Venice day 2 – Masks, Palaces and Glass

In a plaza learning about wells

Our day started off with a walk to the mask making shop and we learned about wells in Venice – most squares or plazas have wells to collect rain water, as well as places where flood waters can come through so they don’t destabilize the supports under the islands. At the mask shop, we learned about different techniques for painting masks and had the opportunity to paint our own masks. It was very fun watching the kids play around with the paints and try different approaches to their masks.

The mask shop
Terri decided to try a sun and moon mask – not bad for a non-artist
We wore aprons to avoid getting paint on our clothes
Everyone was able to choose a mask that they liked, there were lots of different styles.
There were lots of colors to choose from

The next set of pictures is from the Doges Palace, a very opulent place where the leaders of Venice lived until the city/state was conquered by Napoleon. There were many beautiful rooms, showing off the wealth of Venice and the many artists who provided their talents to decorate the palace. We also saw the place where prisoners were kept, and the bridge of sighs that led to the prison cells. We also visited St. Mark’s cathedral, but we weren’t allowed to take pictures. It is an amazing space, filled with mosaics that took 400 years to complete.


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After our visit to the Palace and the Cathedral we were able to ride on gondolas.
A beautiful sunset ended our day.

A journey to Italy – with 8th graders!

My son’s 8th grade class at St. Francis School is continuing a tradition of a spring break trip to Italy, and luckily my son, Andrew, didn’t mind that I tagged along. We’ll be traveling across Italy for the next week, including stops in Venice, Florence, Assisi and Rome.

We took a bus from Austin to Houston, then traveled to Venice via Paris.  There are 30 kids on the trip, 4 teacher chaperones and 5 parents.  It is a great group to travel with, the kids are very well behaved and so far they have done a good job of listening and following instructions. Many of the kids slept on the plane, but it was still a very tiring and long first day in Italy.

On the bus to Houston
Sorting out our bags at the Venice Airport
Sorting out our bags at the Venice Airport
Waiting to board the Vaporetto (water bus) -there are no cars in Venice!
Heading to our hotel on the water bus.
View of the Piazza San Marco on the water bus

We were lucky that we had nice weather today, it was warm in the sun and I’m sure that will help with the jet lag. We arrived at our hotel around 1:00 and took some time to settle in a bit before going to get some lunch and gelato. We walked to Piazza San Marco, stopping to learn some facts about Venice along the way, including the way that the city was built on marshes by putting long pine trunks into the sandy ground and topping them with marble and bricks until they got above the water level. We spent about an hour checking out the Plaza, then walked over to the Rialto Bridge, the oldest bridge in Venice, dating back to the 1500s.

In the Piazza San Marco
Hanging out in Piazza San Marco

More pictures to come!