Venice – Christmas in Europe
Our hotel, the Hotel Sant’Elena is named after the island of St. Elena. The hotel is a little distance away from St. Mark’s Square, however there is no problems going in and out as it is on the vaporetto route. The hotel’s blurb says that it’s a 15 minute walk to St. Mark’s Square whereas I think it’s more like 15 minutes by boat.
Being on the lagoon again brought back great memories of the previous times we were here. On the last occasion we were here in summer and took endless trips up and down the Grand Canal as we didn’t tire of seeing those ancient palaces lining the lagoon. These days they have mostly been converted into expensive hotels.
This morning we decided to do a tour of the Doges’ Palace, previously the residence of the doges, who were the elected leaders of the Venetian republic.
After the Palace tour, we got back onto the Grand Canal up to the Rialto Bridge. Many of the shops on the bridge were shut and it was quite deserted. We nevertheless enjoyed exploring the back alleys and every now and then they would open out into an interesting square. Without the swarms of tourists crowding out the place, you could see locals living their lives quietly around the square. It’s really a different feel from a summer visit. One of the alleyways led to a glass jewelry shop and that’s where I got stuck for the rest of the afternoon.