Our first full day in Venice – and we are secure in our very own room.
Spirits are high as we set out to explore the neighborhood. The baroque St. Maria del Giglio (Saint Mary of the Lilly) is a few steps away. Finished in 1681, its amazing facade lacks a single Christian image – it’s a marble monument to the ego of its patron, Admiral Antonio Barbaro, with relief maps of the places he served, sculptures of his brothers, his own sculpture in the center, and crowning it all, the Barbaro family coat of arms. However, inside is a the only Reubens painting in Venice – Madonna and Child with young St. John – in its own special chapel.
It is Mark’s birthday and we have reservations at the Ostaria di San Marino. We don’t have our geographic bearings yet, but set out bravely with a map. This place is not on a main drag. A few dead ends, wrong turns and a number of queries later, we come out into Campo San Marino. Magic. We have left the crowds behind and this beautiful square is ours to share only with other diners and a few local residents out to walk their dogs.
After our birthday revels, we’re not up to negotiating our way home in the dark. Better to take the vaporetto and enjoy Venice by night.
Here’s a sample of window-shopping in Venice: