You last visited Virtual Venice on 8-MAR-94 at 19:06:10.
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Virtual Venice was last updated on 8-MAR-94 at 16:04:23.
This update is number 211.
The personae available to you are:
By what name shall I call you (Q to quit)?
Welcome back, Richard!
The time in Virtual Venice is 11:01:57 on 9-MAR-94.
You are standing on the concourse of the Stazione Ferroviaria S. Lucia
in Venice (Venezia), Italy. The station is a hive of activity, with people
bustling hither and thither as they go about the business of buying tickets,
boarding trains, getting off trains, and avoiding hordes of students straining
under the weight of backpacks the size of space shuttle booster tanks. To the
north of where you stand is a police office, and to the south is a tourist
information centre. The platforms lie to the west, with the ticket booths to
the east. Southwest, a corridor leads to the Stazione Merci, and southeast is
the main pedestrian entrance/exit to the building. Overhead is a large
The board has two detailed sections: arrivals and departures.
*read arrivals board
A TEE (Trans Europe Express) from Bologna is due at 11:05.
A locale (slow, local train) from Treviso is due at 11:12.
A rapido (1st-class express) from Milan (Milano) is due at 11:20.
A rapido from Florence (Firenze) is due at 11:32.
A diretto (slow, distance train) from Genoa (Genova) is due at 11:45.
An express from Rome (Roma) is due at 11:57.
Pat has just arrived.
*look at Pat
Pat is male, in his twenties. His occupation seems to be TV researcher.
Fondamenta di S. Lucia.
You find yourself on a wide, paved area running from the Fond dei
Scalzi in the northeast to the frontage of the Stazione Merci in the
southwest. The path runs alongside the Canal Grande, with the Stazione
Ferroviaria S. Lucia to the northwest; there is a tourist information centre
attached to the station to the west. North is the Chiesa degli Scalzi, and
east, jutting out into the canal, is the "Ferrovia" vaporetto stop.
A vaporetto is a waterbus; it is larger than, but not as fast as, a motoscafo.
Both types of waterbus use the same stops: they ply the Canal Grande, and
shuttle passengers to and from the out-lying islands. They are operated by the
ACTV (Azienda del Corsorzio Transporti Veneziani), and are quite a bargain
considering the scenery their passengers get to see.
Fond dei Scalzi.
This is a narrow footpath running vaguely northeast-southwest
alongside the Canal Grande. Southeast, the Ponte Scalzi crosses the canal; on
the opposite bank you can see an imbarcadero (gondola station). South,
constructed on pontoons, is a water taxi station. The footpath continues to
the northeast and southwest, with a narrow, uninviting alleyway leading away
to the northwest. East is the Palazzo Calbo Grotto, and west the Chiesa degli
You see the Calle Priulli detta dei Cavalletti: a long, narrow, uninviting
Fondamenta di S. Lucia.
Northeast: Fond dei Scalzi.
Southwest: Stazione Merci.
Northwest: Stazione Ferroviaria S. Lucia.
West: Station tourist centre.
North: Chiesa degli Scalzi.
East: Ferrovia" vaporetto stop.
"Chiesa" means "church". There are many chiese in Venice, with the following
numbering among the most memorable: S. Maria Gloriosa dei Frari (I Frari); S.
Maria della Salute; S. Giorgio Maggiore; Madonna dell'Orto; S. Maria dei
Miracoli; S. Sebastiano; S. Nicolo dei Mendicoli; SS. Giovanni e Paolo (S.
Zanipolo). The most important Venetian church is the Basilica di S. Marco,
but this is not normally referred to as a chiesa as it's a cathedral.
"S." is the abbreviation used for "San" or "Santa", ie. "Saint" in
English. "SS." means "Santi", ie. "Saints".
You realise just in time that the roads in Venice are made of water, and
that walking into the Canal Grande would be somewhat inadvisable.
"Ferrovia" vaporetto stop.
