Tag-Archive for » dining Venice «

Aug
15

Murder at Venice Beach

Early Morning.

“Why don’t you take a morning off? ” Brad sighed. “And come back here, my love.” Kelly smiled as she pulled running shorts over her long tanned legs. “You know I can’t miss a day; Not, if I’m going to win that marathon. Keep me company.” She tied her sneakers. “Not today babe. I’m real tired.” Brad replied with one eye closed. “Besides, I can’t keep up with you at my best.” Kelly blew him a kiss. “Keep the bed warm. I’ll be back real soon.” She locked the apartment door behind her.

It was a damp, overcast morning at Venice Beach. The sea mist quickly enveloped Kelly, as she went through her leg stretches. “Maybe I should forget it this morning?” She thought and suddenly yearned to be safe in her lover’s arms. The mist felt like icy fingers that pinched her skin. “But I must train every day.” Reluctantly, she slowly began to run along the sidewalk. A drunk was passed out next to a trash dumpster, empty bottle by his side. He had been using it as his sleeping place for the last three nights; probably his diner as well, she suspected. Kelly wondered how old he was? It was impossible to tell with his long mattered hair and beard.

She encountered the homeless almost every day and it always depressed her, but when she turned onto Wave View street her spirits were raised as she passed by the quaint houses. Wave View is one of the many pedestrian alley ways that criss cross the city of Venice. The houses are an eclectic community of brightly painted wood bungalows and modern multi-level dwellings. The mist began to clear as Kelly ran passed her favorite house. It was shaped similar to a light house, with a stained glass dome of a roof. The front yard was open and she noticed the young man as he arranged fold-up tables. “He’s having another garage sale.” She thought. “Every Saturday, like clockwork.” The man caught her gaze for an instant and then shyly turned away to set up his wares. “He’s cute,” she smiled and joined the cycle path that winds along the beach from Santa Monica through Venice and beyond. Kelly kicked her pace up a notch and began to pass most of the others already on the pathway; joggers, dog walkers and skate boarders.

These days the Venice beach community is a diverse group of the rich, poor, street performers, vendors and many vagrants. It is in some ways still a throwback from the sixties, with the ever present legacy of Jim Morrison on billboards, posters, and a even a tribute band that performs

Aug
11

The Grand Canal Shoppes in Macau is an exact replica of its sister property in the gambling city of Las Vegas. It is a shopping mall inspired by the Italian port city of Venice and has exquisite baroque themed architecture which gives it an authentic Venetian feel. However, at 968,000 square feet of shopping space the mall is twice as large as its sister property in Vegas.

The Grand Canal Shoppes in Macau is the epitome of luxury shopping malls with its elaborately themed decorations, architecture and appropriate street entertainment, the mall feel as if a part of Venice were transported to Asia and leased out to designer stores. The mall has three large indoor canals through which visitors can take a relaxing ride on a Gondola- an open air boat that is unique to Venice and to add a bit of Asian flavour, visitors can opt to also have a Dragon boat ride.

The shopping mall features more than 350 outlets by luxury and designer brands, an 86,000 square foot Spa, twenty high end restaurants, a thousand seat food court and a hip and happening night club. Even live theatrical performances are available on evenings with crowds usually in excess of 1800 in attendance. Some of Venice’s landmarks have been replicated at Grand Canal Shoppes, places like St. Mark’s square hosts carnival like events and also features a bevy of street performers.

There is absolutely no shortage of hotels in Macau, as it has become the most popular vacation spot in Asia. A number of international hotels and resorts have ventured here to capitalize on the booming tourist arrivals to the area. Luxury Macau hotels are some of the best in the world with many internationally renowned brands involved in the sector.

Aug
10

For a millennium, Venice has provided inspiration for artists and writers. This coveted city is made up of 118 islands linked by 453 bridges. Each corner of town exhibits individual architectural magnificence, the city combining as one to form a spectacular theatrical stage set.

Beautiful churches adorn the banks of the Grand Canal as she snakes her way through the city. This main artery is at the centre of a myriad of canals running throughout the town.

The lifeblood of Venice is its tourism, a magnet for over 12 million visitors a year. Catering for this influx of visitors, the cities population of 70,000 people continue their daily lives, working the bars, cafes and restaurants.

Despite all this however, it seems that Venice is slowly sinking at the rate of approximately 2 inches every century. Terrible floods in 1966 caused much doom mongering and many people feared that Venice was about to be taken off the map.

The threat to remove funding for vital restoration projects gave serious cause for concern and prompted an urgent response to save the city. It was feared imminent flooding could completely destroy the city; preventative measures were high priority.

The efforts of the past two decades have had considerable success. Reduced pollution, shipping and the restoration of natural sandbanks have all contributed to the cause.

The first settlers of Venice were those fleeing the Barbarians around 400 AD. To create solid foundations for their buildings they drove timber into the mud and began creating a community for their people.

The city’s emblem, the winged lion, derived from Saint Mark the Evangelist. The first significant church of Venice was built in the ninth century to house the relics of Saint Mark, and his emblem was soon adopted.

Venice’s trade brought great wealth and prosperity to the city and for many centuries it continued to grow. The city thrived on its colonies and invested its riches wisely. Churches and palaces became commonplace, as were museums to house many newly acquired works of art.

For the past couple of centuries however, the obvious lack of development space meant the city found it difficult to advance further. Wars with Turkey were a drain on the resources and so Venice was content to consolidate.

Despite this, Venice does not rest on its laurels. Every visit offers something new, a fresh experience to take home. Each region of the city has an individual charm, giving the sense there is always something special around each corner.

Aug
09

Knowing a few things about the restaurants and the way they charge you will help you to get the best service and pay only a reasonable amount for it. While one would like to say that all eating spots are fair and list everything upfront, sadly, it is not so.

There are a number of places that put a footnote in the menu saying tat a certain dish is only to be ordered for two. That means that either you end up wasting the stuff or that your companion eats something he or she did not really order.

Most Venetian eateries routinely add a service charge of around 10 to 15% to your bill. You can take it that the tip has been added. Unless the service is exceptional, there is really no need to pay an additional tip. Remember also that by law you are required to take a receipt from the restaurant after your meal. I do not think you will be ever required to produce it anywhere; it is to ensure that the owner does not cheat on his taxes.

So if a local guide tells you that the custom in Venice is to tip 15% after a meal, you know whose side he is on!

Many visitors are surprised to see a plate of pretzels on their table and cannot (naturally enough) resist munching. Everyone assumes that the plate is complimentary. It is only when you get the bill that you realize that you are billed for each pretzel you eat! If you are not careful, you can easily double your bill this way.

In almost every trattorie (a small and simple eating place), and rosticcerie (a common Italian snack bar) you will find a place to sit and a counter where you can just stand and finish your meal. There is a difference in costs between the two. And the difference can be substantial. Most people simply pick up their food and walk. If you choose a restaurant with a view of the canal, good seating and table service, you can expect to pay about twice what the menu shows by way of service charges. So choose accordingly.

There is no dearth of watering holes in the city and you can find some really good ones on the Campo di Santa Margarita. This is an area favored by students from the university and is especially active on weekends.

Enjoy Venice, stretch your euros and have fun. After all this is what you are here for is not it?

Aug
02

Twenty-three miles north of Miami on the subtropical Atlantic Coast, Fort Lauderdale is a sophisticated resort destination as well as the yachting and cruise capital of the world. There are numerous options for airfare to Fort Lauderdale with three major airports in the area that service the city: Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International, Miami International, and Palm Beach International.

Fort Lauderdale is known as the “Venice of America” for its intricate network of canals and Florida’s deepest port, Port Everglades, which makes this beach city a major hub for the boating industry. The canals offer a twist to sightseeing, with many water taxis and aquatic city tours. From the sea you can catch a glimpse of Florida’s most beautiful waterfront mansions that line the bays and canals. Also, Fort Lauderdale’s proximity to the Bahamas and Caribbean makes tropical cruise travel extraordinarily convenient out of Port Everglades.

Fort Lauderdale’s Fine and Funky Enclaves

Travel to Fort Lauderdale is diverse and eclectic due to the city’s various districts, each with its own personality and character. The Strip, or Fort Lauderdale Beach, was put on the map as a Spring Break mecca during the 1970s and 80s due to the film Where the Boys Are. Elbo Room, the famous spring break bar that was featured in the film, is still standing today at the corner of Las Olas Blvd. and A1A. That intersection may not be as wild today, but its ocean breeze and string of lively bars and restaurants still attracts spring breakers and local beach-goers alike.

