A Magical Day in Venezia

There are so many sights to see and streets to explore in Venezia. Even if we came here every summer for the next ten years we could not possibly explore them all. Every time we walk from our hotel to Rialto we discover a new canal, a shrine, a campo, or a new garden we had not seen before. The locals say you can never really get lost in Venezia. It’s an island.

This morning we took the vaporetto one stop across the canal from our hotel to visit Basilica de Frari. Dating back to the 1400s it contains extraordinary art work by Titian and Bellini. When we arrived sadly they were having a funeral service so we were unable to get close to the altar, but it also made us feel as if we were in a living church. We have been in this church four times now, but we never get tired of it.

The weather today was hot and humid. Tourists looked weary and sought shelter in the shade. We visited the Peggy Guggenheim Museum housed in the palace where she lived with her beloved pets in Venice. She had a collection of Picasso, Dali, and Chagall as well as paintings by Jackson Pollock. The coolness of this museum was a nice respite from the heat of the streets.

Back in San Marco we visited a glass shop we had been in last year that featured jewelry and glass animals. “We are the second oldest glass store in San Marco,” the owner proudly told us. Outside the store is a stop for gondolas. We saw a large group of Asian school girls all in uniform excitedly boarding the boats and snapping photos.

We ended our afternoon at San Marco at a traditional cafe that spills out onto the piazza with an orchestra we had visited last year. Many of these cafes can fleece the tourists, but this one is recommended by Rick Steves as being very fair. From our vantage point the people watching was fun. Tour groups dutifully followed their leader who strutted by holding an umbrella while families stopped for fun selfies in front of San Marco. We noticed some representatives from Respect Venezia shoo people away from sitting on the edge of the arcades of San Marco which is now a violation. We learned the 100th violation since May was given out yesterday to a tourist in a bikini sunbathing at a museum garden.

Dinner tonight was a at A Beccafico which was recommended by our hotel. Located only four minutes from our hotel in Campo Santo Stefano, it was the perfect place to have a meal. Campo Stefano is a large campo with five cafes, a church, a museum, and several shops. We decided to eat at 8:30 which is more typical for the locals and the whole experience felt very authentic. Several college aged boys played one on their guitars, vendors shot neon lit frisbees high into the sky, and children played in the square. We ordered Spaghetti with chopped tomatoes and spaghetti with clams but the restaurant give us some extras too. They served us freshly made bruschetta and at the end of our meal they gave us a tiny glass bottle of limoncello. It was the most delicious meal we have had since we arrived in Venice.

We walked around the campo after dinner and from our hotel could see the lights of Rialto. Tomorrow we fly to Dublin and then onto Boston. The sun has set on our holidays. Thank you for coming on our journey with us,

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