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Day 9: Doge's Palace and more...

November 20
Today we woke up to the aqua alta sirens. I know the flooding is not a good thing for Venice, but I have to admit I was a little excited to experience it.
After breakfast we headed toward the Doge’s Palace for the Secret Itinerary Tour. There was plenty of water on St. Mark’s Square and we had to walk on the flood planks in many places including in front of St. Mark’s Basilica. It was a fun adventure, although I was sad to see how much water actually gets into the churches. I did enjoy watching the local people going about their business in rubber boots. Many Venetians even wear designer rubber boots…how cool is that?

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The Secret Itinerary Tour began at 11:35am and lasted for about two hours. We had a guide that was very passionate about her job, which made it an amazing tour! She gave us so much information about how the political system worked… about the secrets…torture… a murdered doge. There also was a lot of information on Casanova. We went to his cell…Bridge of Sighs…it was great! Up to this point he had only been a person I had heard about through books and movies…now he was real!
The cells in the prison were dark and cold, not a good place to be. We saw lots and lots of armor and weapons. There were so many painful ways to be killed.

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I was intrigued by the snitch boxes. In the late sixteenth century they were placed around the palace. All you had to do to accuse someone of a crime was to write it in a letter and drop it in the mouth of a snitch box(above). They were not anonymous, but were confidential. If you were convicted of a serious crime your name was etched in stone for everyone to see and your house was burned…now the internet does that for us…fascinating stuff!
After the tour we did a little shopping as we wandered around the streets. I bought 3 more bars of soap and three Murano glass necklaces. I’m starting to wonder how we’ll get everything home.
We dropped our treasures back at our room, grabbed a coke and a big slice of pizza, and took a water taxi from the Accademia stop all the way around Venice. We took the opportunity to sit outside at the back of the taxi so we could see the beautiful view of Venice from the water.

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It’s such a beautiful place. I understand why people want to visit and stay for months. I love Venice!

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