After a particularly long job away from home and loved ones I took my wife to Venice for a few days and then on to Rome for a few more. I’ve been to Rome several times but had never been to Venice before so I was looking forward to the trip, very much.
A precaution worth taking, with almost every endeavor, is to get a recommendation from someone you trust who has experience of the matter at hand. In this instance, I sought the advice of a dear friend who I knew had recently produced a small movie in Venice and had an insider’s familiarity with the “Queen of the Adriatic’.
My buon amico Jim did not let me down. I booked us into Palazzo Abadessa, a wonderful hotel, review is here.
We did a bit of tourist stuff, went to the Murano glass factory which was amazing, wandered around St Mark’s square with about a million other people, that sort of thing. But the best thing to do here is just wander about and get hopelessly lost in the maze of tiny streets and alleyways, crossing the canals on the little footbridges and just soak up the beauty.
Venice is one of those cities that you’ve seen countless times on TV and at the movies, (try not to think about Nick Roeg’s ‘Don’t Look Now’) but like New York, once you get there you can’t help walking around with your mouth open, completely blown away like you’ve never seen anything like it before, and looking like a complete idiot for good measure.
A couple of things I’ve noticed about Italians, they are the only people in the world that look cool in Puffa coats, even when they’re over-weight. I would say it’s about 1 in 4 Italians will be wearing one of these ugly quilted jackets and male or female, they look great. Any other nationality wearing one of those things will just look ridiculous.
The other thing is gloves. There are more shops in Italy that sell nothing but gloves than in the rest of the world put together, it’s incredible. Every Italian must own fifty pairs of perfectly fitting soft leather gloves. Walk down any high street in Italy and you’ll see more glove shops than is normal, it’s weird, but again, they look great.
Food and drink in Venice is, not surprisingly, wonderful. The home of Prosecco and cuttlefish risotto among others, there is a great deal of excellent seafood available and bars that serve Cicheti, a kind of Italian tapas made up of small plates of delicious savory delights…
Venice is small but there’s a lot to see, museums are everywhere, lots of good food and drink, you have to do the Gondola thing but be prepared to shell out a fair bit for that. Take a boat taxi out to the islands and take a look around, it’s fascinating and just so gorgeous.
We found a perfect little bar about ten minutes walk from the hotel where I could have quite happily spent the whole trip. Locals wines and culinary treats to die for, an excellent host and friendly locals, the Cantina Vecia Carbonera is well worth a visit.
We were there for three days and completely fell in love with the place. I would avoid it in the summer months and to be honest I’d try and go off season. We went in March and the weather was nice and sunny but not hot, so good for walking.
When we left the hotel to travel on to Rome we got into the beautiful little motor launch and were delivered to the Santa Lucia train station, which was a charming experience in itself, we dragged our cases up the few steps into the station and boarded a very cool looking modern train and hit the tracks for Roma.