Further down Las Olas Blvd. in Downtown, the entertainment district has experienced a major rebirth, attracting waves of locals and visitors alike. Enjoy an evening at the Broward Center for the Performing arts and then wander by the many new restaurants and shops lining the boulevard. This area is also home to Fort Lauderdale’s museums, including the Museum of Art and the Museum of Discovery and Science as well as some historical exhibits covering the Native American and European settler history of Fort Lauderdale. Just to the north, Wilton Manors is a very popular gay and lesbian community within Fort Lauderdale, packed with lively bars, blaring nightclubs and all inclusive resorts. Whatever your orientation may be, this place is certainly worth a visit.

Get In and Get Out

Travel to Fort Lauderdale and experience all of what the southeast Floridian coast has to offer. The city is conveniently close to Miami’s South Beach resorts, clubs and restaurants and just a short drive to the expansive biodiversity of Florida’s Everglades. Additionally, booking your airfare to Fort Lauderdale today will get you that much closer to a luxurious Bahamas or Florida Keys vacation. Treat yourself to a tropical getaway right here in the United States.

Aug
01

South Louisiana: From the Vieux Carre to Venice

This year for Spring Break we went to South Louisiana and back to our home town, New Orleans, or NOLA. While we have lived in Nashville, Tennessee for 13 years, we decided to head to “Cajun Country” to check out the status of things and give that grand ole city our business. To say the least, we were pleasantly surprised. Yes, there still were many empty houses in the eastern section of the city, but as a whole, it has brilliantly restored itself and is emerging from the looming economic despair it was facing.

We stayed in the heart of the French Quarter, Vieux Carre, at an exquisitely restored boutique hotel, Hotel St. Marie. We had an inner room with a balcony overlooking the courtyard and pool, which isolated the traveling sounds of nearby streets. We had determined to spend this trip as tourists and see the city as though we were new to it. We dined at old traditional neighborhood restaurants and newly created bistros. The recently established, Cochon, in the warehouse district, was a supreme surprise. With an in-house Boucherie (butchery) the chefs were able to prepare cultural favorites such as boudin and andouille. We sat at the “Chef’s Counter” where we watched Chef Stryjewski and his staff prepare our meal. After ordering the traditional N’Awlins cocktail, Sazerac, we were ready to begin our dining extravaganza. We were so enamored by the combination of ingredients that we were inspired to order one of everything on the menu well almost everything. Let’s just say that the spoon bread with tomatoes and okra, fried alligator with the chili garlic aioli and andouille with sweet potatoes and black-eyed pea vinaigrette were all equally amazing and thoroughly tantalizing. Other favorite dining adventures included Brigtsen’s and their delectable tuna with corn sauce, Muriel’s turtle soup and Upperline’s roasted duck with ginger peach sauce – all seemed to be on the same path, to recreate NOLA one dish at a time.

The Vieux Carrie also boasted of hosting the first-time ever exhibition of the Vatican Mosaic Studio. This was truly a breath-taking exploration of both cut enamel and filament enamel art work from ever-patient artisans. The filament enamel work entitled “Roman Forum” was my favorite as it truly looked like an oil painting rather than stretched glass.

Another highlight of the trip was an excursion to Plaquemines Parish and the fishing town of Venice, Louisiana. This is where the eye of Katrina passed and pushed approximately 4000 boats over the levees. However, the people have been working hard and we only saw about 10 boats left to recover. We went with family on a chartered, flat-bottomed, marsh boat down to the mouth of the mighty Mississippi River and proceeded to do some “catchin” as we weren’t just fishing. Among the fish we caught were red fish, speckled trout and sheep’s head; enough for a grand ole fish fry and plenty to bring home. In this Cajun girl’s opinion, NOLA and Venice looked, felt and tasted great. South Louisiana is back and better than ever.

