...and so the beleaguered townsfolk moved into and onto the lagoon, in the process appropriating hundreds of thousands—ahem, millions—of trees for pilings, to augment the many swampy islands already there. Thus it was, while those waves of cruel marauders forced them into that creative extremity simply for the sake of continuing as a people, that in the process of pursuing this adopted water-built community Venetians became traders (unashamedly wealthy) and of course hyperactive ship builders (immensely powerful). Throughout their city today evidences remain of that effervescent renaissance era, still visible despite the inevitable upwelling of cheesy tourist shops.
Not above some mischief of their own making, medieval Venetians appropriated these four magnificent bronze horses from Constantinople's Hippodrome in 1204, and placed them conspicuously above the entrance of St Mark's Cathedral—an impressive feat of thievery even by contemporary standards.
Three days in Venice, and three in Ravenna
On the Veneto mainland in the sixth century, Hun and Goth attacks were unrelenting...
Ornamentations of public buildings in the city reveal that era's normal embellishments of finery, meant to demonstrate power. Here is the face of the Doge's Palace of 1340, surely intended to evoke images of some grandee's home in the then-exploited Eastern Roman Empire.
Click to see our Venice water-bus-stop
Nearby the little island of Murano produces the most amazing blown glass artwork, while Burano, a neighboring small island, tats endless lace items for tourists. Both craft communities are easily accessible by water taxi.
Bus route from Venice to Ravenna.—a little over three hours of non-freeway roads.
90 miles down the Adriatic coast-line from Venice is Ravenna, whose primary claim to history book eminence is that briefly it was the capital city of the entire Roman empire. For about 75 years (right before classical Latin society and Roman government collapsed), this area of marshes and insects was effectively the seat of late-imperial government. During its identity as the place where influential movers and shakers of both secular and ecclesiastical tried to hang onto vestiges of Roman civilization, its Byzantine aesthetic connection resulted in some remarkable mosaic art.
Which, mirabile dictu,are still with us—housed largely in oddly shaped church buildings that show greater affinity to the architecture of Constantinople than to ancient Rome.
Click to enlarge our Ravenna bedroom
A walk and a taxi ride eastward along the wide, stubby canal, to our