A gondela in the Grand Canal.  The city of Venice sets official rates for gondola rides, which started at €80 for 40 minutes. I chose not to spend the R1250.  

Our tour guide explained that gondelas are not something Venitians use at all, much like the rickshaws in Durban, it is a tourist thing.  She is the only one in her family to have ever been in a gondela; and only because of her job.

The Grand Canal

The Grand Canal

The Rialto Bridge (Italian: Ponte di Rialto; Venetian: Ponte de Rialto) is the oldest of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. Connecting the sestieri (districts) of San Marco and San Polo, it has been rebuilt several times since its first construction as a pontoon bridge in the 12th century, and is now a significant tourist attraction in the city.

The Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark, commonly known as Saint Mark's Basilica, is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, northern Italy. It is the most famous of the city's churches and one of the best known examples of Italo-Byzantine architecture. It lies at the eastern end of the Piazza San Marco, adjacent and connected to the Doge's Palace. Originally it was the chapel of the Doge, and has only been the city's cathedral since 1807, when it became the seat of the Patriarch of Venice, archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, formerly at San Pietro di Castello.

For its opulent design, gold ground mosaics, and its status as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power, from the 11th century on the building has been known by the nickname Chiesa d'Oro (Church of gold)

The Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark, commonly known as Saint Mark's Basilica, is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, northern Italy. It is the most famous of the city's churches and one of the best known examples of Italo-Byzantine architecture. It lies at the eastern end of the Piazza San Marco, adjacent and connected to the Doge's Palace. Originally it was the chapel of the Doge, and has only been the city's cathedral since 1807, when it became the seat of the Patriarch of Venice, archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, formerly at San Pietro di Castello.

For its opulent design, gold ground mosaics, and its status as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power, from the 11th century on the building has been known by the nickname Chiesa d'Oro (Church of gold)

Piazza San Marco), often known in English as St Mark's Square, is the principal public square of Venice, Italy, where it is generally known just as la Piazza ("the Square"). All other urban spaces in the city (except the Piazzetta and the Piazzale Roma) are called campi ("fields").

One of the jewels of San Marco, too often overlooked, is the Torre dell’Orologio. The Clock Tower, which was built from 1496 to 1499, is located in a strategical position allowing it to be seen from the water and underlying once more the importance of the seas to the city of Venice.

Since its construction, the “Torre dell’Orologio” has gone through multiple modifications, both seen and unseen. One of the external modifications occurred in 1857, when 2 wheels were installed to give a digital display of the time,
one in Roman numbers for the hours, the other in Arab numbers for the minutes.
A destructive modification of the tower had taken place in 1797, after the conquest of Venice by Napoleon: the statue of a Doge, which was initially placed next to the lion, got destroyed by the new rulers.

“Te fasso vedar mi, che ora che xe!”, “I’ll let you see what time it is”, usually said in a very angry tone by parents to their children, is an expression known by every Venetian. Its origin is curious and linked to the Tower. Indeed, the people sentenced to death by Venice were executed in San Marco square with their backs to the water: the last thing they would see was, therefore, the Clock Tower and the time it displayed… now that is quite threatening!

The Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark, commonly known as Saint Mark's Basilica, is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, northern Italy. It is the most famous of the city's churches and one of the best known examples of Italo-Byzantine architecture. It lies at the eastern end of the Piazza San Marco, adjacent and connected to the Doge's Palace. Originally it was the chapel of the Doge, and has only been the city's cathedral since 1807, when it became the seat of the Patriarch of Venice, archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, formerly at San Pietro di Castello.

For its opulent design, gold ground mosaics, and its status as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power, from the 11th century on the building has been known by the nickname Chiesa d'Oro (Church of gold)

One of the jewels of San Marco, too often overlooked, is the Torre dell’Orologio. The Clock Tower, which was built from 1496 to 1499, is located in a strategical position allowing it to be seen from the water and underlying once more the importance of the seas to the city of Venice.

Since its construction, the “Torre dell’Orologio” has gone through multiple modifications, both seen and unseen. One of the external modifications occurred in 1857, when 2 wheels were installed to give a digital display of the time,
one in Roman numbers for the hours, the other in Arab numbers for the minutes.
A destructive modification of the tower had taken place in 1797, after the conquest of Venice by Napoleon: the statue of a Doge, which was initially placed next to the lion, got destroyed by the new rulers.

“Te fasso vedar mi, che ora che xe!”, “I’ll let you see what time it is”, usually said in a very angry tone by parents to their children, is an expression known by every Venetian. Its origin is curious and linked to the Tower. Indeed, the people sentenced to death by Venice were executed in San Marco square with their backs to the water: the last thing they would see was, therefore, the Clock Tower and the time it displayed… now that is quite threatening!

St Mark's Campanile (Italian: Campanile di San Marco; Venetian: Canpanièl de San Marco) is the bell tower of St Mark's Basilica in Venice, Italy, located in the Piazza San Marco. It is one of the most recognizable symbols of the city.

