Getting on/off vaporetto and gondola (assistance offered). Walking up to 4 miles throughout the day with extended periods of standing during site visits; cobblestones, marble flooring, and some uneven urban stone sidewalks. Elevator available in San Marco. Unavoidable stairs on bridges and in museum. Crossing multiple bridges that span canals; some bridges may lack handrails.
At the hotel, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as an egg dish, sliced cold cuts, cheeses, cereal, muesli, yogurt, fresh fruit, breads and pastries, jams, honey, butter, and a selection of hot and cold beverages.
Venice has six sestieri (districts). We will take the vaporetto to the Rialto area, part of the San Polo sestiere, and meet a local expert who will lead our walking field trip through one of the oldest parts of the city. The Rialto Bridge, oldest in Venice, links San Polo with the sestiere of San Marco. The top of the Rialto Bridge is an excellent vantage point for photographing the busy traffic on the Grand Canal. Our field trip will conclude at the Rialto markets where we will have some time to browse independently. Venetians have gotten their food here since 1097! Barges loaded with fresh produce arrive at dawn. A few hours later, customers begin to peruse the stands and carts of vendors selling an amazing variety of fruits, vegetables, seafood, and other provisions.
At a restaurant near the Rialto, we’ll have a plated and served meal with an antipasto dish, a main course, and salad; water included, other beverages available for purchase.
We will take a short walk to the Basilica of San Marco for an expert-led exploration of the cathedral that was begun in 1063 CE. Named for the city’s patron saint whose remains are believed to be held in the cathedral, San Marco evolved over centuries into an extraordinary ecclesiastical and architectural monument that has to be seen in person to be fully appreciated. Its mosaics are one of the most arresting features of the church, dating from the 11th to 19th centuries. Biblical and allegorical images, in rich colors on golden backgrounds, cover more than 86,000 square feet (8,000 square meters) of the interior surfaces. The musical tradition of San Marco is just as rich, particularly the polychoral style with antiphonal choirs that was essentially invented here. Given the city’s watery atmosphere as well as natural disasters and wars through its history, maintenance, protection, and restoration of all elements of the church are a major concern. Then, we will experience the city from a different point of view with a gondola ride along the canals. The remainder of the afternoon is free. You may return to the hotel via vaporetto or on foot as you prefer.
This meal has been excluded from the program cost. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.