Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rick's Roadshow: Venice, Italy, Part II

Welcome back to another edition of Rick's Roadshow: Venice, Italy, Part II. I'd like to take you on a journey with me through several areas of Venice that I found most enjoyable. I've been spending so much time just walking around with my eyes wide open, taking it all in that it is almost overwhelming. So many iconic images and classic scenes of Venice. The ancient Venetians were an incredible society that influenced a great swath of the Mediterranean. I saw their influence first hand over the past two weeks while on the cruise. Anyway, I digress. My first stop was to visit one of the world-renowned Venetian glass blowing workshops. True Venetian glass is a type of glass made primarily on the island of Murano. It is noted for having a variety of colors sometimes with elaborate designs, and is all hand made by artisans who use the same techniques developed in the 13th century. The quality varies depending on the experience of the glass master, but usually true Venetian Murano glass is quite valuable.
Behind the Scenes at the Murano Glass Workshop
above left: It all starts with ordinary silica sand (see inside the bowl) heated at extremely high temperatures. Minerals are added to provide color. Above right: the glass master pulls the glob of heated silica out of the oven, which is glowing red hot.

above: the glass master begins to work with the hot glass, forming it, rolling it, putting it in and out of the fiery-hot oven.

above: soon the glass master begins to craft a horse out of the molten glass. Look closely and you can see the details. (click the image to biggify)
above left: the glass master holds the finished product, crafted right before our eyes. the glass turned black as it cooled, based on the minerals he added to the silica. It was red in previous photos because it was still hot. above right: later he made this glass in front of us too. It is still attached to the glass blowing rod.
The Magnificent Murano Glass Showroom

After I started taking photos they asked me not to take anymore, so these are all I have, but they were some even more stunning pieces in the gallery.
Later, it was time to walk around and explore more of the city. The winged lion is San Marcos Lion, and can be found everywhere in Venice. It looks very similar to the mythological creature called the Griffin, which I just love, so I had to stop for this photo. The only drawback to Venice are the huge number of tourists crawling all over the city during the day. Cruise ships bring thousands of passengers to the streets, they out number the locals, and makes it quite difficult to move through the city with ease. However, by nightfall most have returned to their ships, so evenings are actually a great time to be out in Venice. Some of the photos that follow are a combination of day and night photos, forgive the incongruity of their order.
above: I stopped by this cafe on St Mark's square during the day and returned at night to enjoy a bottle of wine. They have dueling orchestras performing live on the square under these tents. They have been doing this for hundreds of years, so it is a bit of a tradition here and is lots of fun to watch and listen.
Fashion Maven of Venice
above: I spotted this lovely woman enjoying the orchestra play. I loved her color-coordinating turban, sunglasses, necklace, dress, and shoes- all bright yellow. Yes, she was a fashion maven alright!
Various Views of Venice
above left: I love this perspective of all the houses along the canal.

above left: I popped my head into the Opera house, which was stunning.

Open Markets Galore

above: fresh chestnuts were roasting in this barrel, which smelled so fantastic! They also sold them raw, along with other nuts, dried fruits and chili peppers.
above left: Sweets and pastries made me drool. above right: these are fresh red chili peppers, so beautifully arranged like bouquets.

above: just an old ship I thought was interesting.
Witches in Venice?

above: no these aren't Witches' Brooms. Believe it or not, the city workers use these brooms (what I think look like Witches Brooms) to sweep the public areas. I thought it was a little funny so I had to take this photo.
Tomorrow's post will be about my last night in Venice. A dramatic ending that has all the elements of a good story: A posh restaurant in ancient Venice, a brush with local officials. Looky-loo passers-by. A high speed boat ride through the winding canals, and a long evening of waiting and worrying. Welcome to Rick’s Roadshow: The Venetian Scare! Please come back tomorrow for the full story...it was a doozie.
-Signore Ricardo Rockhill


Anonymous said...

Uh-oh... sounds like tomorrow will be a doozie.

Did you go to Harry's Bar?

lime said...

the glass making is really something. such skill to work so quickly and make something so beautiful.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

wonderful photos as always rick. the carnival freedom has chandeliers of murano glass, so beautiful!

smiles, bee

kenju said...

Wonderful photos again, of course. I look forward to the conclusion mystery!!

Mags said...

First of all-you look fantastic in red!

Glass blowing is fascinating to watch-it amazes me how they create such beautiful things with a blob of hot melted sand.

Venice is stunning. I'm in love.

© Karelian Blonde said...

Mmmm...wine in the cafe...*sigh*

Looking forward to your last mysterious Venice instalment :)

Olivia said...

I love that horse. You've reminded me that I have neglected my collection of murano glass jewelry this summer, but I am glad I insisted on my decorative plates being sent over. Now I just need shelves to put them on.

Did that lady spot you photographing her???


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