The tower is 98.6 metres (323 ft) tall, and stands alone in a corner of St Mark's Square, near the front of the basilica. It has a simple form, the bulk of which is a fluted brick square shaft, 12 metres (39 ft) wide on each side and 50 metres (160 ft) tall, above which is a loggia surrounding the belfry, housing five bells. The belfry is topped by a cube, alternate faces of which show the Lion of St. Mark and the female representation of Venice (la Giustizia: Justice). The tower is capped by a pyramidal spire, at the top of which sits a golden weathervane in the form of the archangel Gabriel. The campanile reached its present form in 1514. The current tower was reconstructed in its present form in 1912 after the collapse of 1902.

The Doge's Palace is a palace built in Venetian Gothic style, and one of the main landmarks of the city of Venice in northern Italy. The palace was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the former Republic of Venice, opening as a museum in 1923. Today, it is one of the 11 museums run by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia.

Columns of San Marco and San Teodoro are two columns in Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy. They comprise the Column of the Lion and the Column of San Teodoro

In around the 18th century the practice became established of conducting public executions on the site, with the condemned made to stand facing the centre of the square with their backs to the lagoon. For this reason, Venetians still avoid passing between the two columns, out of superstition.

The last thing a condemned person would see before dying was clock tower of the Moors, directly opposite the two columns. This is the reason behind the famous popular expression: “Te fasso véder mi, che ora che xe” (I’ll show you what time it is).

Columns of San Marco and San Teodoro are two columns in Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy. They comprise the Column of the Lion and the Column of San Teodoro

In around the 18th century the practice became established of conducting public executions on the site, with the condemned made to stand facing the centre of the square with their backs to the lagoon. For this reason, Venetians still avoid passing between the two columns, out of superstition.

The last thing a condemned person would see before dying was clock tower of the Moors, directly opposite the two columns. This is the reason behind the famous popular expression: “Te fasso véder mi, che ora che xe” (I’ll show you what time it is).

Santa Maria della Salute, commonly known simply as the Salute, is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica located at Punta della Dogana in the Dorsoduro sestiere of the city of Venice, Italy

St Mark's Campanile (Italian: Campanile di San Marco; Venetian: Canpanièl de San Marco) is the bell tower of St Mark's Basilica in Venice, Italy, located in the Piazza San Marco. It is one of the most recognizable symbols of the city.

The tower is 98.6 metres (323 ft) tall, and stands alone in a corner of St Mark's Square, near the front of the basilica. It has a simple form, the bulk of which is a fluted brick square shaft, 12 metres (39 ft) wide on each side and 50 metres (160 ft) tall, above which is a loggia surrounding the belfry, housing five bells. The belfry is topped by a cube, alternate faces of which show the Lion of St. Mark and the female representation of Venice (la Giustizia: Justice). The tower is capped by a pyramidal spire, at the top of which sits a golden weathervane in the form of the archangel Gabriel. The campanile reached its present form in 1514. The current tower was reconstructed in its present form in 1912 after the collapse of 1902.

The Doge's Palace is a palace built in Venetian Gothic style, and one of the main landmarks of the city of Venice in northern Italy. The palace was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the former Republic of Venice, opening as a museum in 1923. Today, it is one of the 11 museums run by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia.

A moonless night covered the Egyptian city of Alexandria like a dark cloak. Two figures scurried down through the town and toward the harbor, pushing a cart, where a ship awaited them.  A small envoy of men gathered on deck, ready to help them lift the cargo onboard. Mission accomplished, they quickly set sail for Venice. It was the year 828.

Pork and cabbage leaves filled the cart, meat that the Muslim guards refused to touch since they considered it unclean. Little did they know, or even suspect, that they had just lost their city’s most precious relic, the body of St. Mark the Evangelist, buried underneath.

A moonless night covered the Egyptian city of Alexandria like a dark cloak. Two figures scurried down through the town and toward the harbor, pushing a cart, where a ship awaited them.  A small envoy of men gathered on deck, ready to help them lift the cargo onboard. Mission accomplished, they quickly set sail for Venice. It was the year 828.

Pork and cabbage leaves filled the cart, meat that the Muslim guards refused to touch since they considered it unclean. Little did they know, or even suspect, that they had just lost their city’s most precious relic, the body of St. Mark the Evangelist, buried underneath.

Gondola traffic in the canals 

Venice’s underground does not have easy-to-reach water tables. Up to a century ago, fresh water was drawn from the springs on the mainland and transported in casks to the lagoon by boat. This supplemented the traditional rainwater collection system built in the campi and campielli: it consisted of a wellhead and an underground cistern, filled with clean sand, with a waterproof layer of clay all around that served as a barrier against the infiltration of saltwater.

The rainwater penetrated into the ground by means of collectors positioned around the well, located at slightly lower levels than the rest of the campo; it filtered through the sand down to the waterproof clay bottom of the cistern. The well shaft, which was waterproofed by a layer of clay (tera da saòn, soap earth) spread along its entire length, filled up from below with the collected water, which had been purified as it drained through the sand. The water was drawn with buckets.

