Now to catch up on what I have not yet posted...
One of the highlights of my visit to Venice was my tour of the Clock Tower or Torre dell'Orologio. In order to take this tour, you must make a reservation in advance. Three English tours are offered each day. The cost is 12 euros. There are a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 12 people per visit. I had some difficulty with my credit card making my reservation and was fortunate to have Katia to help me with this.
Sunday, June 10th
My tour was not scheduled until Wednesday. I was pretty excited about this tour and headed to see the clock tower early Sunday morning, the day after I arrived in Venice to take a few pictures. I was lucky to get a few shots before the crowds arrived. Here is one of my favorite pictures:
Wednesday, June 13th
Wednesday morning finally arrived, the day of my Clock Tower tour!! I took a traghetto over to the the Rialto Market area to search out a bar that I read about for some coffee. I was not able to fine it but instead found a great little bar on the corner of Ramo de la Donzela. The only sign I could find was "Wine Bar", which was written on one of those little slates along with a list of drinks and things to eat outside the bar. After having a great coffee and a delicious pastry, I spent a little bit of time at the Rialto Market. I love looking at all the interesting fish and the delicious produce.
I then headed over to the Museo Correr. I arrived about 20 minutes before my tour. I gave my email reservation number to the man at the ticket office and was told that my ticket for the tour would also allow me to visit the Museo Correr. He suggested that I visit for a while and return just before 10am. My plan was to visit this museum in more depth later in the day but since I had a little time before my tour was to start, I entered the museum and spent a little time in a few of the rooms. I will talk more about the museum in a later post as I did return and spend quite a bit of time enjoying the many rooms and items on display.
At 9:55, I returned to the museum entrance to wait for my tour. In the lobby was one man sitting on a chair. I wondered if he was also taking the tour. I then overheard a woman ask the ticket man something about who was signed up. He pointed in my direction. The woman then asked if she could bring her friend with her on the tour and then both headed back into the museum together. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to follow them or not. I waited and about 5 minutes later they returned. The woman, who turned out to be the tour guide, asked me if it was ok if her friend tagged along. I was surprised to find out that I was the only one signed up for the 10:00 tour! I told her that I was happy to have her friend join us. The told me that her friend only spoke Italian and so she would give the tour in both languages. I was fine with this arrangement as I am always interested in learning more Italian.
We headed over to the Clock Tower. I was getting pretty excited to finally get to go inside. When we reached the door, a man let us in. The stairway was very narrow. We climbed up to the first level where you are able to see how the clock works.
The woman explained the history of the Clock Tower, how the various mechanisms of the clock worked, and told us to watch carefully as the number changed after 5 minutes passed. She even had me take a video. When watching the video, if you blink, you will miss the change, but I still thought it was pretty cool. Someday, I will figure out how to add video to this blog and add the quick clip that I took.
We then went into another room next door where the Angel and 3 Kings are housed. She told us how the Angel and the 3 Kings are placed on the wheel and come out as a procession to pass the Virgin Mary hourly only twice a year, on Ascension Day and on Epiphany. How I would love to see this happen.
Next, went to the first terrace to learn more history of the clock tower and for a view of Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square).
My first view up close of one of the two Mori (or Moors):
Views from the first terrace of Piazza San Marco:
At last, we headed to the top. This entailed climbing a spiraling staircase.
We were given time to take pictures of the Mori, which by the way are called this only because they have blackened over time (although they are quite green up close). It was a little challenging taking pictures of the 2 Mori and the bell as we were so close to them, the sun was right behind them, and there was not much space at the top to move around.
Here are some views of Venice from the top:
One of the other interesting things we learned is that there used to be a statue of Doge Agostino Barbarigo placed next to the lion, but it was destroyed at the end of the Venetian Republic.
The tour lasted about 45 minutes. The climb itself was one of the easiest clock towers I have climbed but the excitement of being inside, seeing the clock mechanisms, learning about the history, and getting to the top and seeing the Mori was so exciting that I would rank this climb as one of the tops on my list of towers I have climbed. It was definitely worth the price. Later in the day, I saw a large group of people up on the terrace taking the tour. How fortunate I was to have pretty much a private tour!