And now the fun begins, our journey along the coast of Italy beginning with Venice and ending with Rome. With my work in London and Paris quickly becoming a distant memory, we took off for an ultimate vacay – 4 weeks divided between Italy and Portugal. Awesomeness. This was my first “real” traveling since I broke my ankle. The wet Euro cobblestoned streets (it rained almost every other day for the entire four weeks) tested me – emotionally and physically – but I and all my bones came out of it unscathed and better for it.
Because this post has been written well after the fact, I’m lacking some of the details one may find in more recent posts. Hopefully the Italy and Portugal posts will be most useful for folks who want to explore and need a general itinerary. I loved the towns and cities we visited in both countries. We took an EasyJet flight from Paris to Venice for only about 40 Euros each – very cheap and easy…jet. Otherwise, and because we both had an income stream, we stayed in nice (not luxury) hotels and ate restaurant meals. But still, every time we travel, for lunch we pick up something simple in a market (always bread and often for me, olives along with fruit) and eat at the hotels for breakie to save money. Many hotels did not have soy milk in the parts of Italy we traveled, so I bought it at the local markets to eat with cereal or add to tea/coffee in the morning.
The birthplace of Vivaldi and a most charming city, we were both blown away that all the hype about Venice is true! It’s really true. I think the alluring narrow streets, the continuous mesmerizing sound of water lapping lightly against buildings, gondoliers singing and laughing, and music. Oh solo mio, the music of Venice. Echoing in the streets of this fascinating city, small orchestras playing at open air cafes and the chamber music of Vivaldi brings it all to a dreamy reality. Venice has been patiently awaiting your arrival.
Highlight of Venice: Hands down, the music.
Street musicians, cafe musicians, a chamber group – wow. Period. A most enthralling performance of The Four Seasons at Chiesa di San Vidal by the group Interpreti Veneziani left us wanting more – more Venice, more charm, more music. We also enjoyed listening to the small orchestra while whiling away a couple of hours at the Cafe Florian in Piazza San Marco. The Cafe Florian is Venice’s oldest cafe (1720), and it’s a class act. There, you will pay (our bill was $31.00 US) for the excellent and professional service in tuxedo-clad waiters, the drinks (had a yummy Limoncello) and the divine music. Absolutely worth the experience. Listen and feel for yourself.
Lodging: Hotel Becher
To get that full-flavored Venetian experience, check out Hotel Becher located on the canal at San Marco 1857. Get a room with a view of the canal, it’s totally worth the extra cash. Be prepared to hear some noise come morning “rush hour”. It’s all part of the Venetian experience – the sweet scent of diesel, a cool shadow of ancient walls from row homes and hotels lining the canals, shouts from one building to the next echoing in the crisp spring air. It’s a small city built on water. Expect to be enchanted.
And should you want to take a similar adventure, here is the map showing our route – follow the blue dots. Ciao!
Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go.
You may have the universe if I may have Italy
~ Giuseppe Verdi
Venice, molto romantico!