Tuesday, April 25, 2017

VENICE 2017: Torcello Island and the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

As you surely know by now, Astrid and I tried to see every possible place of interest while in Venice during our 7 days. Torcello, the island farthest away and to the north of Venice, was one of our highlights.

It took us an hour on the vaporetto to get there.
(Wiki image)

To save our feet, knowing it would be a long day, we opted to sit inside to view what passed us by.
There are over 50 islands in the Venetian Lagoon, many of them only as big as a postage stamp.
When you finally see Torcello (bottom-right) you see why we went there.

From the vaporetto stop, there's only one way into the "village," population 60+/-.

The main drag, passing the cafés and 2 hotels, eventually gives view of the cathedral's bell tower.

But before you get there, you can't resist what I called the White House (a restaurant)!

Then you see it/them:  first the Church of Santa Fosca (center with dome) from the 11th century,
and next to it the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, with bell tower, founded in AD 639.
It's the oldest building in the Venetian Lagoon.

While purchasing our tickets, we discovered the bell-tower bells would strike noon in 20+ min.,
so we opted for climbing the ramped staircase of the bell tower, before entering the cathedral.
We made sure we were back down before the bells chimed because they were loud.
In fact, they warn you 5 minutes ahead of time before each hour.

But what a view from up on high!

We could even see Burano with its tilted tower, the island we would visit later that afternoon.

Down from the bell tower, we finally entered the Byzantine cathedral, a basilica.

The marble columns are from the 11th century.
The rood screen separating the nave from the chancel area...I wanted to know more.
The skull of St. Cecilia....

Behind the rood screen is the main aspe with its 11th cent. mosaic of the Virgin and the Apostles,
and its marble mosaic floors (where I saw a quilt!).

The present basilica is from 1008, but the marble pulpit is from fragments of the first 7th c. church.
On the west wall, over the main door, is the huge mosaic of the Last Judgment (12th century).

[No photos were allowed inside, which explains why I have so few. surreptitiously taken behind Astrid as my shield.
I can mention in comments why I "disobey" these rules, if you wish.]

Outside in the courtyard are Roman relics galore.
It's believed Attila the Hun used the marble seat as his throne (bottom-center) in the 5th century.

So many things to see...an outdoor museum.

We even walked around to the back of the complex where we got the bell tower in the sun.

The bigger picture, indeed!

By then it was time for lunch, at one of the cafés we had passed on our way in.

And then we were off to the nearby islands of Burano and Mazzorbo (next post)....

Thursday, April 20, 2017

VENICE 2017: The Chimneys

How about something none of us expected!  I guess when you're always looking up for weathervanes...but don't find them...you're happy to notice what IS there.

So I collected them!

How can you not be mesmerized!

Almost as elegant as any ornamental tower.

Don't you love the tiny roofs?

These were at the end of our wee canal near our B&B.
They remind me of trumpets tooting their horns.

I know.  Silly me.  But I had to collect something!