Jul
26

If you are hankering for a European tourist destination, why not consider the Veneto region of northern Italy on the Gulf of Venice? Venice is its best-known city and one of the most popular tourist destinations on earth. Don’t forget that the Veneto region is a lot more than this great city. It hosts many other excellent tourist attractions, and you won’t have to fight the huge crowds. With a little luck you’ll avoid tourist traps, and come back home feeling that you have truly visited Italy. This article examines tourist attractions in the university city of Padua in central Veneto. Be sure to read our companion articles on northern Veneto, on southern Veneto, and on that Shakespearean city of Verona.

Padua, population over two hundred thousand, is only about twenty-five miles (forty kilometers) west of Venice but has always had a life of its own. It was the setting for Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Padua claims to be the oldest city in northern Italy, founded early in the Twelfth Century B.C. It held out against the Lombards for twelve years at the beginning of the Seventh Century only to be burnt to the ground. Padua was the headquarters of the Italian Army in the First World War and the site of the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s surrender.

The historic city center surrounded by seven miles (eleven kilometers) of Sixteenth Century walls is home to the City Hall, whose wall is covered by the names of the Paduan war dead. Other sites of interest include the Palazzo della Ragione described next and the Nineteenth Century Neoclassical Caff?edrocchi. This caff?s one of the largest in the world and the hub of the uprisings in 1848 perhaps not surprising given its proximity to the university described below.

The Twelfth Century Palazzo della Ragione (Palace of Reason) in spite of its name is not a philosopher’s hangout, but a huge centuries-old marketplace. The hall itself is about two hundred seventy feet (eighty meters) long so when people say you can’t miss it, they aren’t kidding. This magnificent building was heavily damaged by fire early in the Fifteenth Century, unfortunately completely destroying a great collection of frescoes. So the frescoes you’ll see are somewhat more modern. By the way, the collection includes one of the few complete sets of the zodiac signs. The palace is no longer the seat of the Padua government and often hosts art shows.

Padua University in the city’s historic center at the Palazzo del Bo’ (Ox Palace, named for a inn that it replaced) was founded in 1222 when many professors and students left the University of Bologna over the issue of academic freedom. Jurisprudence and theology were the first courses offered. From the Fifteenth Century to the Eighteenth Century the university was renowned for its research, particularly in the areas of medicine, astronomy, philosophy, and law. On June 25, 1678, Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia became the world’s first woman graduate when awarded a doctorate in Philosophy in the Padua Cathedral. In addition to mathematics, philosophy, and theology Piscopia mastered the following languages: Italian, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Spanish, French, and Arabic. Other famous professors and graduates include Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, and Giacomo Casanova. You should visit its Anatomy Theatre, the oldest in the world built in 1594. To deal with the issue of overcrowding many university faculties have recently moved to other cities in the Veneto region.

Along the Piazza dei Signori (Seigneurs’ Square) you’ll see the early Seventeenth Palazzo del Capitanio, the residence of the Venetian governors with its great door. The palace included its own church, the church of San Nicolo. The nearby Duomo (Cathedral), remodeled in the mid-Sixteenth Century after a design by Michelangelo, is not one of his best works. The Thirteenth Century Baptistry includes a series of frescoes illustrating the Book of Genesis by an early Renaissance Italian painter. This piazza is home to the city’s St. Mark’s Lion. If you read my companion article on southern Veneto you’ll know what to look for when you get there.

The Fourteenth Century Cappella degli Scrovegni (Scrovegni Chapel) is Italy’s best-known chapel after the Sistine Chapel. It is also known as the Arena Chapel because it stands on the site of a Roman-era arena. The chapel’s fresco collection devoted to the life of the Virgin Mary is virtually unmatched. Before entering the chapel you must spend 15 minutes in a climate-controlled air-locked room reducing the temperature difference between the outside world and the inside of the chapel. Nearby you will find the Musei Civici degli Eremitani (Civic Museum) a former monastery with its collections of Venetian paintings, ancient coins, and other archeological treasures.

Padua’s most famous church is the Basilica di Sant’Antonio da Padova (Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua) started around 1238 but only completed after the turn of the century. His remains repose in a beautiful chapel. In front of the church is a Donatello statue of a Venetian general riding horseback. This statue, cast in the middle of the Fifteenth Century, was said to be the first full-size equestrian bronze statue cast since antiquity. Nearby are the Thirteenth Century St. George Oratory and the Sixteenth Century Scuola di San Antonio (St. Anthony’s School) both of which boast great fresco collections, the first by Altichiero and the second by the more famous Titian. There are several other churches to see if you have the time and energy.

