Murano Window, Venice (6)
|# Photos:||8 [View]|
|by Fred NEF (Freddie)
|Venice is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The city buildings and decorations, from Byzantine to Renaissance styles, show great artistic achievement. The works of the Venetian school are represented throughout Venetian palaces, public buildings, and churches. |
The centre and most frequented part of the city is St Mark's Square. At the eastern end are St Mark's Cathedral and the Doges’ Palace (Palazzo Ducale), the two most important and imposing structures in Venice. The cathedral—begun about 828, restored after a fire in 976, and rebuilt between 1047 and about 1071—is an outstanding example of Byzantine architecture. The palace—begun about 814, destroyed four times by fire, and each time rebuilt on a more magnificent scale—is a remarkable building in Italian Gothic with some early Renaissance elements. The northern side of the piazza is occupied by the Procuratie Vecchie (1496) and the southern side by the Procuratie Nuove (1584), both in Italian Renaissance style. During the time of the Venetian republic these buildings were the residences of the nine procurators, or magistrates, from among whom the doge, or chief magistrate, was usually selected.
Along the two palaces and their extension, the Atrio or Fabbrica Nuova (1810), extend arcades with cafés and shops. Near the Doges’ Palace stand two famous granite columns erected in 1180, one bearing the winged lion of St Mark and the other St Theodore of Studium on a crocodile. The most conspicuous feature of the city is the campanile, or bell tower, of St Mark, which is almost 99 m (325 ft) high; it was built between 874 and 1150 and rebuilt after it collapsed in 1902.
At the back of the Doges’ Palace is the famous Bridge of Sighs, which connects the palace with public prisons and was the route by which prisoners were taken to and from the judgment hall. The most famous of the three bridges spanning the Grand Canal is the Rialto (1588), lined with a double row of shops. The Grand Canal, the principal traffic artery of Venice, is lined with old palaces of the Venetian aristocracy, among which are many structures of great historical and architectural value.
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