Venice’s underground does not have easy-to-reach water tables. Up to a century ago, fresh water was drawn from the springs on the mainland and transported in casks to the lagoon by boat. This supplemented the traditional rainwater collection system built in the campi and campielli: it consisted of a wellhead and an underground cistern, filled with clean sand, with a waterproof layer of clay all around that served as a barrier against the infiltration of saltwater.

The rainwater penetrated into the ground by means of collectors positioned around the well, located at slightly lower levels than the rest of the campo; it filtered through the sand down to the waterproof clay bottom of the cistern. The well shaft, which was waterproofed by a layer of clay (tera da saòn, soap earth) spread along its entire length, filled up from below with the collected water, which had been purified as it drained through the sand. The water was drawn with buckets.

Venice’s underground does not have easy-to-reach water tables. Up to a century ago, fresh water was drawn from the springs on the mainland and transported in casks to the lagoon by boat. This supplemented the traditional rainwater collection system built in the campi and campielli: it consisted of a wellhead and an underground cistern, filled with clean sand, with a waterproof layer of clay all around that served as a barrier against the infiltration of saltwater.

The rainwater penetrated into the ground by means of collectors positioned around the well, located at slightly lower levels than the rest of the campo; it filtered through the sand down to the waterproof clay bottom of the cistern. The well shaft, which was waterproofed by a layer of clay (tera da saòn, soap earth) spread along its entire length, filled up from below with the collected water, which had been purified as it drained through the sand. The water was drawn with buckets.

The Scuola Grande di San Marco is a building in Venice, Italy. It originally was the home to one of the six major sodalities or Scuole Grandi of Venice. It faces the Campo San Giovanni e Paolo, one of the largest squares in the city.

Three of the greatest Italian explorers of the fifteenth century: Giosafat Barbaro, Ambrogio Contarini, and Alvise da Mosto were members of the Scuola.

In 1819 it became an Austrian military hospital. It is now a civil hospital.

The Scuola Grande di San Marco is a building in Venice, Italy. It originally was the home to one of the six major sodalities or Scuole Grandi of Venice. It faces the Campo San Giovanni e Paolo, one of the largest squares in the city.

Three of the greatest Italian explorers of the fifteenth century: Giosafat Barbaro, Ambrogio Contarini, and Alvise da Mosto were members of the Scuola.

In 1819 it became an Austrian military hospital. It is now a civil hospital.

The Basilica di San Giovanni e Paolo, known in Venetian as San Zanipolo, is a church in the Castello sestiere of Venice, Italy.

One of the largest churches in the city, it has the status of a minor basilica. After the 15th century the funeral services of all of Venice's doges were held here, and twenty-five doges are buried in the church.

Marco Polo's old neighbourhood

Located just steps from the Rialto bridge, T Fondaco dei Tedeschi is a luxury department store housed in a fully renovated merchant's palace. Skip the shopping at first and head straight up to the roof terrace, taking in OMA's scarlet escalators and golden railings and walls along the way. The top floor has a concierge where free tickets for the roof terrace can be obtained on busy days and an exhibition space from which the roof is accessed. The terrace itself gives panoramic views over central Venice and as far as the mountains on clear days, with golden panels pointing out nearby buildings and landmarks.

Located just steps from the Rialto bridge, T Fondaco dei Tedeschi is a luxury department store housed in a fully renovated merchant's palace. Skip the shopping at first and head straight up to the roof terrace, taking in OMA's scarlet escalators and golden railings and walls along the way. The top floor has a concierge where free tickets for the roof terrace can be obtained on busy days and an exhibition space from which the roof is accessed. The terrace itself gives panoramic views over central Venice and as far as the mountains on clear days, with golden panels pointing out nearby buildings and landmarks.

Located just steps from the Rialto bridge, T Fondaco dei Tedeschi is a luxury department store housed in a fully renovated merchant's palace. Skip the shopping at first and head straight up to the roof terrace, taking in OMA's scarlet escalators and golden railings and walls along the way. The top floor has a concierge where free tickets for the roof terrace can be obtained on busy days and an exhibition space from which the roof is accessed. The terrace itself gives panoramic views over central Venice and as far as the mountains on clear days, with golden panels pointing out nearby buildings and landmarks.

Located just steps from the Rialto bridge, T Fondaco dei Tedeschi is a luxury department store housed in a fully renovated merchant's palace. Skip the shopping at first and head straight up to the roof terrace, taking in OMA's scarlet escalators and golden railings and walls along the way. The top floor has a concierge where free tickets for the roof terrace can be obtained on busy days and an exhibition space from which the roof is accessed. The terrace itself gives panoramic views over central Venice and as far as the mountains on clear days, with golden panels pointing out nearby buildings and landmarks.

Located just steps from the Rialto bridge, T Fondaco dei Tedeschi is a luxury department store housed in a fully renovated merchant's palace. Skip the shopping at first and head straight up to the roof terrace, taking in OMA's scarlet escalators and golden railings and walls along the way. The top floor has a concierge where free tickets for the roof terrace can be obtained on busy days and an exhibition space from which the roof is accessed. The terrace itself gives panoramic views over central Venice and as far as the mountains on clear days, with golden panels pointing out nearby buildings and landmarks.

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