Tag Archives: venetian mask

Comedy Mask Tower

On August 27, 2012, Ivan and I got breakfast at the buffet.  Lil Dave decided to find some monkey friends on the cruise ship instead of going into Venice with us.

We got the vaporetto (water bus) right to St. Mark’s Square which was a company had running right from the cruise port which was very convenient.

We did the St. Mark’s Clock Tower tour that Ivan booked. 


It was really cool!!  It was only us and a Japanese couple and they looked and sounded like they couldn’t understand a single word of English, so in essence it was just us on the tour!  We love small tours since it’s private and feels very intimate.  The tour guide Elena was very nice.  She explained the parts of the clock.  The wing lion is above the church and the next to the lion was the Doge.  The Doge was the duke of Venice for over a thousand years.  The Venetians didn’t want to be part of Italy…  The Doge was removed though by Napoleon when Venice was taken over by the French.   At the top of the tower there’s a terrace with two Moors who ring the bell. 

There are beautiful views of St. Mark’s Square from the clock. 


They have a procession twice a year with the 4 statues that a man does – he’s supposed to check on the clock once a week as well. 


In the old days, the doge got the engineer to run the clock and got asked to live in the clock to run it.  The engineer asked if he could bring his family – so for payment, he got a big apartment inside a clock tower.  The clock was run from family to family for over 500 years, but then the last guy didn’t want to do it, even though his dad really enjoyed it. 


So, it was bought by a company and now it’s mostly digital.  It was done manually to wind the clock and the bells which took 5 minutes every hour.  The digital clock was created in 1858 inside it which was the first digital clock in Europe.

The group headed to the roof and got to see the two men with the bells.  What a beautiful view of Venice from up there. We could see all the crowds below in St. Marks square and we felt rather smug to be standing on top of this tower with just a few other people, rather than with the huge crowds below!!!


I really enjoyed the clock tower tour.  If you’re ever in Venice, you should check it out. 

Our mask making class was up next.  We were running late so we had to rush to the class.  It didn’t really matter since it was only us taking the class at that time.  There were already a group of kids making masks in the back.  First, we had to choose what kind of mask we’d like to paint on – there was a bit variety like jesters, cats and the masks with big noses (which is my favorite!).    Ivan picked the guy with the big nose and I picked a cat.

We got to choose a technique with different color combinations that were on the wall.  The lady told us how to do it with the paint colors we picked. 

So, we colored with one color of paint and then went over it with the next color.. which created a new color.  We had to dry it with a hair dryer.. and then we got to put detail on it with black. 


The lady gave us a sheet that had different examples of what you could do.  I took some of the ideas and added some of my own. 

Next, it was time to dry again and then varnish the mask and dry it.


The last step was putting on silver or gold.  We both picked gold.  At the end, we got to pick two different color (or the same if we wanted) ribbons for the holes.  I really like my mask, I think I did a great job. 


What do you think?  Ivan’s turned out good as well.


Next, we went souvenir shopping and then had a snack at a cicchetti place.  Then, we decided to get gelato at Grom.  This time we had cones with two scoops: I had chocolate sorbet (cioccolato extranoir) and lemon while Ivan had chocolate sorbet and raspberry. 

We got the water bus (vaporetto) and then the People Mover which is 1 Euro per person back to the port.  Ivan had food from the Indian tandoori.  I got a tasty cheeseburger at Guy’s Burger Joint (Guy Fieri from Food Network).  I made it with sautéed onions, banana peppers and chipotle mayo.

We went to the pool and checked out all the slides Twister and Drainpipe.  The best time to go on the slides is around 5:30 pm since people are getting ready for dinner and it’s really quiet.  Ivan always checks it to see how long the line is – we don’t like waiting in line for a long time.

We chilled in the jacuzzi and read our books. 

We had espresso before heading to dinner.  Ivan changed our dinner table so we would have a table on the main floor since it’s good to be part of the action.  Unfortunately, we had a horrible table of French Canadians who ignored us and barely spoke to each other even though they were a family.  I don’t know if they knew any English or not – my guess was no.  It was nice to hear Ken singing and actually see him from this table.  There was also dancing from the waiters and servers.  Ivan and I were sure that we’d try to find another table.  Hopefully, it would be better than this one.. Ivan thought it couldn’t be any worse which I thought it actually could be.

There was time to spare after the meal, so we went to the room to chill before heading to the comedy show at 10:45 pm.

The first comedian was a large black man named Thomas Brown who was hilarious.  The second guy was named Dwight Slade.  He made fun of us since we were sat in the front row.  He said we were boring… how could you really tell by asking us one question.  He was quite mental and funny.. not as funny as the first guy though.