Padua’s Orto Botanico (Botanical Garden), founded in 1545, was the first in the world. The Botanical Garden still maintains its original layout, a circular central plot symbolizing the earth surrounded by a ring of water. It has expanded over time. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a center for scientific research. Nature lovers will appreciate the Eighteenth Century Villa Pisani (Pisani Palace) about eight miles (thirteen kilometers) southeast of the city on the Brenta River, home to many fancy, fancy homes. This Palace contains 114 rooms in honor of the 114th Doge, a member of the Pisani family. Napoleon spent a night here before giving the palace away. Make sure to see the trompe-l’oeil frescoes on the ceiling. The adjoining park is a-maze-ing if you get my drift.

One of Padua’s best-known symbols is the Prato della Valle (Valley Meadow), often called the Grassless Meadow, the largest square in Europe after Moscow’s Red Square. It measures approximately one million square feet (ninety thousand square meters) or about fifty football fields. In its center, if you don’t mind the hike, you’ll find a wide garden surrounded by a ditch and lined by 78 statues portraying famous citizens. The site includes the abbey and the basilica of Santa Giustina (Saint Justine), with an interesting art collection. This complex was built around the Fifth Century tomb of Saint Justine of Padua. Napoleon suppressed the monastery in 1820 and it didn’t reopen for more than one hundred years. You can find tombs of several saints as well as relics of the Apostle St. Matthias and the Evangelist St. Luke.

What about food? Padua is a unique city. It claims a variety of food specialties, some of which may not sound all that tempting. Specialties include torresano allo spiedo (pigeon raised in tower lofts), sfilacci (salted, dried, and smoked horsemeat), mushrooms and truffles (that sounds better already), and peaches. Like I said, Padua is a unique city.

Let’s suggest a sample menu, one of many. Start with Prosciutto Veneto Berico Euganeo (Montagnana Sweet Cured Ham). Then try Bondole (Smoked Pork Sausage). For dessert indulge yourself with Crema Fritta (Fried Cream Custard). Be sure to increase your dining pleasure by including local wines with your meal.

We’ll conclude with a quick look at Veneto wine. Veneto holds third place among the 20 Italian regions both in terms of the area planted in grape vines and for its total annual wine production. About 45% of Veneto wine is red or ros?leaving 55% for white. The region produces 24 DOC wines and 3 DOCG wines, Recioto di Soave, Soave Superiore, and Bardolino Superiore. DOC stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata, which may be translated as Denomination of Controlled Origin, presumably a high-quality wine The G in DOCG stands for Garantita, but there is in fact no guarantee that such wines are truly superior. Nearly 30% of Venetian wine carries the DOC or DOCG designation.

Bagnoli di Sopra DOC also called Bagnoli DOC is vinified in many styles from a variety of international and local red and white grapes in the area approximately between Rovigo and Padua. Colli Euganei DOC is made in a wide variety of styles from local or international white or red grapes on the volcanic hills southwest of Padua.

Jul
20

Rome may be Italy’s political capital, but Milan is the country’s industrial and financial capital. In short, Milan is a dynamic city that is to Italy what New York is to the US. And like New York, it’s a culinary hotbed, attracting much of the best talent from throughout the country. This may be good for those with a taste for the exotic and innovative but it is not necessarily good for the traditional cuisine, which too often has been taken for granted. Luckily for travelers hoping for a more authentic taste of Milan, however, the city is currently rediscovering its own traditional cuisine.

Traditional Milanese cuisine has its own distinctive flavor and many travelers may be surprised by how the northern regions of Italy fail to live up to their expectations of Italian food. Olive oil is less frequently used in cooking than butter while pasta is passed over in favor of rice or ‘polenta’. Luckily enough, the initial surprise is soon to be replace by a inner sense of satisfaction as the local dishes of Milan and Lombardy, when prepared well, can make for some wonderful eating experiences.

