Tag-Archive for » Venice dining «

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.

Jul
30

In the distant past chandeliers were so rare and expensive that only royalty could afford them. Nowadays, there are so many different styles of chandeliers available at all price levels that it is easy to get overwhelmed by all the choices! The right choice of a chandelier is extremely important as it is one of the most important details of the interior design. That is why people who care about the look and style of their home and want to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere often look for a unique, one-of-a-kind chandelier. Just such a chandelier can be found in Murano, Italy.

Murano island, located just north of Venice, Italy, is a world-famous center of glassmaking that has been housing the glass producers since the thirteenth century. All of the glassmakers were moved to this island in 1291 from Venice as a result of dangerous fires jeopardizing the largely wooden structures of Venice. These days, all the major Murano glass producers are still based on this small island, and they keep up the ancient glassmaking traditions.

Murano glass chandeliers are entirely hand-made in the ancient traditions of the craft using the same techniques and tools that were employed by the artisans’ predecessors centuries ago. That is why when you are purchasing a Murano chandelier, you are not simply purchasing an object that was made to light a room, you are actually purchasing a one-of-a-kind piece of history that has been created by master artisans with care and passion. Murano glass is extremely high-quality and certainly one of the best types of art glass in the world, so when you buy a Murano chandelier, you can rest assured that you are buying the very best.

If you happen to be looking for a Murano chandelier, there are many things to consider before you purchase one. First of all, if you are not buying your chandelier physically in Murano, make sure you are dealing with a reputable seller who carries only authentic Murano glass. For that you need to know whether the seller or the maker of the chandeliers are members of Consortium Promovetro – the only Venetian Glass industry organization that promotes authenticity of Murano glass against the multitude of counterfeits and fakes available in the world today. Quoting from the Consortium’s website, “it represents over 70 craft and industrial businesses on Murano and in Venice. Since its foundation, Promovetro has worked hard to promote the image of Murano’s artistic glass with the declared intent of conserving, safeguarding and defending Murano’s thousand year old art of glass, and at the same time to promote, develop and assist in properly marketing this important cultural heritage in the world.”

Secondly, decide on a style you like, the size, and the number of lamps you need. Murano glass chandeliers come in multitude of designs from classic ones that vary little from the antique pieces hanging in Venetian palazzos to art deco or modern ones with clean lines and bold colors. Usually due its handmade nature, each chandelier can be further customized to your requirements in terms of the colors and number of lamps. Keep in mind that Murano artisans can create anything from small and simple wall sconces to large and intricate concert-hall pieces.

Thirdly, consider the price ranges for the chandelier styles you are interested in and definitely do your research to ensure you are getting a good deal. A quick online search will bring up multiple results that will not only allow you to locate the online retailers that will sell a Murano chandelier, but will also let you explore the various styles and compare prices. Just keep in mind as you are doing that to always ensure authenticity, as counterfeit pieces from China and other places outside of Venice will cost much less than the genuine ones. If you cannot buy in Murano, you are usually better off going with a direct importer than with a reseller, who not only has limited knowledge of the market and the products, but also will often charge a higher price and add extra fees to your order.

Last but not least, you need to consider where you are going to put it. A Murano chandelier is not just a light fixture, but a beautiful masterpiece with rich history. It is a treasure that, if placed right, will create a special atmosphere in your home or office. Hanging it in a formal entryway, over a dining room table or in a living room are some of the options, but keep in mind that it needs to work well with the rest of your dcor and color scheme.

While there is a multitude of chandeliers on the market today, there is simply nothing that compares to a Murano glass chandelier. The unique design, the amazing heritage, combined with the perfect skill and passion that goes into making these beautiful pieces of art is unparalleled in the world.

