After a long bus ride, we arrived in Venice shortly after 2:00 pm on Wednesday. Though I had been there before, I was still caught off guard by the beauty of the city. We quickly checked in to our hotel, the Principe, and made our way to St. Mark's Square.
Our first tour was of the Doge's Palace. Construction on this building began in 1172 and it has been remodelled numerous times over the centuries in the Venetian Gothic style. The palace was not only the residence of the Doge, but the place of government where senate and council members would meet. The palace opened as a museum in the 1920s for the public to view the magnificent architecture, art work, decorated ceilings, and armoury.
We gathered later in the evening at the hotel for dinner, followed by a Mystery Tour of Venice. On the tour, we led the students off the beaten path, and through the Cannaregio neighbourhood to learn about some of the myths and legends of Venice.
As predicted, it flooded on Thursday! The high tide can reach the streets as often as 30 to 40 times in the winter. I have to hand it to your kids - I didn't hear one complaint. After gearing up with plastic rain boots, we then boarded water taxis and headed to the island of Murano for a glass blowing demonstration.
The water receded in the afternoon just in time for "Tours by Choice." Students chose from a tour inside San Mark's Basilica, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, or the Museum of Natural History. My group visited the museum where we were impressed by the size of the collection as well as by the modern renovations.
High waters moved back into the city the following morning. There was free time to explore the city further before leaving for Verona.
Our first stop in Verona was the Arena. This amphitheatre was built in 30 CE, predating the Colosseum in Rome. It is probably one of the best preserved Roman structures in the world.
Verona is also known for the setting of Romeo and Juliet, so we stopped by the "House of Capulet" to see Juliet's famous balcony.
There was time for a quick bite of lunch and exploration before jumping back on the bus and returning to Lanciano.
It was truly an unforgettable trip.