Even though I vowed that Venice would be all about pleasure, I did have one major sightseeing event planned. Some time ago I signed up for the “Secret Itineraries” tour of the Doge’s Palace. It seems that, while audiences and public events were happening in halls like this
Inside the walls of the palace is a maze of small rooms that housed secret archives, the offices of the council of 10 and cells for wealthy/political prisoners. It was from this part of the palace that Cassanova famously escaped. This tour was only opened to the public two years ago, and they only take 20 at a time, three times a day. Here are some of the cool/terrifying things we saw:
After the behind- the-scenes look, I cruised around the palace in general. “Opulent” is the adjective I’m gonna go with.
After a quick but it was off to the Dorsoduro neighborhood where my only goal apart from exploring was to find Commedia Dell’Arte masks. This was a form of theatre popular from the Renaissance forward. Every troupe improvised lines around general plot constructs which involved the same set of stock characters. An actor would often play one character for most of their career.
I decided to treat myself for dinner and made a reservation at Oliva Nera. This restaurant is owned by a lady named Isabella and run by her family. My parents had stayed in a flat she owns when they were in Venice. As it turns out, their flat was just up the street from mine, and the restaurant was barely 50 yards away. And what a dinner it was. From start to limoncello, I’ve rarely had such a good meal.
And because I decided Venice would be about pleasure, I went for a post-dinner ride down the Grand Canal on the vaporetto. I was not disappointed.