Today and tomorrow are Venice days. All eight of us are going: Carmelo and Antonella Anastasi, his older brother Salvatore and wife Brigida Anastasi, Angelo and Anna Maria Di Vita along with Bev and me. The Anastasi's don’t see each other very often…about once/twice a year and we're making this a family affair. Everything in Italy is a family affair.
We enjoy the interaction between the family members and the interchange between husband and wife
We’ll be staying in a hotel in Venice tonight and we have checked out from the hotel we’re in in Bergamo.
All eight of us head east towards Venice and Trieste. From Bergamo, Venice is a little over two hours. Most of the way is freeway and traffic moves very well. It rained much of the way and we were concerned about our touring of Venice. But as we got closer to the causeway getting you on to the island city, the sun came out in all its glory.
As we were driving out comes a CD
As we caused the causeway, Carmelo announced that "we are leaving Italy and entering the Republic of Venice!" It had been a commercial, rich and powerful city-state through the years with an interesting history.
We parked our van on the eighth floor of a garage. Beyond this the city is canals. We had to take a water taxi to where our hotel is close to San Marcos Cathedral Square…the heart of Venice. We are about a “block” away at the Commercio and Pellegrino (Merchants and Pilgrims) hotel. Our hosts have been so kind to us greeting us with a bottle of champagne and flowers
We immediately set out walking towards San Marcos square. The last time I was here was 42 years ago with my brother and his wife when we travelled to the UK for the Feast of Tabernacles. How time has passed! It was just like it was yesterday.
Carmelo is a great tour guide. He first shows us the Bridge of Sighs over one of the canals. This is the bridge that led to the prison.
Then we went around the corner to the famous square. Along the waterfront there are gondolas, mostly for the tourists. We were just as happy to watch people in them as we were to go on them ourselves. There were so many this time.
And the most notable feature was the THOUSANDS of tourists from all over the world
Then we went down various streets and by various canals. In the harbor there was a huge German cruise ship the AIDA. It almost towered over the city!
Venice today is mostly a tourist attraction and caters its history to tourists.
We went to the famous Rialto bridge, but it was closed for renovation. Carmelo was so disappointed that we could not see it. The picture of the bridge is the avatar that I use for this blog.
We walked and walked. Shops sell mostly items for tourists and restaurant cater to tourists. Beverly really wanted some authentic Italian pizza that was made from scratch. We found a place and ate an early dinner (6 pm). Most don’t eat until at least 8 or later
In one shop I spotted a glass goblet that was similar to ones that my brother and I got our sister when she was married 42 years ago. It looked exactly the same and I took a picture and sent it back to the family.
After dinner we stopped at a gelato stand for ice cream. Which is a must. Then we went to San Marcos square to listen to outdoor bands playing. You can sit at tables and listen to two “dueling” bands. They have very tasteful playing standards. The band is composed of piano, bass, accordion, clarinet, and violin. No drums, no guitars, electric or otherwise.
There has been a problem with flooding at San Marcos as of late. The moon was full and there has been a lot of rain and the square was seeping of water. The water came close to our table and we and others had to disperse having to walk through water to get out of the square.
Then we came back to the hotel and all eight of us gathered in our room and we drank the bottle of Champaign they gave us. We talked until 12:30 am. There is never any lack of discussion and we just loved it.
Tomorrow we will see more of Venice and then head back to Milan to get ready for Ukraine!
Sunday, June 19, 2016
Venice, Veneto, Italy