Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 943: Italy Alone
By DMae from Alaska, Summer 2005
Page 9 of 9: Another word for Venice is lost
Horses of St. Mark's
I wanted to take the night train from Naples to Venice as it always seems so romantic to sleep in one of those snug train cabins as you hurtle your way from one place to another. The trip was easy and restful for me. The train steward delivered caffé shortly before our early morning arrival. I decided to walk and chose a route that skirted the Grand Canal. I crossed many bridges, clambering up and down many steps. I am an ultra-light packer with only one very small rolling bag. I would not recommend this walk for anyone who has luggage to manage! As I strolled along, I was rewarded with getting to see Venice wake up. The streets were almost empty as I wound my way toward my hotel.
Returning to Venice was very important to me. On my last trip I only spent five days there and it was not nearly enough. My dear friend Sara was on a mission to replace one of her Murano glass goblets which had broken. She was familiar with Venice and led me around on her major shopping mission. She never found a replacement piece but managed to find, on Murano, the artist who had created her set. There she ended up purchasing sets of champagne glasses for each of her three daughters' weddings.
On this trip I intended to spend a week exploring the city, getting as lost as possible and seeing as many churches as I could find open to feed my newly discovered addiction for these buildings. And I needed to purchase beads. I purchased several this time as gifts. One of the shops I enjoyed most was Le Perle on Frezzeria. They make all sorts of wonderful bracelets, necklaces and earrings.
I selected a small inn, Ca'Del Dose. The owners were very gracious and allowed me to check in very early in the morning. I had a lovely room on the fourth floor with a terrace. The room was spacious and the balcony huge. I liked sitting there, watching people come and go and watching the little dog on the balcony next door.
A splurge at a café on the Piazza San Marco was high on my list of things to do in Venice. On a rainy afternoon I treated myself to tea at Florian. I also treated myself to lunch at the Hotel Monaco/Grand Canal Restaurant. The view alone was worth the price to me. The food and wine were pretty tasty as well! It was expensive, but being in that setting delivered the feeling of being on a 'grand tour'! I found a memorable café, Al Prosecco on Campo San Giacomo da l'Orio. I loved the neighborhood feel of this part of Venice and wish I had discovered this area sooner in my visit.
I especially enjoyed touring St. Mark's Basilica. I read somewhere that the church is "encrusted" with mosaic. It certainly is! Going up onto the balcony to stand beside the Horses was a significant moment for me. Looking out at the Piazza and Piazzetta from beneath those huge replicas was stirring. I toured the Accademia this visit and any church I found to be open.
As I wandered about the city, I found and purchased some interesting books to remind me of my time in Venice. "Churches of Venice", by Alessandra Boccato, proved to be a great reference for me. I first found this book in Italian and had to make do with my clumsy Italian reading skills, but near the end of my stay in Venice I located a copy in English. "Venezia Panoramica", by Mimmo Fabrizi, looked like the ideal souvenir for me. This book comes in two sizes; I chose the smaller version. Perhaps my favorite find is "Venice: An Architectural Guide" by Edwina Biucchi and Simon Pilling. This is a small book with photos and histories of many of the famous and not so famous buildings in the city.
Looking back on my visit to Venice, I find I fail to recall the restaurants, the shops, the cafés, but remember the churches, the calles, the campos. As I meandered about, I was often lost, but in giving myself over the city, I found much that was hidden within me!
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