Pre-Tour Day 3
Day 3 in Venice, and tonight our Rick Steves’ Best of Venice, Florence and Rome Tour officially begins. We are curious to meet our group and tour guide this evening, but first we have the morning to explore.
After breakfast, we traverse the San Marco Sestieri, or district, where our hotel is located. We pass through narrow walkways and wide open plazas, each punctuated by a church.
At the Accademia Bridge, we cross the Grand Canal into the Dorsoduro Sestieri. The bridge offers sweeping views of the waterway.
See more views of the Grand Canal
We visit the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, one of the most important European museums for 20th Century Art. We expect to be overloading on Renaissance art in the next few days, so some modern works are an interesting diversion.
Peggy Guggenheim once lived in the palazzo that now houses her art collection. Major artists of the last century are represented: Picasso, Braque, Duchamp, Brancusi, de Chirico, Mondrian, Kandinsky, Miro, Giacometti, Klee, Ernst, Magritte, Dali, Pollock, Gorki, Calder, and more. The depth of her support and patronage of artists is amazing.
It is easy to become overwhelmed with visual fatigue by the sheer volume of art, so we devise a plan for viewing: find one piece that speaks to us in each museum. For me, it is Jenny Holzer’s Garden Bench, a stone bench inscribed with text. My traveling companion is more enthralled with the Jackson Pollocks. Perhaps the tangled, swirling drips of paint reflect his mental state. Or he just likes the colors.
“I walk in, I see you …”
Viewing art has left us hungry and thirsty. We explore Dorsoduro to find the right place for lunch. There are too many options. We take a canal side seat at Ristorante Riviera, and pay a premium, but the view is worth every Euro. The meal is artfully presented and delicious, the service, friendly and attentive. We dine on squid with a gob of black ink foam, chickpea soup, fresh fish dotted with mounds of beet and asparagus foam. And of course, Prosecco. At the end of the meal, the restaurant owner thanks us graciously.
We pass by a number of mask shops on the way back to the hotel. The window displays are gorgeous. The masks are feathered, glittered, ornate.
Carnival in Venice is an annual festival during the period before Lent. The festival features historic costumes, elegant balls, and elaborate masks.
With 3 millions visitors to the city for the festival, what a spectacle Carnival must be!
Back to Hotel Codega where it is time to meet our fellow travelers, and begin our Rick Steves’ 10 Day Best of Venice, Florence and Rome Tour.