home and sleep in our own bed.

Here is our plane that will take us to Madrid.  From Madrid we fly to Miami and then to Tampa.

Finally arrived home about 8:00 PM EDT which for us is 2:00 AM Italian time.  Good flights but a long day.  Really was a great trip and we saw some interesting places that are off the beaten track.

Hope you enjoy this blog, I've enjoyed putting it together as I really like researching the places we are visiting and finding out about them.