If you read about our recent trip to Venice (HERE), then you’ll know that we finally unlocked the key to really enjoying Venice. In a nutshell, it involves beating the other tourists to the finish line. If the “finish line” is a guided tour in Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace), then be the first person in line in the morning. If the finish line is grabbing a moment of solace in an empty Piazza San Marco, then you’d better be there as the sun rises (conversely, you can arrive well after the sun has set and listen to the beautiful music of the dueling bands). Or, more simply, you can do what we did; visit this magical city in the off-season and get to know the city of Venezia (Venice) without having to put up a fight.
If you’re blessed with a couple of days in Venice, I would suggest that you go a bit deeper than the surface level attractions. Skip the gondola ride (it’s overpriced anyhow) and instead tour the neighboring islands. With 117 to chose from, you’ll have your pick. You can visit the Jewish Ghetto on the island of Cannaregio. Many of the beautiful parks and gardens on the island of Lido are free of charge to you botany lovers. Or, for the real adventurers, you could opt to wade into the marshes and cast nets with local fishermen near the island of Chioggia.
We knew that we wanted to visit the island Murano and watch how the world-famous Venetian glass was blown. This would require a little preparation and so I enlisted the assistance of a guided tour. I discovered a wonderful website that offers local tours at very reasonable prices – Viator. Travel bugs, take note of that website! It is a great resource for sight-seeing tours in cities all over the world. We will definitely use them again; my only regret was not discovering the website sooner. When searching for a tour of Murano, we found a better option – a tour that also included the islands of Burano and Torcello. You can find the link to our specific tour HERE. I bought my tickets ($28 pp) and had the confirmation sent to my smart phone. I showed up at the designated area, presented the pass on my phone and received our tickets to the boat. Easy, breezy, lemon-squeezy. Continue reading Murano, Burano & Torcello – The Keys To Unlocking Venice→
I don’t know anyone in their thirties that really goes around saying, “I’m Greek” because he or she was in a fraternity or sorority – but it was certainly fun to be a part of Greek Life during college. Jennifer and I were both “Greeks” while we attended Virginia Tech together and we each established lifelong friendships that have opened world’s of opportunities.
Lauren and Jen in front of Lake Garda
One of Jen’s sorority sisters, Lauren recently came to visit – and they instantly fell into their old college routine. We welcomed Lauren at the train station; she was arriving from Switzerland having visited another friend living abroad. We went to downtown Como and had a nice dinner, before enjoying a few drinks in the piazza while a live band entertained us. Continue reading Two Greeks in Italy→
One of the true gems of the world…. Venezia (Venice). The name alone evokes powerful feelings for many people. Romantic gondola rides, historical architectural treasures, beautiful creations blown from Murano glass, unique hand-crafted masks and always… always a city constructed with streets of water. Amazingly, the entirecity is listed as a World Heritage Site in order to preserve it’s unique beauty. According to my Wiki research, Luigi Barzini described it in the New York Times as “undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man”. I’d have to agree with Luigi!
Panoramic view from the roof of our hotel
Venice from the water
The Grand Canal
More of the Grand Canal
Happy to be here
Our good friends Nathan and Danielle joined us recently for a whirlwind visit filled with food, wine and lots of fun (read about it HERE). We punctuated their trip with a stopover in this romantic city. I was intrigued by the history of such a unique place and just did a little research. Venice consists of 117 islands, formed by 177 canals and connected by 409 bridges. I kept waiting for that “ah-ha” moment when I discovered the name of the genius city planner that decided to create a magical city on the water. But unlike Bugsy Siegel’sLas Vegas or Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid’s reinvention of Dubai – there was no one person that can be credited with the conceptualization of Venice. The truth is that refugees fleeing from invasion of the Lombards sought shelter in the marshland that is now Venice. And how do any cities really get built? A collection of people working together to establish trade and industry, creating habitation and then services to support the population. And so the city grew around the marsh and homes and churches and municipal buildings were constructed. This begs another question. How can you build a city on water? Continue reading Someone Turn The Hose Off… These Streets Are Flooded!→
You may have recently read HERE about our trip to the Dolomiti (Dolomite Mountains) to visit Franco and Claudia over Easter weekend. What I wasn’t able to fit into that post, was all the imagery we captured of the most spectacular mountain range we have ever seen.
Hilltop view – I had to trespass to get this shot
Mountain view from “Claudia’s” bridge in Canale D’ Agordo
We extended our trip in Canale D’ Agordo (Claudia’s hometown) by a day, because the three days we planned was barely enough to just scratch the surface in this region of Italy. Claudia wanted to show us not only her town of Canale D’ Agordo, but also the surrounding towns. We would like to now share them with you. Continue reading Dolomiti e Una Macchina Fotografica→
This year we took full advantage of living in Italy and went to the Pope’s Church for Easter! Only, it wasn’t in Vatican City and it wasn’t the current Pope. But it was still his church! If I may explain…
Jen and Julia in front of the church in Canale D’ Agordo
If you’ve read a few posts (or know us), you’ll know that we’ve been fortunate enough to live in Jen’s parent’s condo while in Italy. Even more fortunate is that Jen’s Zio (Uncle) Franco and Zia (Aunt) Claudia live above us. This means we’re eaten countless meals upstairs (she’s a wonderful cook), have built in baby sitters, tour guides and translators… basically we have a third set of parents and new besties. Continue reading Easter in the Pope’s Church→
Jen picked a wonderful restaurant in the heart of Verona, romantically hidden from site, lending the feeling of authenticity (as opposed to “touristy”). We were visiting the amazing city for the day (read all about our visit HERE) and had pre-selected, Ristorante Greppia as our place for pranzo (lunch).
The small street leading to Ristorante Greppia
We were instantly taken in by the charm and warmth of the restaurant. The wait staff elevated our excitement for the meal to come by extending great courteousness and hospitality (indulging me as I took photos with this blog in mind). Continue reading Eating Brains Will Not Make You Smarter!→