We took off from Cinque Terre for the other coast–and the magic of Venice. It was about a 6 hour train ride from the La Spezia station with a brief stop at a local station to change trains. Arrival in Venice is always exciting–lots of people milling about; some trying to catch cruise ships, others enlisting the help of train porters to carry luggage across the bridges to their hotels. We chose a hotel near the Accademia Bridge, a bit of a walk from the train but closer to St Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace.
The weather in Venice was fabulous–lots of golden sun reflecting off the churches and enough of a cool breeze to make sitting at an outdoor cafe enjoyable in the evening. Our first evening, we walked through St Mark’s Square and stopped to listen to several of the orchestras, being careful to not take a seat at the cafe as those come with a steep price for coffee, often $14 per cup. But listening to the music is free.
Our second day we chose to tour the Doge’s Palace, a show-stopper of a place built as the residence for the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority in Venice. The palace is connected to St Mark’s Basilica and includes one of the largest rooms in all of Europe as well as dungeons and the infamous Bridge of Sighs that prisoners overlooked as they were sent to the dungeon.