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!

Inland from the Grand Canal

Inland from the Grand Canal

Friday, May 30, 2014
The Veneto, 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

We leave Venice in an unexpectedly classy way – via taxi! Our carefully purchased and registered transport passes, scheduled to last just long enough to get us down the Grand Canal and to Piazzale Roma (where we’ll pick up our rental car) this morning, are useless. Why? That dreaded Italian word “scopero”  – the public transport is on strike today.

The alternative would have been walking to Piazzale Roma, an easy task if we were unencumbered, but leaving town with luggage, trundling it up, over, and down multiple bridges, is NOT the way we want our Music and Markets guests to depart Venice! So we’ve bitten the bullet, and the sleek taxi pulls up at the water entrance of the hotel right on time. The 15 minute ride down the Grand Canal rings in at a grand 70€  – just a mere $100 or so.

The causeway connecting Venice to the mainland is bumper to bumper – no quick escape for us!
But we’re finally on the autoroute heading for Montegrotto Terme. Remember that wonderful spa hotel we discovered earlier this year? The Miramonti welcomes us with a smile, but we wait to check in, just drop our luggage, and head for Padova, where ancient beauties await us.
First, lunch, then we’re ready to spend a bit of time in the historic center, pointing out the grand market squares,

before our appointment at the Scrovegni Chapel. A scattering of modern and ancient Roman sculpture outside (the Chapel is beside the ruins of a Roman arena) ,

but inside are Giotto’s marvelous frescoes of the life of Christ and other Bible stories, meticulously restored most recently in this millenium, the colors as vivid as when they were painted in the early 1300s.

Back at Miramonti, we walk our guests through the spa area….and they want to make sure to fit in a visit or two to the warm pools!

This Venice/Veneto tour is designed around the International Encounter of Chamber Music, now in its 7th year, presented by the Auryn Quartet. Each year they invite other musicians to join them for a series of concerts in the 12th century church of St. Martin in Este.
The long piazza is lined with people enjoying an aperitif, and we’ve got what we think is the best café chosen for a light dinner before the concert.

Mozart’s Quintets are the focus of this series,

and the intimate and simple St. Martins, with excellent acoustics (as is normal for small solid Romanesque structures), is a perfect place to listen to some of the best works of this young genius.

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?!

And the Venice Tour Begins!

And the Venice Tour Begins!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014
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

You know we love our markets, so we take time to stroll through the bustle of the Rialto this morning. This shopper decorated her boat to come to market.

Every guidebook on Venice will advise you to not order fish at a restaurant on Monday, since the market’s closed that day. Tuesday morning the stalls of the Rialto fish market are squirming with the freshest shrimp, octupus, eels, squid and more.

This lucky gull gets the first taste of the day.

Russell and Susan arrive right on time, gliding right up to the San Stae stop on the Alilaguna from the airport (just one of the great things about Hotel al Ponte Mocenigo – easy access to anywhere!). After the long overnight flight, on which they were able to sleep quite well, they’re ready to explore Venice, and receive a nice Benvenuto (welcome) as we glide under the Rialto.

Up and over, we cross the Grand Canal

and begin to show off the shabby chic beauty of this watery city

Explaining campos and wells, floating fruttivendolos (fruit and veg seller – one of my favorite Italian words – it just sings!) , and typical Venetian nibbles, cicchetti,

stopping for the quintessential Venetian aperitif, the Aperol Spritz (invented right on these islands), we fill the early afternoon with the sights, tastes and sounds of La Serenissima.

After a refreshing siesta, our guests are ready to continue, and we glide along the Grand Canal to dinner. In late May, the days are lasting much longer already.

Disembarking at San Zaccaria, just beyond Saint Mark’s, we smile at the sunset brushing a glow over San Giorgio Maggiore. We’ll be atop that belltower tomorrow morning.

An al fresco dinner in the garden of Al Giardinetto is as wonderful as ever – I hope they continue delighting us for years to come!

Could we  have seen this seafood

fresh at the Rialto early this morning?

It Started in (Brussels) Venice

It Started in (Brussels) Venice

Sunday, May 26, 2014
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
Where have we been? Keeping so busy with a wonderful Venice/Veneto tour, then a week of working on our newest tour in France that we haven’t had a minute to blog!

First stop, Brussels, with enough hours in a layover on our way to Venice to go into the city. A quick 20 minute train ride, and we’re walking to the Grand Place, filled with colorful blooms of the Sunday flower mart.
A stroll down cobbled streets, taking in the scents, sights and sounds and a quick walkthrough the weekend antiques mart in the Sablon district, then back to the airport.

Next stop, Venice – where the streets are not cobbles but water,

and our city bus floats down the Grand Canal, past palazzos shedding centuries of skin, doors fading into the water,

We drop our bags at a little Cannareggio hotel (we’re saving the best hotel til our guests arrive!)
Once more we’re convinced that Venice is alive and well, as children whiz by on their scooters on a rare campo big enough to play, locals gather to listen to a young speaker preach on marriage and family, then join hands and sing and dance in a circle.

Over one bridge then another, past a traffic jam,

to a new choice for an alfresco dinner, then goodnight Venice

and early to bed.