V E N I C E
Adventures Ashore Port Guide
Where Waters Rich with Historical Importance Carve Out a Unique Culture
The bewitching city of Venice has always considered itself to be “married” to the sea. Overseas commerce and investment made the metropolis wealthy and powerful, and much of the city’s unique charm comes from the reduced noise and slower pace of life along the canals. But don’t be deceived; the Venetians are second to none in their astuteness, vigor, and capacity for hard work. Venice was founded originally by refugees from the mainland seeking a safe haven from the Huns, then later from the Franks between the 5th- and 8th-centuries. At one time Venice controlled Cyprus, Crete, and much of southern Greece. Centuries of naval warfare with the Ottoman Turks cost Venice control of those areas, but they didn’t lose their commercial edge until Napoleon abolished the Republic in 1797. Because of its strategic location at the head of the Adriatic Sea, Venice quickly became a transit port for trade between central Europe and everywhere in the Mediterranean, but especially the Holy Land. Much of the commercial and military traffic during the Crusades was carried by Venetian ships, which acquired untold wealth for the city’s merchants. The Crusaders also helped to expand the land controlled by the Republic to islands and coastal enclaves along the Balkan peninsula and the Aegean Sea. In 1204, the Venetian Doge Enrico Dandolo led a powerful army to Constantinople and captured it from the Byzantine Empire. Some of Venice’s greatest artworks and treasures were violently looted from the East at that time, and triumphantly brought home as booty. Although the Greeks were able to recapture their city within just a few years, the treachery of the over-eager Venetians has poisoned relations between the two peoples ever since. It also became a major source of the great rift between the Eastern and Western Christian Churches, which continues to this day. Today Venice spans 118 islands, with a well-planned web of 150 canals and 400 bridges. Although the motorboat, or vaporetto, is well accepted today, the gondola is the more traditional means of transportation. A surprisingly agile craft, each gondola is lovingly built like a piece of fine furniture, sometimes requiring more than a year to complete. Gondoliers belong to a centuries-old guild, steeped in tradition, and are quite adept at moving their boats easily with a single oar. The tall mooring poles with distinctive spiral striping are the original models for barber poles. One thing that strikes you immediately is the wide use of Venice’s characteristic emblem, the winged lion of St. Mark the Evangelist. The saint’s bones were brought from Alexandria in 823, and reburied with honor in the Basilica. Symbol of the patron saint of Venice, St. Mark’s lion has been used to identify outlying possessions of the city ever since, and is found all over the eastern Mediterranean. The heart of Venice centers around St. Mark’s Square, which has been called “a great, marble salon” open to the sky. The piazza is huge yet harmonious, with covered galleries all around, sheltering luxury shops and cafes. The Basilica San Marco was built in 830 to accommodate St. Mark’s tomb, and then rebuilt during the 11th-century in its present Byzantine style. Built as a
AT A GLANCE
SIZE: 116,303 square miles, about the size of Florida and Georgia combined. POPULATION: 57,772,000, about one-fourth the U.S. population LANGUAGE: Italian CAPITAL: Rome TYPE OF GOVERNMENT: Republic CURRENCY: Euro, formerly
TIME ZONE: GMT +2
ABOUT YOUR PORT GUIDE
This is your guide to Venice, specially prepared by Princess Cruises. This guide is intended to assist you if you are on a shore excursion, touring independently or doing both. Please note that the information provided is general in nature and is subject to change.
Adventures Ashore Port Guide ~ Venice
Greek cross with several eastern domes, the Basilica is so richly decorated that it is called the “golden church.” The acoustics inside are so intricate and unique, that musical works by Venetian composers like Vivaldi and Monteverdi do not sound the same when performed elsewhere. The four bronze horses above the central doorway were among the prizes brought from the Hippodrome in Constantinople. They are antique bronze sculptures, once considered the work of the ancient genius Praxiteles. Anyone who climbs the tall, graceful Campanile or bell tower will have a wonderful panorama of the entire city, which is shaped like a lute. To the right of the Basilica you will find a smaller extension of the square called the Piazzetta or the “Broglio” (the Intrigue), since entry was restricted to noblemen each day for two hours before noon. It was the ideal time and place to exchange gossip and hatch intricate plots. To the left of the Basilica is the commanding Clock Tower, with its large 15th-century dial with signs of the zodiac. The Palace of the Doges became the heart of Venetian government from the 9th-century, even though the present Venetian-Gothic masterpiece was not constructed until the 14th-century. Venice’s chief executive was a Duke, or Doge, an elected official with sweeping powers over life and death. Assisting the Doge was the Grand Council, elected from the wealthiest families of the city, and the far more powerful Council of Ten. Known also as the Black Counselors because of their dark clothing, members of the Ten watched over security for the Republic with a network of spies and secret agents. Inside the palace is the model of a “Lion’s Mouth” where written notes denouncing traitors could be left secretly and anonymously for the Counselors. Criminal judgments that the Ten imposed did not require the presence of the accused. Sentences were carried out immediately, and were not subject to appeal.