A typical Milanese meal may start with a traditional antipasto, made of ‘nervetti’ (boiled calf shank and knee cartilage cut into strips) and mixed with thinly sliced onions. As a first course you cannot miss the classical ‘Risotto alla Milanese’, made with a full-bodied beef broth (the original recipe includes bone marrow) and flavored with saffron. As a second course, a classic Milanese dish is ‘cassoeula’, an extremely filling dish made with various parts of pork meat (tail, ribs, rind, feet and ears) cooked with green cabbage and other vegetables. If you are not feeling so courageous, go for a Milanese cutlet that is probably nothing like you’ve ever tasted in other places: Milan restaurants actually serve a very tasty, crunchy cutlet, made with a veal chop, including the bone. If you are lucky enough to be in Milan during the holiday season, you could end your meal with a huge slice of ‘Panettone’, the typical local Christmas cake, that is even tastier if you eat it with traditional Mascarpone cream.

Even though the Italian riviera is a hundred miles away, Milan has a well-deserved reputation for offering the freshest fish in Italy. ‘Branzino’ (sea bass, known elsewhere as ‘spigola’) and ‘orata’ (gilthead) are the most common offerings, but you can also find ‘San Pietro’ (John Dory) and ‘dentice’ (seabream). ‘Scampi’ and lobsters are plentiful here, too, and an antipasto of turteaux (Normandy crab), rare on Italian menus, can be found easily as well. If you like seafood, however, be advised as a seafood dinner in a proper place may cost you an arm and a leg. If you are looking for something more typical and cheaper, head for the city surroundings where you may find plenty of places serving freshwater fish and even a number of frog based dishes, starting from the unfailing ‘risotto’.

Milan is an important business centre, so expect all of the restaurants in the centre to be very expensive. An average complete dinner costs around 35 Euro per person. Pizzerias are a little bit less expensive but they cannot be considered cheap either. In order to have a cheap, non-fast-food dinner, join the young Milanese crowd storming local pubs every night for Happy Hour.. Between 6:30 pm and 9:30 pm, for 5 to 8 Euro you can have a drink and enjoy an open buffet with a large variety of food. Corso di Porta Ticinese and the whole ‘Navigli’ area are crowded with such places. Corso Como and Brera are also popular ‘happy hour ‘ destination and they are closer to the city center.

Despite the steady flow of foreign businessmen, the city’s restaurateurs are not waiting to fleece the occasional guest. There are not the usual tourist traps you may find in other Italian cities. Also, contrary to popular belief, do not take for granted that the hotel where you stay is not a great place to eat either. As a matter of fact, many hotels in Milan have excellent restaurants run by some of the city best chefs. If you are not confident about your choice, take a look at the menu before entering a place. Watch out if you see an overuse of salmon, arugula and ‘carpaccio’ (thinly sliced raw beef or fish) as this may be a sign of the uniformity plaguing a number of mid level restaurants.

Not all products of Milan can be found in restaurants, so a little food shopping may be in order before leaving. If you ask a local where to buy some specialty food, chances are you wull be directed to Peck, a fancy grocery store laid out on four elegant floors not far fron the Duomo. Here you will find a stunning wine cellar and at least 25 local variations on salami including the thin ‘luganega’ and ‘zampone’ (a pig’s foot stuffed with peppery, coarsely ground pork meat). In late fall and winter, you will also have the chance to buy a very special treat: a terrine layered with four creemy cheeses (gorgonzola, mascarpone, stracchino and taleggio) and slivers of aromatic white truffles.

This article is part of a series covering the most important italian travel destinations and regional cuisines. You can find similar articles about eating out in Rome, Naples, Florence and Venice.

Jul
16

Oh yes it helps to know something about the city you are going to visit, even if it is only trivia. It just helps you to be better prepared for the experience.

On this page, we have collected some information that could be of value as you slosh your way through the city.

Many restaurants have menu cards that say minimum two orders. Why on earth they should force you to order two dishes of the same type I cant understand but that is how it is. You are lucky if you have a companion who shares your taste in food, but then again, you may not have such a friend with you. I have two suggestions, offer to walk out, especially if the restaurant is not crowded or get the duplicate packed for later.

Toilets. A tourist city should have a lot more than Venice has. There are toilets near most prominent tourist spots but there could be a lot more. Carry some change with you all the time. Railway stations are of course well equipped but you still need to know where to find them.

