This trip was to be a different experience for us. We decided to take a Tauck Small Ship Cruise Tour beginning in Venice and visiting the Dalmatian Coast. Usually we do our own thing and are not involved with organized tours. That’s not to say we don’t take tours but, when we do, we decide “on the fly” or we arrange for a private guide in advance. This was to be our first structured tour experience. The ship we would be sailing on is the Le Lyrial, a vessel in the French Ponant Line.
Our day began with a walking tour of the Doge’s Palace, the official residence of the 120 doges that ruled Venice from 697 to 1797. It is a magnificent structure with wonderful art throughout. Here are a couple of photos of the exterior, but not the usual suspects.
The interior of the palace is populated with public meeting rooms where the business of Venice was conducted. The artwork on the walls, ceilings and even the doors is wonderful.
Here are some additional photos of the artwork.
We were treated to a visit to the prison, which we reached by crossing the “Bridge of Sighs,” so named because as prisoners crossed over from the palace to the prison they sighed as they glimpsed one last view of Venice.
Here is the view as we crossed the bridge.
The prison was dark and foreboding.
From the Doge’s Palace we made our way to the Basilica San Marco. Unfortunately, photos inside the Basilica are not permitted. The following are of the exterior mosaics and the outside hall.
Following our visit to the basilica, we were treated to a gondola ride and, to our surprise, a serenade.
The vocalist was terrific and so was his accompanist. As we glided under bridges people stopped in envy to listen, gawk and take photos.
Here are a number of shots I took as we floated through the canals of Venice. What a wonderful experience.
And, as our gondola ride ended so did our morning.