My Trip Abroad 1909: John Radford Abbot’s Diary: August 20 – 21

December 22nd, 2015 by Alexia Hagler
478px-Doge_Palace,_Venice,_Interior

View of interior of Doge’s Palace (Palace of Doges in transcription), c. 1900

Friday, August 20th

Venice, Milan,

After breakfast at the hotel we started right out for the Palace of the Doges(?), and went all through it. Wonderful place and full of fine pictures by the great Italian masters. Saw all the old council halls of the state, etc. We then visited the dungeons and prisons. Awful little cells cut in the solid rock. Saw the torture chamber and the bridge of Sighs(?). Could not cross the latter. After the Palace we went to the Art Gallery and saw some of the best works by the great masters, Tintaretto(?) Titian(?) and others. The best was the “Assumption” by Titian(?). Went back to the post office to leave our address and then hustled for lunch at the Cavaletto. Very good. After lunch we went back to the hotel, got our bags and things, and took the canal boat for the station. It was awful slow, and we just got the train after agreed(?) sprint. Left Venice at two. Very pretty and comfortable ride to Milan, although our companions weren’t of the best. Got to Milan at 7:15, had a fine supper in the station, and caught the 8 o’clock train for Stresa, arriving at 10:45. Hotel P Itali(?) & Pension Suiss(?)

Exterior view of Doge's Palace

Exterior view of Doge’s Palace

Saturday, August 21st

Stresa

Late breakfast. Afterwards we took a walk along the edge of the lake on the road. Went through the ground of some Italian nobleman’s villa. Beautiful trees and flowers. Further along the road we found some black berry bushes and we spent some time there. We got back to the hotel in time for lunch of steak and potatoes. Thayer and Dale had to change rooms. Then we hired a row boat aand rowed over to Isola Bella. We were taken through the palace and through the gardens. We saw all kinds of trees there banana, orange, lemon, cork, bread-fruit, bamboo, etc. Then we rowed ^round Isola Madre and stopped in the middle of the lake and had a swim. It was corking. Then we rowed back to Stresa and got supper. Beef steak, potatoes, etc. In the evening the others [word crossed out and unreadable] took a walk and I stayed and wrote letters. It had begun to rain at suppertime and kept up all night.


When Doge Angelo Partecipazio moved the seat of government from Malamocco to modern-day Rialto in 810, work began on a ducal palace. However, this palace was destroyed in a 10th century fire; reconstruction began under Doge Sebastiano Ziani in the 12th century. Traces of this work can still be seen on the ground floor of the current palace. In 1424, Doge Francesco Foscari began work to extend the palace reconstruction to rooms that would serve as law-courts, as well as many rooms on the first floor, including an internal courtyard. A fire broke out in 1483, completely destroying the Doge’s Apartments, so reconstruction began immediately, but included raising an entirely new structure as well. Another fire broke out in 1547, but luckily caused minor damage to the structure as a whole; refurbishment was in process when a third fire destroyed two very important rooms, the Scrutinio Room and the Great Council Chamber, along with many paintings by famous artists. The palace served both as a residence for the Doge, and for all political institutions for the Republic of Venice until 1797. Since then Venice was occupied by the French and Austrians until 1866 when it finally became part of Italy. When the Italian government began to notice clear signs of decay at the end of the 19th century, all public offices were moved elsewhere, except the State Office for the Protection of Historical Monuments. In 1996, Doge’s Palace was added to the Venetian museum network.

 

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