It dawns upon you from the swaying of the boards beneath your feet
that this vaporetto stop is actually little more than a creaky raft with old
tyres tied onto it to dissuade it from damaging the canalside. An algae-strewn
perspex covering to the west serves the dual purpose of connecting the
vaporetto stop to civilisation (the Fondamenta di S. Lucia) and of preventing
it from floating off down the Canal Grande and out into the open sea. There is
a timetable attached to a post here.
The timetable gives details for services 1, 2, 4 and 5.
A helpful, English-speaking local notices you are having difficulty.
The local asks "May I be of assistance?"
*"I want to get to the Campanile
The local asks "Are you in a hurry?"
The local says "You can either walk all the way or take a vaporetto some of
The local says "From here, take motoscafo service 2 to the "S. Marco
Vallaressa" vaporetto stop. The journey should take no more than 20 minutes.
Go north from there to the Calle Vallaressa, then turn east along the
Salizzada S. Moise. Cross the Calle dell'Ascension, and pass through an arcade
and the Ala Napoleonica to the Piazza S. Marco. The campanile is in the Piazza
S. Marco. The walk will take around 5 minutes."
The local says "You're welcome."
The local disappears into the crowd.
*wait for service 2
Presently, motoscafo service 2 arrives.
You don't have a ticket!
You can buy a ticket from the driver of a vaporetto or motoscafo; the ticket
costs L.500 and is valid for one journey only. Booklets of tickets can be
purchased from shops such as newsagents and post offices, or from tourist
The driver takes L.500 and gives you a ticket.
You find yourself a seat on motoscafo service 2.
Motoscafo service 2 leaves the "Ferrovia" vaporetto stop and heads southwest.
You are seated on motoscafo service 2 as it travels southwest down the Canal
Grande towards the "Piazzale Roma" vaporetto stop. Through the murky windows
you can see the Stazione Ferroviaria S. Lucia to the northwest, and the
Palazzo Diedo to the southeast.
Presently, motoscafo service 2 arrives at the "Piazzale Roma" vaporetto stop.
Presently, motoscafo service 2 leaves the "Piazzale Roma" vaporetto stop and
heads east along the Canal Grande.
Presently, motoscafo service 2 passes under a bridge and enters the Rio
Nuovo, heading south.
You are seated on motoscafo service 2 as it travels south down the Rio Nuovo.
Through the murky windows you can see the Giardino Papadopoli to the east, and
the Piazzale Roma to the west.
*wait until next stop
Presently, motoscafo service 2 passes the Rio dei Tre Ponti and turns east
along the Rio Nuovo. It passes the Rio di S. Margherita and enters the Rio
Foscari, heading east. It enters the Canal Grande, heading south towards the
"S. Samuele" vaporetto stop. It arrives at the "S. Samuele" vaporetto stop.
You are seated on motoscafo service 2 as it waits at the "S. Samuele"
vaporetto stop. Through the murky windows you can see the Campo San Samuele to
the east, and the Ca'Rezzonico and Rio di S. Barnaba to the west.
*wait until San Marco stop
Presently, motoscafo service 2 leaves the "S. Samuele" vaporetto stop and
heads south along the Canal Grande towards the "Accademia" vaporetto stop. It
arrives at the "Accademia" vaporetto stop. It leaves the "Accademia" vaporetto
stop and heads under the Ponte dell'Accademia east along the Canal Grande
towards the "S. Maria del Giglio" vaporetto stop. It arrives at the "S. Maria
del Giglio" vaporetto stop. It leaves the "S. Maria del Giglio" vaporetto stop
and heads east along the Canal Grande towards the "S. Marco Vallaressa"
vaporetto stop. It arrives at the "S. Marco Vallaressa" vaporetto stop.
*get off boat
You disembark from motoscafo service 2.
S. Marco Vallaressa" vaporetto stop.
You are standing rather unsteadily on a rickety platform held in
position by a mass of blackened, ancient, wooden poles. A precarious walkway
leads north to the Calle Vallaressa and the comparative safety of dry land.
There is a timetable attached to an elegant, triform lamp-post here.