The graceful Bridge of Sighs links the Doge’s Palace with the dark old prison building, on the far side of the Rio de Palazzo. The name comes from the small windows on the bridge, providing the last direct sunlight that prisoners might feel for many years, perhaps forever. Away from the huge Square, a ride on the Grand Canal will reveal some of the more “ordinary” Venetian palaces and churches, and they are uniformly splendid. The tall Rialto Bridge, in the heart of the business district, is intentionally arched to allow fully armed galleys to pass underneath. Venice’s large Jewish community was concentrated on the island known as Ghetto, and flourished because of the many commercial contacts all over the Mediterranean. The term “ghetto” for a Jewish quarter originated in Venice. Venetian Islands Further offshore are the fascinating islands of the Venetian Lagoon. Torcello was actually established as a lagoon settlement earlier than Venice, and traces of its prosperity remain. The romanesque Church of Santa Fosca was built on an octagonal pattern in the 11th-century. Nearby is the Cathedral, with a wonderful inlaid pavement, Greek marble columns, and some very fine Byzantine mosaics. The island of Murano once had a near monopoly on fine blown glass,
beginning in 1292. The island of Burano is a delightful fishing community with cheerfully painted houses. Lacemaking is a well established craft here. Brenta Canal On the way to Padua, on the mainland, you will pass the so-called Brenta Riviera, a series of opulent villas built along the Brenta Canal. Palladio built the Villa Foscari in 1574. A member of the Foscari family banished his wife there, giving it the nickname La Malcontenta. Lord Byron also stayed there during his travels. The Villa Pisani at Stra shows some of Tiepolo’s finest painting, as well as remarkable gardens. Padua The city of Padua became Venetian in 1405, and contributed much to the Republic. It is actually an old University center, where Dante, Petrarch, Copernicus, and Tasso studied, and Galileo was a professor. The town is also known for St. Anthony of Padua who died here in 1231, though he was born in Lisbon. The Basilica dedicated to him is an imposing church, built in a transition style somewhere between Romanesque and Gothic, with a trace of Byzantine influence as well. Donatello’s bronze statue in the square honor the Venetian general Gattamelata, a nickname meaning “tabby cat” because of his agility and cunning.
Grand Canal and Rialto Bridge
Places of Interest
ACCADEMIA BRIDGE ACADEMY BRIDGE One of three bridges that span the Grand Canal ACCADEMIA GALLERY ACADEMY GALLERY Venice’s most important art museum with an extraordinary collection of Venetian paintings BASILICA SAN MARCO ST. MARK’S BASILICA A masterpiece of Venetian-Byzantine architecture and one of Europe’s most beautiful churches CA' REZZONICO Former Grand Canal Palace that now houses the museum of 18th century Venice CAMPANILE - BELL TOWER Offers panoramic views of Venice and its surroundings GRAND CANAL Two-mile-long main canal that winds through Venice; it has an average depth of nine feet and varies from 40 to 76 yards in width GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM Small but choice gallery of 20th-century painting and sculpture located in the heiress’s former residence PALAZZO DUCALE - DOGE’S PALACE An important museum, this Gothic-Renaissance pink and white marble palace was both the former residence of the dukes (doges) of Venice and the seat of Venetian government PIAZZA SAN MARCO - ST. MARK’S SQUARE The heart of Venice and the site of many of its most famous landmarks PIAZZETTA SAN MARCO Landing stage for boats into St. Mark’s Square. PONTE DEI SOSPIRI - BRIDGE OF SIGHS The bridge connecting the Doge’s Palace with the ancient prison PRINCESS WATER SHUTTLE PIER A motor launch shuttle will operate round trip from the ship to a drop-off location within walking distance of St. Mark's Square RIALTO BRIDGE Venice’s most famous bridge arched high over the Grand Canal so that war galleys could sail under it; the area around the Rialto is popular for shopping SAN GIORGIO MAGGIORE Masterpiece of church architecture designed by Andrea Palladio and located on the island of San Giorgio SANTA MARIA DELLA SALUTE Huge, white, domed 17th-century Baroque church designed by Longhena SCALZI BRIDGE One of three bridges that span the Grand Canal TORRE DELL ’OROLOGIO - CLOCK TOWER Commanding 15th-century clock with its famous Moors, giant bronze figures who have been striking the hour for five centuries THESE SITES CAN BE FOUND ON THE MAP AT THE BACK OF THIS GUIDE
