Decided to take on Venice for two reasons, like the Matterhorn it was on the itinerary in 1961 but missed out. Probably a lot less crowded then. And the fast train from Milano to Venezia takes only 2 hours thirty. One of the 10 things to do and see on Venice is to get lost. That one was covered today. As well as seeing Ponte di Realto - completed in the 16th century with shops all the way across. As well as The Galleria Academia and the Dukes palace along with weaponry of the 14-1600's and the jail cells for the bad guys. So in two days 8 out of 10 is not half bad.
A cool beer down on the waterfront with Ducal Plalace to the left after a busy day of sightseeing. Heaps of photos but not taken with iPhone. These will appear along with some movies a few days after I get home.
St Mark's Basilica was built to house the body of St Mark the Evangelist. The bell tower adjacent to the basilica was once a light house for ships.
St Mark's Square occupies the present area since the 12th century. In 1264, the square was paved oh herringbone pattern bricks. Enclosed on three sides by the arcades buildings of the Procurators, it was a place for feasts, ceremonies, tournaments and fairs.
This was built at the end of the 15th century close to the Basilica. On the top of the tower, two dark bronze figures, the Moors, strike the hour against a large bell. The clockwork is complex with a great gold and blue enamel clock face that indicates the hour, the phase of the moon and the motion of the sun.
An hour by train brings you to Stresa where ferries take you to the three islands still owned by the Borromeos, Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori. In the 15th century the Borromeos created a fiefdom. Lake Maggiore borders Switzerland on the north, Piedmont to the west and Lombardy to the east and south. During the 5 hours we were in Stresa took the ferry to each of. The islands and had lunch on Isola dei Pescatori. Maggiore's development as a holiday retreat for Europeans began in 1800 when Napoleon's Simplon highway from Geneva to Milan skirted it's shores.
A fashionable street in Milan with splendid Palaces and fashion shops. Casa Fantana-Silvestri, 10-14 Corso Veneziai is a private Renaissance building of the 1800's. Palazzo Castiglione, 47 Cordo Venezia, is the most significant example of Art Noveau architecture in Italy. There is no entry to either of these properties.
San Simpliciano - on the way to Corso Venezia, stopped at the Church of San Simpliciano. The church was founded by Sant'Ambrogio in the 4th Century. A neoclassical altar covers the wooden choir 1588. A Lunette over one of the doors of the church are of three martyrs who were sent by St Ambrose to Val di Non in northern Italy to spread Christianity. In 397 they were martyred.
Walked towards the Duomo to catch the Metro home. What a summer afternoon so added a few photos of the Duomo area. Behind it are lots of shops for ordinary incomes.
Milan had an extensive canal system which made this land locked city the 13th largest Port in Italy in the 1950's. The first canals were constructed on 1177 followed by the Pavia, Bereguardo, Martesana and Paderno canals. Lodovico il Moro improved the canal system in the 15th century with the help of Leonardo da Vinci who devised a series of locks to allow the water of the Adda River to flow into Milan's canal ring which made the city a crossroad between continental Europe and the Mediterranean. Milan was connected to the Adriatic sea via the Ticino and Po rivers. Through some 90 miles of canals Milan also traded with places on Lake Maggiore and Lake Como. Thanks to its 1,000 meter-long wharf in the heart of the city equipped with moorings for barges it became a busy and important port. Candoglia marble was taken to the Duomo of Milan in the 14th century on these canals. Today took a boat trip from a wharf on the naviglio grande to San Christoforo, a large church on the canal and to whaves where for centuries women did the hand washing for the people of Milan. Then a trip to the Darsena the 1000 metre long dock and finally to a lock before returning to t he Naviglio Grande Wharf.
Then we went down the 1000 Metre dock area called the Darsena. Barges are moored here now and are floating bars and night clubs. Along the banks now are many restaurants.
Finally arrived at one of the locks. The Conchetto.
A great Sunday afternoon with time for an ice cream and a look at many restaurants and bars.
Today was a chance to draw breath. On one of the hotels on the main street was a plaque in honour of the first man to climb the Matterhorn.
In Zermatt in the late afternoon there was music coming out of side streets. Here is an inanimate movie of a good sound.
Checked out of Jagerhof after breakfast at the mandatory 10am time. In Zermatt all transportation is electric. Each hotel has little vans to move guests around. It was only a 20 minute walk to the bonhof but with a heavy shoulder bag and suffering shortness of breath quite likely from the altitude as back near sea level that condition seems to have disappeared. Had a couple of hours to pass before catching what would turn out to be "ill fated" train from Zermatt to Brig for a connection to Milano.
Leaving town on a new and well appointed train - just 5 minutes out of Visp there was some "technical" problem and we sat for about 40 minutes. As we were on a single track this affected a number of other train services on that line. Eventually we limped into Visp and those of us going on to Brig were put on another train. Having allowed a couple of hours between trains the unexpected pause was not an issue. But many others missed connections to Berne and other destinations. Our conductor was glad to get on the train to Brig with us as most disgruntled were left behind in Visp for a laterr train to their various destinations. Amasingly, one did not have to be fluent in Swiss, German, Italian or French to understand some of the conversations going on there.
About a 20 minute ride from Brig in Switzerland to Iselle mostly in a long, long tunnel still in Switzerland, we then departed the Swiss train to buses for a 20 minute ride to Domodosolo in Italy as there were repairs being done to the track between Iselle and Domodosolo. I am sure I rode on this Italian train when I was in Italy in 1961. Compartments each sitting 6 with delapidated upholstery, no air conditioning - but at least windows could be lowered (most of them) but it rained hard for awhile and seats got wet but better wet than the heat. The driver went lickety split with the carriages swaying often violently from side to side to get us to Milan on time. A feat he did accomplish.
30 minutes on a cog train and you arrive at Gornergrat at 3089 M above sea level. The Matterhorn is 4478 - another mountain you can see on the 360 degree panorama is Dufoursptitze at 4634. Fortunately the weather was fine when we arrived. While there were treated to seeing a couple of St Bernards with brandy kegs under their chin. Also we're serenaded by 4 alpine horns.
11.25 train from Milan - first stop Stresa located on Lake Maggiore. Intend to visit that area next week. At Domodossola we had to get off the train and onto buses to Iselle (working on tracks) then onto a train for Brig. Fortunately sharing a compartment with a couple of Frenchmen who spoke good English who explained what was happening. From Iselle we are in Switzerland. Changed trains in Brig to a cog capable narrow gauge train to Zermatt. There were several stops along the way - St Niklaus was one. In Zermatt, changed some Euros to Swiss Francs and hopped taxi to the Jagerhof Hotel. Upgraded to an apartment. Tough that. The sun was in a bad place to get good photos of the Matterhorn but in case it is cloudy tomorrow here are a few and a few sights around Zermatt, a lovely, tidy and flower covered hamlet.
Milan's modern art gallery is housed in a splendid Neo-Classical villa built by the Austrian architect Leopold Pollack in 1790 for Count Ludovico Barbiamo di Belgioioso. It was lived in by Napoleon in 1802. The top attraction here is the dining room with a Parnassus by Appiani. The painting I liked best was "The Girl" by Francesco Hayez. It was too hot to take photos of the villa from the outside and again no photos inside.