Though it has been awhile since I’ve visited the magical city of Venice, I was reminiscing the other day about the many wonderful things I loved and experienced there.
Venice will always hold a special place in my heart for being the first city in Italy I set foot. One could say that Venice is partially responsible for my falling in love with Italy. It certainly started the ball rolling. I remember that magical moment as I caught my first glimpse of the Piazza San Marco in Venice from the Alilaguna as it sailed along the jade waters, on a bright, sunny day. It’s an indelible memory. One that I hold very dear.
Here are ten other things that I remember about Venice that put a smile on my face whenever I think of them.
1. Traversing the tiny footbridges, pausing to look both ways as I crossed the back canals, in order to appreciate the view and discover a treasure I wouldn’t want to miss.
2. The lovely gelato shop owner who not only had the best gelato, which we enjoyed no less than twice a day, but who holds the honor of being the very first Italian to ever say ‘Ciao‘ to me .
3. The manager of the tiny B&B where we stayed, who was a dead-ringer for Hank Azaria’s character, Agador (Spartacus), in the movie ‘The Bird Cage’. He was delightful and each morning he served us warm cornetti filled with peach preserves alongside the best cappuccino, prepared with his tiny Bialetti.
4. Taking a mid-afternoon nap listening to the beautiful sound of piano and violin wafting into the windows of our room, from the Music Conservatory across our canal.
5. Riding on the water. I rode the vaperetto, and took both a gondola and a traghetto- and there is nothing like riding the canals of Venice. It offered a perspective I wouldn’t have see otherwise. Getting to appreciate the facades of the palazzos up close and personal is something I’ll never forget.
6. The stunning view of Venice from the Campanile, the bell tower. Breathtaking.
7. The hustle and bustle of the Piazza San Marco. Standing in the middle of it- taking in the Doge’s Palace, the L’Orologio, the cafes that border the square, listening to the music, watching the pigeons, strolling under the loggias. I loved just feeling the energy.
8. The quiet. The lack of cars and scooters. I enjoyed hearing every footstep, every clip-clop of a stiletto heel. It was lovely being lulled to sleep every night by the sound of lapping water and the occasional boat that would slowly make its way passed our open window.
9. Wandering the maze of calle of Venice, with no particular place to go, especially at night.
10. Having dinner at Ai Cungai, a family joint, where the laundry dangled precariously above our heads and where the entertaining owner was more of a draw than the food. We watched her sip wine from other diner’s glasses and present dishes from the kitchen to everyone in the dining room before serving it. She spoke not a word of English and at the end of dinner, she pinched my cheeks and told me to call her mamma. Priceless!
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