“Oh my…” Standing outside of a gelateria, I felt something wet strike my shoulder. By the looks of horror on my colleagues’ faces, I quickly realized that I had been welcomed to Venice by a pigeon. Prior to this unfortunate incident, my second day in Venice had been quite nice. For my first Venetian breakfast (which would become my daily Venetian breakfast), I enjoyed Italian Bread, Prosciutto, and Blood Orange Juice. After breakfast, we took a vaporetto ride to the north end of the lagoon to visit Torcello. On the island, we devoted our time to the Basilica of Torcello.
We began with the Mosaic of the Virgin and the Blessing Child, located in the central apse, and then turned our attention towards the astonishing Last Judgment Mosaic. In addition to their aesthetic beauty, these mosaics also serve as evidence of the Byzantine influence on Venice. In nearby Burano, we walked the streets of brightly colored houses, passing by the statue of the favorite son of Burano, composer Baldassare Galuppi.
We then took an unplanned vaporetto ride that brought us to Piazza San Marco. On our way back to the hotel, we stopped at the Church of San Zaccaria, where we had the opportunity to view Giovanni Bellini’s San Zaccaria Altarpiece, still in place after 500 years. As the first Venetian painting that I studied in The Renaissance in Venice course, having the opportunity to see it right in front of me was incredible.
A bit further along, we visited the small jewelry box-like Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, filled with exquisite sculptures of the fifteenth-century Lombardo school. In the evening, Dr. Lazar brought us to a restaurant that served authentic Italian pizza. Satisfied, we continued on our way to a virtuoso performance of the Venetian priest and composer Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons along with other Baroque selections in the opulent surroundings of the Scuola Grande di San Teodoro.