In cities around the US and Europe there are special deals for Pub Crawls. Patrons pay a fee and then get deals at a series of bars. It helps promote craft brewerys that every town says is their specialty. Yes towns, every town says they are known for their craft beer industry. Every town. I don’t really thing that patrons and tourists care – it’s fun. While in Venice we are participating in a more wholesome and kid friendly event – a Church Crawl. A majority of churches are free to enter and gawk at their splendor. Venice was no exception, for a time. Tourism has greatly increased in the city and many churches house works of art from big name Italian guys. And they have some big name relics. The churches all came together and decided to start charging for entry – about $3 a head (children are free). OR you can get a Chorus pass – for the low price of 10Euros a head you can visit 16 churches. For a family, if the parents pay, all the children are free. We were sold. We are not doing well on making the most of our money – although we did 4 churches today – 2 were already free! We still have 3 more days to go. Our first church, Santa Maria dei Miracoli, was built specifically to house a painting of the Virgin Mary that is considered miraculous. No information on why it is a miracle, it looks like a painting. The next church, Santa Maria Formosa, had a full skeleton (not bedazzled) and a Last supper painting by Bassano which I really liked. In fact I liked a lot of his painting we saw in the Doge Palace. The literature states that Formosa means beautiful and buxom, which is a respectful way to describe the mother of Lord Jesus.
Church #3 was the Venetian big one, St. Marks. All done in gilded mosaic tiles made from pirate booty. The Mark in question is author of the Gospel of St. Mark. The back story was not fully explained but the ‘relics’ of St. Mark were appropriated by some people and spirited away to Venice. They were lost for awhile and then miraculously found in a hollow column. Are these stories made up for the public?
Church #4 was St. Zacharria – they claim to have the full skeleton of this guy, the father of John the Baptist. They painted every wall with art – not just big paintings hung – the entire wall is the big canvas. No Bassanos, but they have a Bellini, whom I’ve never heard of but is famous in art circles. We are satisfying our secular side with the Musem Pass – 11 musems just waiting for us to visit. We have completed ONE the DOge Palace. Huge rooms with art hanging everywhere – or just painted on the walls and ceilings which are ridiculously decorated. They really frown on picture taking – Brody the informer will tell you that mom took a couple of clandestine photos and was scolded once by a docent. After a big day Brent made a fabulous meal of fish, scallops and shrimp which were all purchased at the fish market this morning.