Friday, October 12, 2012

Ahhh Venice ........ Belissimo!

Early the next morning we jump on the train to Venice. It's been 20 odd years since either of us has been here, but as you can imagine nothing much has changed. Still as gorgeous as ever! It's truly like a living movie set.

The Grand Canal

The long lunch
We organised to meet up with our dear friend Emma who was spending 4 days on her first trip to Venice - she is in awe! We both manage to find the restaurant we'd booked (which is something to be said), navigating in Venice is always a challenge - a beautiful one at that! Also lunching with us is an (Australian) friend of Emma's, Felicity, who has been living in Venice for 4 years. Why? Like us, because she can! So after a delicious long lunch and a couple of bottles of Prosecco we were ready for our first adventure.

The view from the Rubelli Showroom

As Emma and I are both from the world of 'interiors' I'd organised to visit the Rubelli showroom, for those not in the know Rubelli is oldest and most reknowned textile distributor in the Veneto region. Emma and I manage to while away a couple of hours in this gorgeous old palazzo, 'ooing' and 'ahhing' at the many beautiful fabrics fantasising over where we could put them (or wear them) and of course enjoying a good old gossip and catch up. When then located Marino and headed off for a bite to eat.

 We had both read about the bacari of Venice, small local wine bars that offer wine by the glass and small bites call cichetti (think tapas). This becomes our preferred meal for the evening - a bar crawl or 'giro d'ombra' (trip in the shadows) as it is called. Although with the amount of walking you do in Venice, crawl does not quite fit the description. We meet up with Felicity the following night (and her Venetian boyfriend Francesco) who showed us to a few of the groovier bacari. One of my favourites was Acciughetti (little anchovies), which offered mini anchovy pizzas and all thing anchovy - YUM!

Giro d’ombra with Marino, Emma, Felicity and Francesco

Anchovy cichetti – YUM!

On our return to Emma's hotel we discover that we are trapped by the 'aqua alta' the exceptionally high tide that peaks periodically in Venice. St Marks Square was ankle deep in water and the option to remoce our shoes and wade thought it was not appealing! We did however navigate our way around it.

We began our next day with a trip to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum. An 18th century Palazzo and former home of Peggy Guggenheim, where her personal (and extensive) collection of modern art is housed, set in an amazing villa and surrounding gardens (where her remains and the remains of her treasured dog collection are buried). We follow this with another delicious lunch in a beautiful Venetian piazza. 


Beautiful girl!
Beautiful garden
 Our Sunday morning (Emma's last day) begins with mass at the Basilica San Marco. We discovered that this is the easiest way to see this awsome Byzantine cathedral, free entry, no queues and 40 mins of peace and quiet to sit a gawk at the wonderful 17th century mosaics. Well worth the early 8am arrival and finished with an Italian breakfast of pastries and coffee at a local bar. It was then off to the water bus stop to see Emma off to the airport. What a wonderful way to exit Venice.

One of the many beautiful Venetian facades

Whilst we were at the water bus terminal we decided to take a trip up the Grand Canal. Not quite the gondolier experience of 23 years ago but a great way to see the many beautiful facades of the palazzi. Because the waterfront was generally used as the front entry to these homes, you need to view them from the canal to really appreciate their beauty. The street access was used by the servants.

A Venetian Bacaro

Ahhh Venice .......... 3 days was not enough!

However, our hotel and Marino's relative are booked, so it was off to Trieste for us!

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