Venice – November 2014

Yes yes, I know I’ve been horribly MIA for a while. I kind of lost my muse for history blogging which is a damned shame. BUT I’m endeavouring now to get back into it – particularly as my recent visit to Venice has reawoken the love of history in me. Yep, you heard me right – I went to Venice. We flew out on Tuesday and stayed in a beautiful hotel in the Dorsoduro district. I have to say? I completely fell in love with the place despite the fact that it constantly rained and most days we had to trudge through flood water to get to where we wanted to go.

The history of the place is just mindblowing and I will be the first to admit that I don’t know all that much about it – other than bits and bobs of what happened during the Renaissance. What surprised me particularly though was what I learned during the “Secret Itineraries” tour around the Palazzo Ducale – that Venice’s whole government and justice system was completely revolutionary. They were the first place to offer free food and drink to prisoners kept within the prisons and the first place to abolish torture. What I also found fascinating was that the famous lothario Casanova was locked up in the Palazzo Ducale for not only his womanising ways, but also the fact that the Venetian government were afraid his friendship with the French would lead to him spreading secrets. Casanova himself actually escaped his prison with a priest – the story is absolutely fascinating and merits a post all of its own. Keep your eyes peeled for that one.

We spent a hell of a lot of time in the Piazza San Marco, simply because that is where the majority of the museums are – and God I could have spent days just wandering those halls. My particular favourite was the archaeology museum – there were so many Roman and Greek statues there as well as amazing coins and medals from each of the Doge’s reigns. Not only that? But they had mummies! And you all know just how much I’m into the death rituals of ancient Egypt. The Correr museum was also a particular highlight – they had a lot of religious iconography there which is again, of particular interest. Although the best place we visited HAS to be the Palazzo Ducale. We paid extra for a special tour of the prisons and torture chambers and it was there that we found out about Casanova. It was so interesting to see where the prisoners were kept as well as where the government, secret service and trials went on. Once the tour was over we got to go around the museum within the Palazzo and my God. It was simply STUNNING. I think I spent most of my time looking up at the amazing golden ceilings and the paintings.

But before I ramble on and on? Here are some pictures. Enjoy.

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