Arkansas women's basketball continues Italian tour

VENICE, ITALY ( – Today has been an amazing day of discovery for the University of Arkansas women's basketball team.

Fresh off the big win over the All Star team on Tuesday night, the team enjoyed a great dinner at the country club before the hour-long bus ride back to the hotel in Mestre.

@RazorbackWBB woke to rain, heavy at times, on Wednesday morning but it didn't dampen the enthusiasm as the team boarded the bus and drove toward Venice.  Upon arrival, the Razorbacks grabbed umbrellas and bought ponchos before boarding four water taxis that took us across the water and through the Grand Canal.  Quarters on the boat were tight but even from under the canopy it was easy to see what a beautiful city Venice is.

After getting off the boat, the team make a quick trip around the square before joining their local guide for a tour of Basilica di San Marco, St. Marks Basilica.  The Basilica was founded in the ninth century as a shrine for the relics of St. Mark, whose body was smuggled from Alexandria in a barrel of salted pork – true story.

The church is covered in millions of glass tiles forming mosaics that are so detailed they look like paintings.  Gold is the dominate color inside the church and the lights are on in the church only about one hour a day and we were fortunate enough to be there at that time.

After the tour, the team had a couple hours of free time to wonder the city.  Two miles long, Venice is made up of 117 small islands connected by more than 400 bridges with canals running throughout the city.  The streets are very narrow and shops line both sides of the walkways and waterways.

Our guide was local, living in Venice and spoke about the challenges in getting to the mainland – it was loud (traffic) and sometimes confusing after living in Venice.  We also learned that the city is sinking – about 10 cm each year – and that flooding is often a problem.  That was a fact we were well aware of in the heavy rain.

The team returned to the mainland for a five hour drive to Como, Italy.  The countryside was more agricultural that we have seen but it gives way to lakeside living when you enter the city.  Tonight is a night of on-our-own sight seeing before a guided tour in the morning.