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
21

To Venice

To Venice – one and only. No other cities in the world come even close to Venice. The water streets and the entire pedestrian city is just a dive into the past, where time stops and people walk suspended between eras as the world turns and Venice remains an island. The buildings and the hundreds of little squares are just beautiful, some “Calle”, (the Venetian name for streets) are so narrow that it is possible to touch from part to part extending your arms. Little shops, restaurants are all over and comfortable Locandas (Inns) are ready to welcome you. In Venice, the art speaks by itself. Visit Piazza San Marco, the Bell Tower, The Fenice theater, Ponte di Rialto or the Ponte dei Sospiri, then Take a couple of hours to visit Murano and its glass workshops. Gondolas sail everywhere, replacing noisy and polluting cars. On high tide season special wooden walkways are placed in the city, as it floods for several days. If you happen to be there during the Carnival, you can see Venice at its best, where customs and masks are worn and the atmosphere becomes even more surreal than usual, creating and extraordinary and magical experience. Another special event is the boat race on the Canal Grande, where the city stops to watch this spectacular show. For centuries Venice has been a city leader in the commerce and an important seaport, it was already important when Marco Polo made his expeditions to China, as another of its citizens, Casanova, highlighted Venice romantic and sometimes libertine tone

Jul
17

Florence does not simply regard itself as home to the greatest of Italy’s regional culinary traditions, but as the birthplace of all Western cookery. Florentines will tell you that it was the sixteenth-century Catherine de Medici who taught the French to cook by taking with her a team of Tuscan chefs when she married the Duke of Orleans, later to become King Henry II of France.

While it is hard to tell if the above is true or false, there is no doubt Florence can reward the wise traveler in search for good local food, especially if he/she manages to get off the beaten track. The key is to find a place that looks as though it’s popular with locals. If you find such a place, you’re probably onto a winner, both price and taste wise.

As in most cities, the cheapest eating places can be found in the area surrounding the main railway station, with the more upmarket restaurants being located in the central area. Some excellent, moderately priced establishments are located in Oltrarno, the traditionally less respectable south side of the river.

As it is always the case in Italy, it’s preferable to order dishes that are traditional to the region, not least because this helps ensure the freshest ingredients. Tuscan cuisine, and Florentine in particular, continues to adhere to many peasant traditions, combing basic ingredients and simple cooking methods. Nevertheless, the finished result is nothing if not impressive..

The Florentine steak (‘bistecca allla fiorentina’), believed to date back to the Etruscans, is a perfect example. Many in the English-speaking world would call this a Porterhouse or a T-Bone and wonder what the fuss is all about. In reality, a ‘Florentine steak’ is cut closer to the center of the steer than a North American T-bone, so it includes a full circle of the tenderloin. Apart from the cut, much of the secret is the breed of cattle: the best steaks come from the Chianina breed, which is known as the oldest breed of cattle in the world, and they are thick cut, weighting at least 800g. Cooked on the grill, served rare and, on occasion, with a wedge of lemon on the side, a Fiorentina can easily satisfy two people, but there are those brave enough who will attempt to eat one all by themselves!

The soups are well worth trying as they are derived from peasant traditions as well. The most delicious, famous Florentine soup is ‘ribollita’, made with a mixture of stale bread, beans, ‘cavolo nero’ (a black cabbage grown in Tuscany, similar to kale or Swiss Chard) and other typical Tuscan vegetables. As with many leftovers, ribollita always tastes better the day after! Other delicious soups are ‘pappa con il pomodoro’ (a tomato-based soup that’s thickened with bread) and ‘minestra di farro’ (spelt or barley soup with beans, tomatoes, celery and carrot). While some of these soups might not sound terribly appealing to your palate, they are absolutely delicious, simple and hearty.

Extra-virgin olive oil is held in pride of place in Florence, and it is never missing from the Florentine table. Olive oil is used as a dip for foods such as celery, artichokes and ‘pinzimonio’ (a selection of fresh vegetables). It is also used in cooking, and as a dressing for salads and delicious ‘bruschetta’ (grilled slices of unsalted bread topped in a variety of ways). The one made with red cabbage and beans is a local favourite and must be tasted to be believed!

Other Florentine and Tuscan specialities to look out for are ‘crostini’ (a smaller variety of bruschetta topped with pate’ or diced tomatoes), ‘panzanella’ (a cold mixed summer salad with breadcrumbs), ‘pappardelle sulla lepre’ (ribbon pasta with hare), ‘pappardelle al cinghiale’ (pappardelle with wild boar sauce) and ‘fagioli all’uccelletto’ (beans in tomato sauce usually served as a side dish).