Motoscafo service 2 is waiting on the Canal Grande.
The timetable is protected behind scratched, dull, visitor-proof glass.
It appears that your superhuman powers have momentarily deserted you.
This is a pleasant, scenic little path running from the busy
Salizzada S. Moise in the north to the "S. Marco Vallaressa" vaporetto stop
in the south. There are openings to the southeast and southwest leading
to walks alongside the Canal Grande. To the west is the Ridotto.
Yes, Ridotto. Go inside if you want to know what it is.
Salizzada S. Moise.
This is a very crowded thoroughfare linking the Campo S. Moise to
the west with the Calle dell'Ascension to the east. Small shops selling
intricate pieces of glass at extortionate prices abound. Southeast is the
Calle Vallaressa, and northeast the Frezzeria; south is the Calle del
Ridotto. The whole southwestern section of the street is taken up by the
side walls of the Chiesa di S. Moise.
This is a narrow street (aren't they all?) running alongside the
buildings that comprise the western side of the Piazza S. Marco; two arcades,
to the east and southeast, provide access to the piazza. People are streaming
into the street from the Salizzada S. Moise to the southwest and the Bocca di
Piazza to the northwest. At its northern end, the street butts onto the Calle
S. Selvadego. West is a post office.
You are struggling through a throng of people as they pass between
the Piazza S. Marco to the east and the Calle dell'Ascension to the west.
There is a well-patronised tourist information office to the south. The
buildings under which this arcade passes are tall and time-worn, but with a
beauty and grace that age has enhanced, rather than diminished. Imperial
stairs to the north lead up into the Museo Correr.
This is a covered walkway running north/south along the inside edge of
the Piazza S. Marco. East, it opens up through marble pillars onto the piazza
itself. Southwest and west are arcades which link through to the Calle
dell'Ascension; there are also lots of interesting little shops there selling
everything from expensive tourist junk to very expensive tourist junk. At the
north end, the cloisterly effect is preserved as the path angles northeast to
become the Procuratie Vecchie; at the south end, it turns east to become the
Western side of Piazza S. Marco.
You are standing at the western side of the breathtakingly beautiful
Piazza S. Marco. Although awash with people and pigeons, the ornate grandeur
of the architecture cannot fail but to impress you. The piazza is trapezoidal
in shape, with the Ala Napoleonica to the west, Procuratie Nuove to the
south, and Procuratie Vecchie running diagonally away to the north. The
eastern edge of the piazza is entirely taken up by the dazzlingly exotic
facade of the Basilica S. Marco - one of the most incredible buildings the
world has ever seen (apparently).
An unsavoury-looking street hawker approaches you.
The street hawker scowls at you, then approaches someone more gullible
Centre of Piazza S. Marco.
This is the central portion of the Piazza S. Marco, where tourists
negotiate the spaces between the vast arrays of unoccupied chairs laid out
between competing coffee houses on the northern and southern fringes of the
square. West, the piazza narrows, and your eyes are thus drawn east to the
glorious beauty of the Basilica S. Marco. The cathedral's imposing bell tower
(the Campanile) stands some way in front of it, over to the right.
The two most famous coffee houses in Venice are Quadri's and Florian's in the
Piazza S. Marco. Traditionally, Venetians patronise only Florian's, as in the
days when Venice was under Austrian control Quadri's used to serve the enemy.
In reality, no Venetian would be insane enough to drink at either, since
although the coffee is merely hideously expensive, when the establishment's
resident orchestra strikes up the price increases to near-mortgage levels.
Naturally, the orchestra begins to play the instant anyone is foolish enough
to attract the attention of a waiter.
Your feet are getting wet.
The ground is unevenly paved with trachyte (volcanic rock) strips some 250
years old, sloping slightly downwards towards the Basilica S. Marco. There
are large drains dotted around, although water appears to be rising up through
them rather than adhering to the elsewhere-customary practice of running away.
Eastern side of Pizza S. Marco.
