on January 3, 2006
Winding around and around the narrow streets and bridges of Venice, one begins to wonder, "will I ever get there?" Taking time to enter shops and looking for one-of-kind treasures while staring up at building signs indicating to go here for St. Marks Square, in Italian of course, I never thought I would get there. But then all of sudden you hit a narrow passage (among the several hundred other ones) and all you can see is straight in front you. As you come to the end of passage you see St. Mark's Basilica to your left, but nothing prepares you when you look to your right and realize that here you are, right here, in St. Mark's Square. First walking into the square was absolutely breathtaking! I was absolutely amazed at the sheer size and the fact that I was right here! During Venice's heyday, dozens of victims either lost their heads or were strung up here, many of them first subjected to torture. One, for example, had his teeth hammered in, his eyes gouged out, and his hands cut off before being strung up. If you stand with your back to the canal, looking toward the south facade of St. Mark's, you'll see the so-called Virgin and Child of the Poor Baker, a mosaic honoring Pietro Fasiol (Faziol), a young man unjustly sentenced to death on a charge of murder. Caveat: Wear a hat and keep moving! Pigeons here in Italy, and in Europe in general, I find to be particularly brave. Pigeons will land on you like you're a statue! I've seen it happen! Wear a hat to protect yourself from any stray excrement. If you should ignore my warning and go without a hat and find yourself a target, Rick Steve (travel journalist, whose book we consulted along our trip) warns to wait until it has dried and then you can easily flake it off instead of it running all throughout your hair.
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