We awoke in the Dolomites to a clear, chilly morning. Our bus driver then took us on a spectacular drive through the mountains, going through two passes and around many curves and switchbacks. There were fantastic views of peaks above and valleys below as we drove this route to Venice. Our guide arranged for a boat to take us to our hotel near the Accademia bridge, right on the Grand Canal. After an hour's rest, David took the group to St. Mark's Square for an orientation walk. St. Mark's Basilica is a structure of different styles: Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance. The rich decoration of marbles and mosaics on gilded background is magnificent and has earned the basilica the name of the golden church(Chiesa d'Oro).

We had some free time there before we walked to the Rialto bridge for a very crowded vaporetto ride back to the hotel. From there we walked to a restaurant on the outer canal where we enjoyed a dinner together. The next day being a free day, some of us went to the Academy of Fine Arts, where we enjoyed the art of Titian, Tintoretto, and Veronese. Of particular interest was a special exhibit of drawings form Michaelangelo to Canaletto. The exhibit included many by Leonardo da Vinci, including the famous one on the proportions of man.

Many also went to the Doge's Palace, with many large rooms used for the seat of government and their courts. There were also many rooms with works of art, by Tintoretto and Veronese for example. From there one could also get a great view of the side of St. Mark's Basilica.

One could also visit the prison by crossing the Bridge of Sighs.

In the evening many members of the group went on the "Pub crawl" and a gondola ride.

On to Ravenna  and Florence.
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