You are standing in several inches of water at the eastern side of the
Piazza S. Marco. West, the piazza continues, and south it opens onto a smaller
area, the Piazzetta, beyond which you can see the Bacino di S. Marco. The
scene is dominated by the mysterious oriental beauty of the Basilica S. Marco
to the east, and its accompanying campanile towering in the southwest. North
is the Torre dell'Orologio, and northeast another small square, the Piazzetta
dei Leoncini. In the middle of this part of the piazza, just in front of the
basilica, stand three tall poles with flags dangling from them.
The Basilica S. Marco is built in a bizarre conglomoration of styles,
featuring lots of pillars that don't match one another. A balcony running
along the top is studded with tourists looking out wondering where all the
water is coming from; above them are some splendid, semi-circular mosaics, and
four copper horses with gold leaf peeling off them.
The majestic Campanile di S. Marco tapers as it rises, and is topped
with a green elongated pyramid bearing a golden figure the subject of which
you can't quite make out from here. This green bit appears to be the third
roof in the history of the campanile, with at least two lower sections looking
as though they were originally meant to form the top of the building. Tourists
are looking out through arched openings, wondering where all the water is
coming from below.
The three flagpoles are reddish-brown. The middle one has the Italian
flag draped limply against it, and the other two carry forlorn Venetian flags
that would perhaps look more impressive if there was more than still air to
carry them. All three flagpoles have golden Venetian lions at the very top.
The Torre dell'Orologio has a large, zodiacal dial, above which is a
statue sitting between the time displayed (digitally!) in roman and arabic
numerals. Above this is a large statue of a Venetian lion against a starry
background, and at the very top stand a pair of large, green statues of Moors
holding large, green mallets with which they intend to hit a large, green
bell. Tourists alongside them are stroking the statues' exposed and impressive
examples of manhood, while looking down into the piazza wondering where all
the water there is coming from.
Pigeons are sitting on every conceivable landing place.
Ground floor of Campanile S. Marco.
The usually enormous queue having dispersed because of the water,
you find yourself standing adjacent to a lift and a ticket office at the
base of the imposing Camanile S. Marco.
You don't have a ticket!
The surly ticket-seller takes L.4,000 and gives you a ticket.
*L.4000 for a ticket?
You can buy a ticket from the ticket office; the ticket costs an exhorbitant
L.4,000, but is probably worth it for the view you get from the top.
Presently, the lift arrives and disgorges those tourists who feel they have
had their L.4,000 worth of view. You enter the lift, and a minute later are
deposited at the top of the Campanile.
Top floor of Campanile S. Marco.
A justly-celebrated view greets you eyes! Out to the south beckons the
small island of S. Giorgio Maggiore, beyond which lie the lidi which shelter
Venice from the Adriatic - itself just visible in the hazy sunshine. East and
northeast are the lagoon islands, and from the north, curving round to the
west, is the mainland. On the far, far horizon you can make out the
snow-capped peaks of the Alps.
Venice itself stretches compactly before you, although from here the
canals are hard to pick out. You can easily see the haphazardly arranged domes
of the Basilica S. Marco, which contrast pleasingly with the delicate, pink
and white brickwork of the adjacent Palazzo Ducale. People at the top of the
Torre dell'Orologio look up at you with envy, wishing that they had paid the
extra and come up here for their view instead. Down below, tourists scurry
around the magnificent Piazza S. Marco and the Piazzetta. You wonder where all
the water there is coming from.
Pat is here.
Pat says "Hello Richard. Nice view...".
*"how did you get here so quickly?"
Pat says "I just typed GO TO CAMPANILE.".
OK, Richard blushes.
Pat asks "What did you do, take a vaporetta?"
OK, Richard nods.
OK, Richard sighs.
Pat says "Listen, I'm a TV researcher for a major networked breakfast
Pat says "and I'm looking for people willing to come onto the programme and
Pat says "their experiences in virtually real worlds."
*"Gosh, is that the time? Sorry, I must dash.
Your Virtual Venice session lasted 13 real minutes, 28 virtual minutes.