Gondola Mask

Ivan and I slept 10 hours and woke up feeling refreshed on August 24, 2012.  Our room at Airbnb included breakfast for free.  Ivan and I had saltine crackers, cereal, a peach and yogurt.  Lil Dave had two bananas. 

We got the bus and then the vaporetto (water bus) to the island of Venice.  We rushed to meet up with Jane for Row Venice.  Today, we would be able to drive a gondola!!


How freaking cool.  I knew Ivan would be better at this since it took me awhile to be alright at kayaking.  Ivan seems to pick up things a lot quicker than me in some things.  Ivan was up first.  Jane steered in the back while Ivan was in the front.  Jane told him to do the rowing.  It seemed easy, but I didn’t think it would be easy once I got to do it.  Jane is an Australian lady who has lived in Venice for 22 years – she’s married to an Italian. 

It was my turn to try it.  I wasn’t as good.  I felt a bit ganged up on since Jane and Ivan were telling me what to do.. and I was a bit confused.  I guess I wasn’t very confident about doing it since I thought I wouldn’t be good at it for some reason.  I was getting a hang of it though.

The views were beautiful with all the buildings with paint falling off the building and the lovely canals.


Jane told us that up to the 1970’s deliveries were done via gondola. Not many locals take gondolas since they are expensive to take. Some people have their own gondolas or boats. It’s 2000 Euros a year to have a spot at the marina. Jane doesn’t use her gondola much – mostly for the tours since it’s easy to walk somewhere then get the gondola ready and boat there. The scenery was quite lovely.

We rowed out to the open ocean.  Jane asked if I wanted to steer in the back.  I wasn’t too confident, so I let Ivan go first.  Jane let me row in front while she was telling Ivan what to do.  Ivan kind of seemed to be getting the hang of it. 

I got to try the steering next.  It was pretty hard.. I think I was better at the rowing in the front.


Ivan went to steer again in the front while I was in the front.  We had to head to a certain point Jane said.. but Ivan was making us go in a circle.  Eventually, we started heading in the right direction.

Jane told us that 2 people have proposed to their girlfriend on the gondola ride.  We had an awesome time rowing in the gondola.  Ivan was excited that he got to wear the gondolier hat.  Ivan got to go in front again while Jane did the steering in the back. 


He even sang us a little tune.  This is a great thing to do.. I’m sure it’s lovely riding in a gondola, but rowing it is EVEN better!!


Lil Dave wanted to try the rowing, but he was way too small for it.  Unfortunately, there aren’t any small monkey gondolas – I’d love to see that.. it’d be soo cute.  Jane liked taking pictures with Lil Dave.. although, she didn’t want to take off her glasses – maybe she’s hiding from the mob or something?


Ivan, Lil Dave and I were so hungry.  Jane recommended a restaurant for us for civvitechhia?? (look in old blog), but it was closed for lunch.  So, we found a nice place that looked good.  Ivan and I shared a huge plate of vegetables and another plate of seafood. 


Lil Dave went for a banana spaghetti.  The food was delicious and REALLY filled us up.  We had a spritz which is a local Venetian drink – a bit bitter… better with Aperol which is sweeter than the Campari which can be really bitter.

A short time later, we walked to Grom which is a great sorbet place in Italy.  Ivan had a dark chocolate sorbet, pistachio and mango in a cup while I had dark chocolate, fig and raspberry.  I’ll let you guess what flavors Lil Dave got.  Can you guess it?  Our favorites were the raspberry and the dark chocolate sorbet.  The dark chocolate had little bits of chocolate in it.

It’s so lovely walking around Venice – it’s a very picturesque city.


It’s also nice to do some window shopping.  We checked out the Venetian masks stores and Murano glass stores filled with figures and jewelry.

One store had great masks, but they told me No Pictures.. but I was able to get in 3 shots. 


Lil Dave was happy that he found a monkey mask.. but unfortunately the banana to Euro ratio isn’t very good now, so he wasn’t able to buy it.

We went to the mask place where the masks from the movie “Eyes Wide Shut” were created.  Ivan and I signed up for their Venetian mask making class for Monday.  The Venetian masks are beautiful in Venice and they’re not that pricey. 

We went to check out The Original Venice Pub Crawl and met the guide named Allen who’s Russian.  Unfortunately, nobody showed up which we thought was odd since it was a Friday night.  He thought it was because the barman said that a few girls wanted to do the pub tour but there was an opera on.  I doubt backpackers are going to the opera instead of a pub crawl. I guess it’s just slow or their advertising is really bad. 

It was time for dinner.  We went to eat at Ristorante S. Stefano.  Ivan and I shared a good tuna and onion pizza and a spaghetti with tomato and basil.  Lil Dave got the banana fettuccine. 

We took the vaporetto (the way  to say water bus in Italian – which sounds really cool!) and then the bus back to the apartment.

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