Venice Sights

060531_doges_palace.jpgBasilica di San Marco. An opulent synthesis of Byzantine and Romanesque styles. The basilica did not actually become the cathedral of Venice until 1807, but its role as the doge’s private chapel gave it immense power and wealth. Piazza San Marco

Palazzo Ducale. A Venetian icon. Rising above the Piazzetta San Marco, this Gothic-Renaissance fantasia of pink-and-white marble (right) is a majestic expression of the prosperity and power attained during Venice’s most glorious period. Piazza San Marco

Ca’ Rezzonico. The 17th-century palace’s frescoes, gilded salons, and marble fixtures show how elegance once prevailed in Venice. Bought and sold frequently over the centuries, Ca’ Rezzonico once belonged to English poet Robert Browning’s son. Dorsoduro

060531_giorgione.jpgGalleria dell’ Academia. Napoleon founded these galleries in 1807 on the site of a religious complex he’d suppressed, and what he initiated amounts to the world’s most extraordinary collection of Venetian art. You’ll find works by Bellini, Giorgione (right), Tintoretto, Titian, and Veronese, among many others. Dorsoduro

Ca’ d’Oro. This exquisite Venetian Gothic palace was once literally a “Golden House” when its marble traceries and ornaments were embellished with pure gold. The last proprietor left Ca’ d’Oro to the city, after filling it with antiquities, sculptures, and paintings that today make up the Galleria Franchetti. Cannaregio

060531_rialto.jpgPonte di Rialto. The competition to design the Grand Canal’s first stone bridge (right) attracted the 16th century’s best architects, including Michelangelo, Palladio, and Sansovino, but the job went to the appropriately named Antonio da Ponte. His design featured shop space and was high enough for ships to pass beneath. Rialto

Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. This huge Gothic structure contains several of the most sumptuously brilliant paintings in any Venetian church, including the magnificent Titian altarpieces (lower right), which are among the most dazzling works this prolific artist produced. San Polo

060531_titian.jpgSanta Maria dei Miracoli. Tiny, yet perfectly proportioned, this early Renaissance gem has a marble-sheathed exterior and the inside is decorated with exquisite marble reliefs. Architect Pietro Lombardo (circa 1435-1515) seems to have compressed Miracoli into its confined space and then made it look bigger through various optical illusions. At one time it was Venice’s most important shrine to the Virgin Mary. Cannaregio

Photo credit: Sebastien Bertrand, Doge’s Palace.

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