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Venice Views

Venice Views

Venice,  Fall 2021, Spring 2022

What a joy to stroll through a beautiful city or town, taking in its beauty from morning to night! I’ve long preferred a memorable experience to a physical gift for birthdays or other celebrated days…and a few days in Venice was my wish for my last birthday, several months ago. The views from our hotel window were so gorgeous, from early morning when the gondoliers uncovered and prepared their gleaming black crafts below, to the evening when sunset painted the skies, that I was often content to just stand and look out over the Grand Canal, rather than my usual “rush out the door” to experience a stunning city.
Well of course we also put our feet to the ground, enjoying the quiet canal-side lanes, stopping for those inimitable Venetian cicchetti (snacks) to keep us going!
It wasn’t long til we were back in Venice, in the spring, returning to strolling and gazing – so much to take in in this exquisite city! Our attention was caught by  something high above our heads – the Altanas – click here for our photos and tales of these unique rooftop structures of Venice.
I wonder, what will we discover next time we’re in Venice?!?

Venetian Neighborhoods

Venetian Neighborhoods

Saturday-Sunday, January 2-3, 2016
Venice, Italy

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
We’re looking ahead to Spring – Prague and Budapest, or Venice and the Veneto – join us!

Well not every day of the year can be as exquisite as the first one was yesterday…and Saturday the 2nd was rainy and gray, the kind of day that would be best to just stay inside by a cozy fire. But with only 2 days left in Venice, we venture out, hooded and umbrella-ed, for a bit of exploration nearby, frequently darting inside for a snack or a meal. We’ve never taken time to see the original Ghetto before…where that name was first used in the 1500s for the island on which the Jews of Venice were isolated. The rain was so heavy it was tough to get any photos  – so here’s our lone example, a door with Hebrew lettering,01021601 ghetto hebrew and menorah and a mezuza slot on the doorpost.
The rain finally lessened after dark, and we enjoyed a bit of window-shopping – intriguing antiques and objets d’art here,01021602 decor shop and fantastical wigs for upcoming Carnevale there. 01021601 order carnevale wig hereSunday dawned sunny and beautiful again, and we took a roundabout way, walking along canals where we haven’t been before, 01031601 dorsoduro bound through new to us areassuch as this one with FIVE bridges visible at one intersection, 01031601 bridges 5to the Dorsoduro sestiere. Venice is divided into six neighborhoods, called sestiere, and Dorsoduro, literally “hard back”  – the backbone of Venice along the Giudeca Canal – has always been a favorite of ours.
Looks like we’re not the only ones who like this neighborhood – there’s a traffic jam on that little bridge!01031601 jam traffic on a little canalAnd this harlequin seems to say “welcome to my shop!”01031601 welcome to my shopStopping to peer into artisans’ windows, some crafting paper, others silk scarves, others forcolas, the handsome wooden fulcrum for a gondola oar, we take in the open-air museum of Venice. Across the San Trovaso canal is one of the few squeros, gondola workshops, left in the city. 01031602 hats and gondolasSee the gondoliers hats hung on the wall? Satisfied customers, no doubt!
And on this side Bar Il Squero has just what we’ve been wanting – a mouthwatering selection of cicchetti, snacks, 01031602 il squerojust waiting to be nibbled with a glass of prosecco! In Budapest, we fit in a café stop every afternoon, with decadent pastries and coffee. Here in Venice, we go for cicchetti each afternoon or early evening…delicious bites (such as gorgonzola spread topped with walnuts or artichokes) with a glass of bubbly. LOVE this tradition!
We’ve made it to the Accademia bridge, an ideal perch for views towards San Marco,01031602 top of bridge view one way or, on the other side, the Grande Curva of the Grand Canal, 01031602 top of bridge view the other grande curva and 2 su paddlersthe most coveted palazzo real estate, we’ve been told.
A late lunch at always delicious Taverna San Trovaso01031603 always delish tav san trovasoa Venice institution where the food is still great, the service friendly and knowledgeable, and the prices quite reasonable, even though it’s made it into all the guidebooks.
Then our wander continues, along the Grand Canal, 01031603 canal grande vistasover to the Giudeca side of the neighborhood for a sunset view,01031603 sunset strolland the long way back to our apartment, to catch a view of the prettiest holiday decor in town, by San Barnaba.01031603 walk long way home to see lights by san barnabaVenice – you’re a delight in every season!

Island Colors in the Lagoon

Island Colors in the Lagoon

Thursday, May 29, 2014
Lagoon Islands, Italy

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!  Join us on a summer tour on the Amalfi Coast, in Provence, or in Amsterdam/Belgium

The morning deliveries are coming in as we glide down the Grand Canal – just one stop, then we’ll walk to the north side of the island and catch the vaporetto for a 40 minute sail to the outer islands.

We get off at quiet Mazzorbo, where you can almost hear the grapes growing in the hush,

then cross the long bridge to Burano 

for a quick cup of coffee and a short stroll beside the brilliant homes.

Then back on a boat for a 5 minute trip to Torcello, where this island nation began centuries ago, in the first millenium.
A nun is telling her class tales of their ancient heritage – what a privilege to go on a field trip in such an historic place!

