So let's try this again: Our first full day in Venice. Art and pizza.
After breakfast and the morning walk, we're ready to tackle the Academia. We've got our tickets and we need to be there at 10.30 am, although once we're there we can stay as long as we like. I think this is a really good idea, only admitting a certain number of visitors at a time.
It's an easy, interesting walk, past little shops and sandwich places, over tiny bridges and through cobbled alleys to St. Stefan's square and the Academia Bridge.
I've brought the muzzle, but nobody says anything about needing it, so it remains in my bag, unused. The actual building is smaller than I expected. All my life I've been hearing about this museum, so I guess I thought it would be enormous.
The exhibition halls are on the second floor. You can rent an audio commentary for $6 and although it doesn't cover everything, it's pretty good.
This is Renaissance art. The patrons are Catholic and the subject is The Bible. Artists expressed piety (genuine or feigned) rather than themselves. Even so, they allowed themselves an amount of artistic freedom. Veronese's Last Supper -- complete with dogs, buffoons, drunkards and even Germans -- got him hauled up before the Inquisition. They gave him three months to "fix" the painting. Instead of repainting it, Veronese simply changed the title to Feast at the House of Levi and everyone was happy.
After two hours of art, we make our way back up the shallow steps of the Academia Bridge and down into St. Stefan's square. Half a dozen cafés are serving lunch al fresco and we allow ourselves to be tempted by Art Blu Cafe. The fresh, hot, thin-crusted pizza is delicious, and a generous serving of red wine completes the meal. Xingxing is happy with a bowl of cold water.
We see quite a few dogs in Venice, mostly on leashes but sometimes not. They all seem to be pretty well behaved.
I could walk the streets all day, just looking at the shop windows. But Xingxing has had enough. So we return to the hotel, where Xingxing curls up at my feet as I check my mail. Xingxing looks up at me. His eyes say, Let's get on the bed and take a nap.
Maybe we should save San Marco Square for tomorrow morning, when it will be less crowded. Suddenly, a nap sounds like an excellent idea.