Church Tourism: No doubt, Venice is famous for its churches, but if you are going in only to sight see and there is a service on, you will be stopped at the door. Either attend the service or come after a while. We cant argue with this, it does make eminent sense.

Hundreds of small statues of the Virgin Mary and of Lord Jesus can be found all over the city. No one has even attempted to count them. Yet, come evening, and you will find candles lit under all. This is something that the tourist can participate in as well. Who knows. Your prayers might just be answered as well

The Pigeons At San Marcos Squarem

There are hundreds of pigeons at the San Marcos Square. It is a nice tradition that people feed the pigeons as they pass by. You can get bird feed for about a euro for a packet. Children have a field day scattering grain and watching the birds take off and land again. Hundreds or maybe thousands of pigeons flapping in unison are a sight to treasure.

Queues

There are queues everywhere. But this is only to be expected since the tourists are in such large numbers. While you may not like to wait in a queue, you will surely appreciate the orderliness of it all. On the flip side, it will always take you longer to see a monument than you plan for because of the queues. So adjust for this in you plans.

Jul
15

Most visitors to the Veneto region of Italy seldom venture beyond its capital, Venice. This is not surprising as “Venezia” is one of the great destinations of the world. Its unique aspects are legendary. One cannot help be enchanted by its singular beauty, its past and present glory, and the sense of fragility it provokes. But for those who venture beyond Venice, a special region awaits! In fact, it’s an art and gastronomy knock-out. There’s an impressive variety of landscapes, through zones of intensive viticulture, past some of the world’s most magnificent villas. Italy’s most famous dessert, “tiramisù,” was invented in the Veneto. And the word “ciao,” as a salutation to say hello or good-bye, was coined here, too.

The Veneto’s cities are distinct and beautiful. Verona is the home of Romeo and Juliet; Italy’s most famous opera festival; stunning architecture; and some of the most intensive wine production in the country. Bardolino, Valpolicella, Amarone, Bianco di Custoza, and Soave are but a few of the varieties produced near Verona. The province of Verona is also known for its superb olive oil.

The city of Vicenza is most noted as the laboratory of Andrea Palladio (1505-80), perhaps the most important architect of the last half millennium. His work is everywhere in and around Vicenza. The province of Vicenza is also full of good wine and is the home of Asiago cheese and can boast delicious cherries, white asparagus, and grappa as well as noteworthy ceramics.

The largest city in the region, Padova (“Padua” in English) is the Veneto’s economic center and is the seat of one of Italy’s foremost universities. Padova is full of art treasures (including the incomparable Scrovegni Chapel – also known as the Arena Chapel — with its 38 frescoes by Giotto) and can boast one of the most magnificent food markets in all of Italy. In the province of Padova are the Colli Euganei, green hills filled with mineral water sources and home to the charming village of Arquà Petrarca.

Veneto can boast four UNESCO World Heritage cultural sites:

* the city of Venice and its Lagoon

* the city of Vicenza and the Palladian villas of the Veneto

* the Botanical Garden of Padova

* the city of Verona

Like Giotto’s frescoes in Assisi, those in Padova exerted a powerful influence on and marked a turning point in Western art, introducing a naturalism into painting that departed from the formality of Byzantine art of the preceding 1,000 years. Indeed, Giotto is regarded as the father of Western art.

Just on the outskirts of Vicenza is La Rotonda, Palladio’s most famous villa, featuring his trademark design inspired by the Roman temples. The interior lacks grand décor, but the exterior is the focus, having inspired Christopher Wren’s English country estates, Jefferson’s Monticello, and the work of a slew of lesser-known architects designing U.S. state capitols and Southern antebellum homes. It was begun around 1566, but Palladio did not live to see its completion.

Just down the way from La Rotonda is Villa Valmarana ai Nani. It was built by Palladio disciple Mattoni in the 17th century, and it is noteworthy for its series of frescoes by Giambattista Tiepolo that, taken together, create an elaborate mythological world. In the separate guest house are the frescoes depicting an idealized country life by Tiepolo’s son, Giandomenico.

On your next trip to Venice it’s worth considering some of the Veneto’s attractions. You’re not likely to be disappointed.