If you have a sweet tooth, try to get your hands on a slice of ‘schiacciata alla fiorentina’. It is an orange-flavored sponge cake, covered with confectioner’s sugar and filled with pastry or whipped cream. Although typically served around Carnival, it can be found at Florence’s pastry shops year round. ‘Cantuccini di Prato’ are dry almond biscuits that are dipped in ‘Vin Santo’, a sweet, aromatic dessert wine.

Tuscany produces some of the finest wines in Italy, the most famous of which is probably Chianti. ‘Chianto Classico’ is produced in the area to the south of Florence – one of several production zones for Chianti. ‘Vernaccia di San Gimignano’, a white wine which was a favourite of Lorenzo de’ Medici, is another good local wine to try. If you are serious about your wines, pay a visit to an enoteca, where you can taste, enjoy and buy a range of quality wines.

Finally, if a quick snack is what you are looking for, head to a ‘friggitoria’, to have some ‘polenta fritta’ or ‘crocchette’ – or to one of the tripe stands which can be found all around the city. These traditional Florentine stands usually serve sandwiches filled with ‘lampredotto’ (stuffed cow’s stomach). They may not sound too appealing to your taste, but to paraphrase an old adage ‘When in Florence…’

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, Milan and Venice.

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.

Jul
12

If you are coming to Southern California there are so many things to do with so little time. If you are looking to get away from the city and enjoy a nice quiet peaceful vacation then you should head out to Palm Springs. Palm Springs is full of shopping, fine dining, spa’s, even nudest colonies. An endless array of golf and tennis courses. Casino’s if you love to gamble, they also have plenty of concerts and a comedy show every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. If you have children or love to have fun, there is a waterpark on the days when a pool just does not seem enough. There is also the Palm Springs air museum. Near by is the Children’s discovery museum. If you like to see plays, there is The Folly’s which is for an older crowd, and not too far away is the McCullum theater. Every Thursday night is the street fair, where the city closes off the strip to traffic, for food, music, horse & carriage rides, art, and tons of booths to choose from. Near by is Indio California, known for its festivals. Depending on what time of the year you choose your vacation, you might end up around the time of a festival. There is the riverside county national date festival, which is a carnival, concerts, rodeo, monster trucks, ostrich races and many more. Tamale festival, which is full of people competing to make the best tamales, tons of food, rides and games for the kids. The Coachella music and Arts festival and lets not forget the Palm Springs Film Festival,just to name a few. Palm Springs is full of celebrities that live here locally or just come to get away, whatever the case may be you are bound to have a relaxing time in beautiful Palm Springs. You can not leave California without visiting, Universal Studios, located in Universal City, CA (Los Angeles) Outside of universal studios is the beautiful city walk, with shops, food, The hard rock cafe, movies and one of my favorites Tommy’s world famous chilie burgers. If you are in to theme parks not too far away is Magic Mountain located in Ventura. If you are going to be in Los Angeles, Venice Beach is a nice place to spend the day. Full of food, dining, shows and people you will probably never see anywhere else. Right next to Venice is Santa Monica, there is a promenade and a peer there, with food, arcade games and rides. I think Los Angeles pretty much has made a name for its self, there are endless things you can do there. Go to Hollywood down sunset strip. Check out Beverly Hills Rodeo drive, go by the staple center for any number of events, in the summer there is ESPN’s X games, year round the WWE wrestlers come, many concerts and tons of fun for a first time visitors coming to Los Angeles. Lets not forget about Long Beach, where you can go out to the aquarium of the pacific and then head downtown to site see. Then there is Orange County, who wants to come to California and not go to Disneyland. Right near Disneyland is the Angels stadium, if you are a fan of baseball. Lasts but certainly not least, San Diego California. A beautiful city, fine dinning, and tons of night life. If you are looking to lay out, head over to Mission beach. You can rent skates, bikes, surf boards, ride roller coasters, win prizes and have fun for the entire family. If you are looking to get away and relax I would suggest going to Palm Springs. If you have a family and are looking for amusement parks and beaches, defiantly check out Los Angeles. What ever you choose, you will can not go wrong when it comes to Southern California.