We pass a few trattorias, grass trimmed, flowers abundant, tables ready for lunch-time diners, and come to the core of Torcello, with the 13th century church of Santa Maria Assunta. Inside, the exquisite byzantine mosaics are the star of the island – a beautiful piece of ancient history still intact.

Attila’s chair provides a convenient photo op, then we head back to Burano,

its bright colors quite a contrast to the quiet stones of Torcello. You’ve heard the tale, no doubt – these bright colors made it easy for returning fishermen to spot their own home as they returned from the sea.

Gatto Nero has our table ready, right by the canal,

and we feast on fresh seafood to our stomach’s content – here, Sarde in Saor, a lagoon specialty of fresh sardines in a sweet and sour onion sauce.

More colors await us after lunch,

and a glance at the tilting tower of Burano’s church – doesn’t look like it’s any worse than last year!

The long ride back is a prime opportunity for a nap after that delicious lunch, then one more Venetian treat awaits – an evening cruise through the back lanes of San Marco and Castello neighborhoods, our multi-tasking gondolier telling us tales of the buildings we pass, crouching under bridges, chatting on his cell phone, pushing off a wall or two.

An intriguing sky shimmers across the water as we stroll by Saint Marks Basilica,

and as we walk to dinner we’re stopped time and again by the beauty of the sunset-blushed canals.

A light dinner is plenty after our abundant lunch,

and our perch beside the Giudecca Canal is the perfect place to take in the sunset as we dine.

There’s just nowhere like Venice, is there?!

The Thrill of Venice

The Thrill of Venice

Monday, May 20, 2013 
Venice, Italy

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!  Join us on a summer tour on the Amalfi Coast, in Provence, or in Amsterdam/Belgium

That first sight of the Grand Canal as we exit the Venice train station never ceases to send a shiver of excitement down my spine – there’s no arrival in the world like this one! The water glistens a welcome under the morning sun, almost too bright to look at.
Our guests arrive tomorrow so today will be full of canal honey-dos to take care of. We ride the vaporetto number 1 down the Grand Canal, drop our luggage at the hotel, and set out along the water to do our errands. We’re in search of a gondolier who can include the Palazetto Bru Zane in his route, and we find a helpful boatman on Rio Manin and make an appointment for an evening tour – details in an upcoming blog.
I’m sure you’ve read, as we have, of the diminishing population of Venice… the city’s just too expensive for people to live in, with big corporations or wealthy foreigners buying up the palazzos and apartments, and most who work here live in Mestre or further inland, riding the train or a bus, then a boat, to get to work each day. So it’s always a pleasure to walk by one little campo (small piazza) after another, or glance down a watery lane, and see obvious clues that people DO live here. We’ve been on the water bus with students on their way to school, watched young and old trundle their groceries over the bridges, balanced with the locals on the traghettos (gondola-like craft that cross the Grand Canal in between the few bridges), or stopped at a bar for a quick morning coffee with businessmen walking to work. This often- ethereal floating city is still lived- in and alive.
Always on the look-out for another good eatery to add to our Venice list, we try Osteria Al Ponte, also known as La Patatina, for lunch – and on the list it goes!  A delicious lunch (creamy baccala – cod, with grilled polenta) in a rustic setting in the San Polo district, it’d make a good stop before or after a visit to the nearby Frari church.
Crossing the canal, we’re close to the water in a sturdy traghetto, threading among gondolas and water buses as we traverse Venice’s main street.
Our hotel room’s now ready, and what a pleasure to open the shutters to a view of one of our favorite Venice churches, San Zaccaria, as its bells ring an afternoon welcome. We settle in,then enjoy a wander as dusk falls,

past a gondola traffic jam, across a bridge or two or three, smiling with the pleasure of being here again.


A Venetian Afternoon

A Venetian Afternoon

Tuesday, March 19, 2013, continued
Venice, Italy

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!  Next on the itinerary: Our spring tours in Barcelona, Venice or Prague

After that wow of a lagoon lunch, we have an afternoon to just wander, and absorb the beauty of Venice, pausing to enjoy one view after another – such as a gondolier maneuvering under the newly restored (it’s been covered for years!) Bridge of Sighs.

Passing by a shop that’s been a favorite since our very first visit to Venice, decades ago,
we take a few minutes to look over a hotel we’re consdering for a future trip,

climbing up to the roof terrace, hidden among neighboring homes.

Along a quiet canal, where gondoliers sing as they row,

through the bustle of Piazza San Marco,

beside window-shoppers in a gondola,

and down a few steps to an evocative corner, we’re in no hurry – what a pleasure!

Where shall we go now? How about Fondamenta Nuove, for a view to other lagoon islands?
Passing another facade that always grabs my camera, the gleaming Gesuiti,

then a time-worn square,

there, across the channel, is the cemetery island of San Michele.

Meandering along a smaller canal,

we take a break in a popular Cannareggio (one of the 6 districts of Venice) square and relax with a hot chocolate for me and an Apero spritz for Kirk,

taking in the beautiful old facades above us.
Arrivederci, Venezia – we’ll be back soon!