Day 14: Music Walk with Laura, Doge's Palace, Palazzo Zenobio Concert

The weather, which had been misty and somewhat humid, cleared overnight after wind and some rain, and it was a truly glorious day. We went to the Zattere this morning before breakfast and watched two huge passenger ships sail into and through the Giudecca Canal on their way to the San Basilio Terminal. They really are UGLY ... not so much floating hotels as floating warehouses. Really out of place in Venice.

Laura's Music Walk

Laura -- who has a wonderful website here -- took us on a music walk during the morning, starting at St. Mark's Square and Florian's. Florian's, like everywhere else in and around St. Mark's, charges very high prices. Some of that goes to pay the musicians who entertain outside. Venetians have a saying: there are two kinds of pigeons at St. Mark's; one them has feathers. Actually, as soon as you get just a short distance from the elegant tourist trap, prices are pretty reasonable. Next, it was on to La Fenice. After that, we visited the place where Mozart stayed when he came for Carnival.

Florian's, San Marco

Canal behind Fenice

Laura at La Fenice

at Mozart's

at Messner

Doge's Palace

During the afternoon we saw the Doge's palace with our wonderful guide, Juliana. The Palace is enormous. With direct attachment to the Basilica, it was intended to impress and awe foreign and domestic visitors. From the outside, it reverses the usual layering of large buildings: open and delicate down below, solid and secret up above. Once through the walls you encounter a huge courtyard with a grand staircase to the first floor. Throughout the palace are fierce-looking letterboxes (mouth of truth) where anyone could anonomously write an accusation on a paper then put that into the mouth whence the authorities would look into the charges. There were dungeons and torture chambers in the Palace and a bridge to the prison.

The rooms in the upper floors are beyond magnificent. Gold is everywhere. So are works by Titian, Tiepolo, Versonese. Tintoretto's "Paradise", over the throne of the Doge in the Grand Council chamber, is the largest oil painting in the world. The "Council of Ten" served as the CIA-FBI (secret, harsh justice) while the "Senate" passed laws. There are many more rooms to see than can be included here.

Doge's Palace

Grand Staircase

Mouth of Truth

Bridge of Sighs


scala d'oro

Senate Chamber

room of the four doors

Council of Ten

Grand Council

Concert at Palazzo Zenobio.

After dinner we took the vaporetto to Ca' Rezzonico to attend a concert of songs sung by Liesl Odenweller at the Palazzo Zenobio. After the concert we were treated to a reception. On the way to and from the concert we walked along the Rio di San Barnaba. That's the canal into which Katharine Hepburn fell in the 1955 movie Summertime. The Church of San Barnaba, on that canal, was the library (with the "X" in the floor) in 1989 movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

While we were approaching our vaparetto stop at Ca' Rezzonico, on the way to our concert, we bumped into neighbors of ours who live on 14th Street, Floyd McKay (retired professor of journalism at my university) and his wife. I rode the city bus home from the university with Floyd for years. They said they see us all the time, walking our Samoyed, Lulu.

Zenobio, tallest on right

Salon, Palazzo Zenobio


rio di san Barnaba

location of Zenobio