Jun
27

Food was extremely important in ancient times. Mostly it was up to individual families to supply their own food sources and history is full of starvation stories. Wars have been lost or won on the supply of salt, or the scarcity of food.

Salt was once so valuable it was used as money. In Rome and Venice, salt was part of the soldier’s weekly pay. It not only seasoned food, it was an important means of preservation. Although salt and some methods were common to most nations, each dealt with their food supply according to what was available.

India’s food history:

Ancient cultures in India grew wheat and lentils and raised beef, pork, goats and chickens for food. Yet in 650 A.D. the Hindu religion forbade the eating of beef; cows were sacred to their Mother Goddess and beef was eliminated in her honor.

In 1100 A.D. the Islamic religion made some inroads into this country and they removed pork from their diet. Their vegetarian diet consisted mainly of wheat, chick peas, and rice, yoghurt.

China’s food history:

Rice has always been a staple food in China. It was the first grain grown there along the Yang-tse River as early as 5000 B.C. It was cooked as we cook it today, in water.

Records show that in Northern China a long ago as 4,500 B.C. millet was being farmed in Northern China. Before that they gathered wild millet. So basically their diet consisted of rice, millet, sorghum. And of course soybeans, this legume being native to the region. Anise and ginger were grown as flavorings and these are likewise native.

Egyptian food history:

Wheat and barley was grown in the Nile valley. This country, because of the hot, dry weather, was limited in its agriculture. Wheat and barley grew well and it was eaten in many different ways, as bread, as soups and as porridge. Hops were added to it and beer was made.

Meat was also an important crop and meat markets were common. Although mutton, poultry were eaten, Pork was not. They believed that if one ate pork they would catch leprosy. Dates were an important dessert item on their tables.

Western Asia food history:

Wheat, barley, lentils, chickpeas, or garbanzo beans were eaten way back then and still is. The chickpeas were ground and made into falafel and humus. The hill people, the shepherds and goat herders subsisted mainly on cheese, yoghurt, mutton, and milk.

From their wheat and barley they made their bread into pita bread or pizza like bread, much in the same way as they

Jun
25

Snapshot of Venice

A Love Affair with Venezia

Venice to the tourist, Venezia to the Italian, and Venexia to the Venetian, but whatever you choose to call it, it is one of Italy’s most captivating cities. This city of canals carves its way through several small islands nestled within the marshy lagoons along the Adriatic Sea, and takes its place as the capital of the Veneto region. With its shoreline embracing the Adriatic, it’s no wonder it was considered a major sea power, making it an important staging ground during the Crusades, a leading area for commerce, and a central inspiration for the arts during the Renaissance.

One only needs to stroll the streets of Venice to feel the whimsical wonderment, which captivates and lures you in to days long gone. The intricate detailed architecture of the buildings will keep you in awe as you wander through every nook and cranny. Though there is a blending of modern alongside the pieces of the past, the newness has not overshadowed the splendor of this ancient city, which was founded in 568 following the emigration of refugees escaping the invasion of northern Italy by the Lombards. The narrow paths and walkways are not only crowded by tourists, but the ghosts of yesterday hauntingly carry you along your journey, as you step back in time.

Whether you are there for its beauty or a connoisseur of sorts, Venice will offer up a dish of something for everyone. Though often crowded by tourists, this city is not hard to navigate at all. Once you abandon your car at a parking garage/lots, or step off the Train at Venezia S. Lucia station, the paths are clearly marked by yellow signs pointing the path of the most common sites visited in Venice. In addition, there are many water taxi/bus stations along the canal, each having maps noting your location; and if you are feeling intimidated and unsure, you can purchase a water taxi/bus ticket and tour the city by boat.

The streets of Venice are lined with small shops, selling everything from souvenirs, Murano glass, carnivale masks, art, jewelry, clothes, food, wine, bread, gelato, and more. There are open-air markets where you can buy fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and souvenirs. One of these al fresco markets can be found at the famous and oldest bridge in Venice, The Rialto, which spans across the Grand Canal. The Rialto, itself, consists of two covered inclined ramps, which lead to the central portico. Small shops line the covered ramps of the Rialto.

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