DOCKING Your Princess ship docks in Venice at either the Marittima Station berth or the Riva Sette Maritime berth. MOTORLAUNCH SERVICE When docked at the Marittima Station berth, Princess offers motorlaunch service to and from a drop-off location along Riva degli Schiavoni within walking distance of St. Mark's Square. A charge of $10 per person will be automatically placed onto your shipboard account. Any passenger not wishing to utilize this service should return their unused Water Shuttle Pass to the Purser’s Desk or Tour Office prior to the last evening of the cruise. Please refer to the Princess Patter and the Venice City Map for more information. SHORE EXCURSION DEPARTURES Passengers will meet at a specific location for each shore excursion departure. Please refer to your tour ticket and the Princess Patter for the correct place and time. Your Shore Excursion staff will be at that location to assist you. VAPORETTOS The local transport system for Venice are the vaporettos. There are numerous landing stages and ticket booths along the Grand Canal and around the Venetian Lagoon. Local currency will be needed to purchase tickets for the vaporettos. For more information, inquire at www.actv.it SHOPPING Venice offers a dazzling array of shops and window displays. You’ll find good buys in: Glass Famous Murano glassware Jewelry Beautiful pieces in all varieties; finely crafted gold and silver Fashion Rich leather goods and fine silk scarves, shawls, blouses and ties. Lace Handmade by the women of Burano Distinctive gifts Paper-mache theatrical and carnival masks; velvet gondolier slippers with rope soles; and gondolier straw hats with colored bands. The best places to shop are along the Merceria, around the Rialto and on the Strada Nuova. Please refer to the Venice City Map for specific locations. PUBLIC SERVICES Banks: Most banks are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Museums: Hours and closing days vary greatly, but most are open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Some reopen in the afternoon and are open Sunday as well. Shops: Usually open from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
and from 4:00 to 7:30 p.m., and are closed Sunday and Monday morning. Many tourist-oriented shops, however, are open all day, every day.
Post Office: The main branch at Rialto Bridge is open Monday through Saturday from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
PROPER ATTIRE Please wear proper attire ashore when planning to visit churches, cathedrals and other sacred places. Shorts for both men and women are considered improper. Women should also cover their bare shoulders. LOCAL CUISINE - Food Specialties Pasta and seafood make up much of Venetian fare. Recommended foods include:
Pasta e fagoli: Classic first course of thick bean
soup with pasta
Risotto: A creamy rice dish cooked with vegetables
Bigoli: A local favorite, this pasta is made of whole
wheat and usually served with a salty tonno or tuna sauce; it’s often an accompaniment to fegato alla veneziana, Venetian-style liver and onions
Tiramisu: A heavenly Venetian dessert made of
creamy cheese, coffee and chocolate with pound cake
Drink Specialties - Venice is a great place for wine
tasting. Visit some of the city’s many wine shops, where you can enjoy a sample along with cichetti, assorted tidbits which are often a meal in themselves. Fine local wines include:
White Wines: Tocai and Pinot from the Friuli
region, both dry; Prosecco, a naturally fermented sparkling wine; and Cartizze, considered by many to be a superior Prosecco
Red Wines: Merlot, Cabernet, Raboso and Refosco
It is always recommended that you drink bottled water while in port.
TIPPING Suggested tipping is 10 percent for good service. SOME USEFUL WORDS Yes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Si No . . . . . . . . . . . . . . No Please . . . . . . . . . . . . Per favore Thank you . . . . . . . . Grazie Good morning . . . . . Buon giorno PRINCESS CRUISES AGENTS In case of emergency while you are ashore, please contact:
BASSANI S.P.A. San Basilio/Santa Marta Fabbricato 17 Venezia ITALY Telephone: 39-041-522-2744 Telefax: 39-041-523-0336
Note: The information in this port guide is subject to change without notice. We apologize for any inconvenience, but Princess Cruises cannot accept responsibility for any such alterations. Thank you.