When last we left you, we had just finished our outing to Maggiore and an afternoon back in Orta San Giulio. It is very small and laid back….just how we like to travel…the roads less traveled. We came to Italy because of our previous experience hiking in Tuscany and the Cinque Terre for 10 days and staying in a house outside of Lucca for a week. The Italian countryside, history and people were spectacular. This past few days have restored our memories and confirmed our choice…and the food & wine punctuates each day with fresh and delicious experiences. It also makes this “passeggiata” strolling a downright necessity, so we can still fit in the same clothes that we packed originally.
So, we did a Monday travel day of about 6 hours and drank in a bit of history (Romeo and Juliet lived in Verona) and lunch at a cafe in Verona’s City Centre. Venice starts at a giant car park/railway/airport area on the mainland (Piazzale Roma). From there, you must board a boat to get into Venice. We had a pile of stuff for the 8 of us and almost broke the backs of a porter and a water taxi driver.
Here’s our group at lunch in Verona.
The water taxi takes us across the Lagoon and down the Grand Canal to our Hotel Palazzo Sant’Angelo. It’s a gem and the service people never stumbled over all 8 of us and all those bags arriving at their boat landing.
We got settled in our rooms in late afternoon, but still plenty of time to explore. We followed Cindy, whose judgment about directions down small alleys is unerring. Little bridges across picturesque tiny canals with buildings mostly hundreds of years old is a treat for the eyes. And, another day of pristine weather…our hotel folks can’t believe it’s this un-humid and sunny.
The treat of the day turns out to be an impromptu gondola ride, sparked by a performance at the landing by a gondolier named Renato, who has a very large personality and Hollywood looks. So, four to a boat, we embarked for a ride down small canals; not the Grand Canal, which is like the Schuylkill Expressway at rush hour. We were looking for calm and peaceful.
Dinner is nearby at a small place down a small alley into a square where the Teatro is located.
Very comfortable service and good food and wine…we seem to be hitting all the right notes, thanks for the expertise of Pam Long and her lady in Italy, Marisa of IDI Travel here.
Next day dawns at 5:35AM and is another beauty…a bit chilly to start as we head out with our guide, Donatella, to visit San Marco Square, at about 9:30AM.
Here is Donatello with her Prada eyeglasses…she was stylish and very knowledgable about everything we needed including lunch on St. Stephens Square.
San Marco is gigantic…it looks as we had been transported to another city; one with much more room to move about. This is the seat of all the power from the 1500’s because of the remains of St. Mark being brought here from Constantinople…not by agreement with the Turks, but by brute force, which was the Venetian Way at the time and for 300 more years.
Here’s the panoramic photo of our entry into the square.
Here are closer views of the major buildings – the clock tower, the Cathedral and the Tower.
We had a tour inside for the main altar and ceiling frescoes.
We went upstairs to visit galleries of art where the Doges (rulers of Venice for 1,000 years) lived and worked.
Then, we had a look at the dungeon and went across the Bridge of Sighs, where they walked from the court to their long-term imprisonment and perhaps a touch of torture…no wonder they sighed.
We learned that this was one of Eli’s best memories of Venice when she visited here in February as a 12 year old visitor from Steamboat Springs, Colorado. What a treat to be following in our granddaughter’s footsteps 4,000 miles from home.
Our tour included a visit to the Theater (Teatro) that was burned and rebuilt in the 90’s.
href=”https://chiproach.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/dsc_3862.jpg”> This is fully restored and now has a fire hydrant in the Campo nearby.[/caption]
This will have to be the end of the post as it’s getting late and we have to meet Donatella tomorrow after breakfast for a tour of the San Polo area and the Frari, which has been recommended viewing by our friend, Jamie McClennen, who has been to Venice dozens of times.
We are still going strong and hoping for this weather to hold out until our travel day on Thursday to Rome.
I will catch you up on our some of our more esoteric learnings in a special edition someday.
Another day about which we could say, “benissimo”. Arrivederci.