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Report 2013: Two Splendid Weeks in Northern Italy

By Engred from Oregon, Fall 2011

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Page 12 of 14: Off to Venice

We reluctantly had our last Zoff yogurt for breafast and packed up the van to head to Venice. On our way out of town we stopped in Cormons to purchase some dulce de lecce from Patrizia and some special cookies called Claps from a famous bakery in town, Chiarosa (Via Gorizia, 7). The cookies were fantastic and luckily we could buy the cookies in large tins, so they survived the trip home.

On our way to Venice we stopped in the town of Aquileia to see the famous mosaics. I had read about the mosaics in various books, but it is truly amazing to see them in person. The intircacy and detail were fantastic. On our way back to the van, Guido has us walk through Castello di Sotto, which a little compound along the river with various gardens, buildings and villas, some of which are vacation rentals. Very charming and a small piece of history, including the water wheel that powered the old mill.

We arrived at the Venice airport about two hours later, where we unloaded our luggage on the dock and Guido returned the van. While we waited for Guido to return, I sat there staring at the boat, which was pitching heavily back and forth, and thought “I’m not sure if I can do this again if the water doesn’t calm down!” Luckily the waves subsided, the luggage was loaded, everyone else got on the boat and I was able to hop on at the last minute right before “takeoff.” I ducked through the cabin and stood in the back in the fresh air for the ride to our first stop, lunch at Locanda Cipriani on the island of Torcello.

Lunch at Cipriani is very civilized. White tablecloths, proper waiters in white coats, dishes prepared table-side – it is a wonderful place for lunch. Of course we had to start with an aperitivo of Bellini, since Cipriani invented it! After our leisurely (and expensive) lunch on the terrace we hopped back in the boat and were off to our second stop, the island of San Giorgio, which is across the Grand Canal from St. Marks. We disembarked and got tickets to go up the San Giorgio Maggiore bell tower, where you have a 360 degree view of the the islands that comprise Venice. You can see nearly everything from that vantage point, including the hoards in St. Marks Square. From there is was a short ride to our hotel the Centurion Palace (Dordosuro 173) which was across the Grand Canal from the Bauer where we stayed last year and just a stone’s throw away from the Santa Maria della Salute church! The hotel was amazing, much more modern and to my taste. There is nothing like getting off a boat and rolling your luggage up to the front desk of a gorgeous hotel! We check in, got to our room and were immediately taken aback by the amazing view we had of the canal and the dome of the Salute church!

We all unpacked and relaxed for a while, before meeting in the hotel bar for an aperitivo – our first Spritz of the trip! We had dinner at Fiaschetteria Toscana (unfortunately, I lost my notes and took no pictures) and returned to our room to see the Salute dome lit up for the evening. What a wonderful way to end the day!

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