It poured with rain for our first day in Venice, but we were determined to get out and about and explore the city. This shot is of St Mark’s Square, just in front of St Mark’s Basilica. If you look across the square, you will notice a line of people walking on trestle tables. This is because with a high tide and torrential rain, the square was flooded.
But that was not a problem for the resourceful Venetian’s. Almost every road (well pedestrian walkway), had piles of these tables which were simply spread out whenever a region was flooded. As soon as the water subsides, the tables are re-stacked and life goes back to normal.
The Grand Canal in Venice is the easiest way to get around Venice. It basically divides the city down the middle, with most taxi and bus services running on it.
There are only four bridges that you can use to cross the canal, however it is a small city; so you never really find yourself stuck on the wrong side of the canal. Venice is remarkably compact, you can easily cross it on foot in less than an hour, and by using the water-bus (Vaporetti) in about 1/2 hour.
Although it is difficult to get an original shot of the canal that has not been taken 100 times before, it is truly a beautiful location for some great shots.
The Rialto Bridge is the oldest of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal in Venice. It was build by Antonio da Ponte, in 1591, after almost 100 years of thinking, discussion, proposals and planning. So if you think that city planning today seems to take forever, don’t complain!
During the planning process, several plans for the Rialto Bridge were submitted, including a plan by Michelangelo, which was not used. While I have seen many pictures of the bridge over the years, I was a little surprised at how small it really is, having said that the whole of Venice is really small. You could easy walk end to end in 45 minutes (including the obligatory getting lost; which will happen at some stage).
The Rialto Bridge is right next to the Rialto Market, selling fresh produce and sea food to the locals and tourists. Never the less, it is a beautiful and spectacular bridge in the heart of Venice, and a wonderful location to wonder around for a couple of hours.
ps: A pity about the Graffiti on the right :-(
The Temple of Hercules Victor in Forum Boarium was originally thought to have been a temple of Vesta. Although the temple is in the middle of Rome, the marble used to build the temple was from Athens!
The temple is located in the oldest forum in Rome, as was built around 2BC. Driving past the temple is a little strange, because on the one side you have a wonderful garden, and on the other a large and busy freeway. But then I suppose that can be said about many of the sites and places in Rome, whereby you can drive past an archaeological dig right next to an office building.
In case you are wandering, Hercules was the protector of the olive trade.
The Roman Forum was the commercial hub of the ancient Roman world. This was where you would go to do anything from buying a few pigs, to visiting the Senate House to file a legal document. This is where the center of Roman Law was debated, and where citizens could petition Caesar.
The Forum was also the home of many temples paying homage to the various gods, and where the famous Vestal Virgins kept their eternal flame burning (of course they were beaten if they let it go out!).
It is also where Julius Caesar was killed, the spot is marked by a small grave, and to this day is covered with notes and flowers.