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Tranquility in the Piazza S. Marco

Venice has a very limited off-season, which includes now, the lull before Christmas. It's really only ever more quiet in early-to-mid January. Even now, though, the crowds flock to visit the heart of Venice, the Piazza S. Marco, with the basilica, the doge's palace, the Museo Correr, and the classic view out over the bacino.

The piazza is normally thronged year-round and day-long with visitors and pigeons. Thus acqua alta creates a rare opportunity, especially if one has come in knee-high wellies: to experience the piazza without either tourists or pigeons. Standing ankle-deep in swaying water, the vast space around me in highly-coordinated hues of white, pink, and maroon stone, the tourists marginalized to the passarelle, except for the few who came more prepared, the piazza was, for once, a very tranquil experience. (The photo above is a better photo of people on passarelle in front of the basilica, but wasn't taken from the most peaceful part of the piazza.)


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 24th, 2007 04:42 pm (UTC)
I imagine one of the most peaceful aspects of the Piazza is the absence of those cheesy "orchestras" outside the posh
coffee shops. I assume they don't try to serve outrageously-priced drinks and gelati in floodwater?

Nov. 24th, 2007 07:42 pm (UTC)
Those shops are rather ridiculously priced.. I was opposed to going to one, due to the prices, but when I was in Venice in September we did anyway, and a few drinks and miniature sandwiches cost as much as a main meal. Making you pay for the orchestra/band whether you like it or not is also rather audacious.

I did read about the acqua alta when I was there, but it was the middle of summer - it wasn't about to flood.
Nov. 24th, 2007 08:03 pm (UTC)
My husband, daughter and I had a day trip to Venice in August and had a coffee, a beer and a lemon soda in one of the cafés without a band - we could still hear three, equally poor. It cost us about fifteen quid (~$30).

When my husband and I had four days in Venice three weeks ago we avoided those cafés and ate well. The
Rough Guide to Venice
was invaluable for this!
Nov. 25th, 2007 04:33 pm (UTC)
That's what the upstairs rooms are for, when ground level floods.

Occasionally, the overpriced cafés in the Piazza are worthwhile - but only on special occasions, for people-watching. It's a great way to get a view of it when it's all crowded with carnevale, for example.

(I'd forgotten about the orchestras. It's a little cold and wet to use them this time of year, so yes, it's much more tranquil that way too!)

Edited at 2007-11-25 04:34 pm (UTC)
Nov. 24th, 2007 04:50 pm (UTC)
I have suddenly become super-excited about your Venice pictures, as it turns out that I should be able to squeeze in a day-trip there while I am Verona in early December! I suppose you will have headed elsewhere by then, will you? Just in case, though, it's likely I'll be there on the 8th December.

Anyway, I am looking forward to taking advantage of the off-season lull (even if the place will hardly be a ghost-town!), and hoping that there isn't too much in the way of acqua alta in December!
Nov. 25th, 2007 04:36 pm (UTC)
I won't be here then - I came for a week for American Thanksgiving and go back tomorrow. But my parents will be, and I can check their schedule. I'm always happy to send people to meet them, if you're interested. (Give you're only day-tripping and you've never met them, I wholly understand if you're not. On the other hand, I've met your mother!)
Nov. 25th, 2007 06:31 pm (UTC)
Ah, yes - I guessed that would be the case. And it's very sweet of you to offer to point me towards your parents, but don't worry - I shall be being shown around the place by a mad Italian archaeologist!

Well, enjoy the rest of your time there. It sounds from your next post as though you are certainly getting in some good food!
Nov. 24th, 2007 08:00 pm (UTC)
i'm jealous!
i must confess that i love MILD natural 'disasters': snow storms that don't completely shut down a city, earthquakes that are just an exciting tremor, and floods that don't cause millions of damage. how i wish i could be in venice at this moment. my timing is always off though. i spent a spring in california when not even the minutest tremor occurred (and a 10 year drought had just ended which meant my much-looked-forward-to coastal train journey from l.a. to sfo was rerouted via bus to bakersfield--joy!) i did get to see snow in northern italy last winter but i had to climb a mountain to do so. anyway, all of this is to say, splash in a puddle for me and one day, i WILL experience acqua alta!

on a complete side note, purple_pen, i don't know you but i LOVE your little icon-thingie. rwav is my favourite film of ALL time!
Nov. 25th, 2007 03:53 pm (UTC)
That's such a contrast to the view we had a few years ago - the entire piazza area was full of seats in preparation for the preview of "A Shark's Tale" that was happening that evening.

I'm really enjoying your accounts of your visit and the accompanying photos. Thank-you.
Nov. 27th, 2007 05:50 pm (UTC)
It so pretty *looks goggle eyed*

(wonders if can get business trip to Nevice......)
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )