Sunday, December 2, 2012

18: Greece and Venice, March 1932

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We saw lots of porpoises in the Sea of Marmora (A) going out. They were very beautiful and playful. Arrived at Piraeus, Greece, (B) morning of March 14 and caught a taxi five miles to Athens (C) and the Acropolis. Beautiful hill and real architecture. Saw large groups of the "Ladies from Hell," elite Greek soldiers who wear kilts and shoes with pointed toes which curve upward. Sailed through Corinth Canal  (D) which is cut through stone isthmus near ancient city of Corinth. Ship has only a few feet clearance on each side from stone banks.

Ship next steamed into Adriatic Sea and north to Venice (E). Italian police and soldiers are picturesque. Some wear Napoleon-like hats, others with Robin Hood hats with feather and cloaks. We passed many sailing ships in Adriatic which on March 16th was fairly cool, misty and cloudy.

We see several leaning towers as we pulled into the dock at Venice. Went to nearby Pension Seguso and to the San Marco nearby. This is great cathedral erected supposedly over the bones of St. Mark, their patron saint who died in Alexandria, Egypt, but who had been promised by an angel that his bones would rest in Venice. The body was smuggled out of Alexandria under pork carcases and taken to Venice. The basilica seems all domes and gilt with a number of fine mosaics in beautiful colors and showing fine scenes in the arches below.

Piazza San Marco
Church and Companile.
Present building completed 1094.  First Ducal chapel on this site finished about 832.  St. Mark's remains brought to Venice in 828.
March 1932 

Next east is the Doge's Palace, a beautiful structure with many huge beautiful historic paintings inside. Above the central arch of the San Marco, by the way, are four bronze horses taken as booty by Venetians when they captured Byzantium (Istanbul). I was in Venice for Palm Sunday, a great religious day for Catholics. Huge crowds poured out of the cathedral, each person carrying a small sprig resembling palms. Saw many fine museums and art galleries. I liked particularly the paintings of Tintoretto. To get very far in Venice you catch a motor boat. Gondolas were slow and expensive. Venice is on 100 islands separated by almost 150 canals crossed by about 380 bridges. Adjoining the San Marco, by the way is a high bell tower with a winged lion atop.

On Grand Canal
Taken from Gondola
March 1932

Doge's Palace

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