The soulful sounds of an Italian opera reached in through the window and coaxed me from my slumber. As I became aware of the conversations floating up to me from the passers-by below our window â€“ it hit me. Iâ€™m in Italy!
Italian is one of the most beautiful languages ever! Itâ€™s beautiful to listen to and beautiful to speak. Simply put â€“ Italian is sexy!
At one time in Italy, there were hundreds of different dialects of Italian spoken. This got to be pretty confusing so the powers that be decided there should be one dialect chosen as the common or â€œofficialâ€ one for all of Italy. From all of the dialects submitted, they chose the most beautiful â€“ the Florentine dialect Dante used when he wrote his Inferno.
Imagine choosing the most beautiful dialect from an already beautiful language â€“ no wonder Italian is the most romantic of all the Romance languages!
We awoke from our nap in time to start thinking about dinner. Wandering the â€œstreetsâ€ of Venice at night is even more magical than during the day. The lights from the buildings are reflected in the water of the canals and itâ€™s the best time to window shop. Stores are closed but they display their wares â€“ beautiful masks and glassware â€“ in lit window displays.
We found a nice little restaurant several twists and turns through narrow alleys later and enjoyed a delicious risotto with a wonderful bottle of Prosecco (Italian sparkling wine).
Breakfast was included at our hotel so we were disappointed when we went downstairs the next morning to find that it had already finished. Feeling very confused, we soon discovered that Venice time is an hour ahead of London timeâ€¦.
When we werenâ€™t eating pizza, pasta or risotto or sampling all of the delicious flavours of gelato (Ferrero Rocher was to die for!), we spent our time wandering around, just taking it all in.
Piazza San Marco is one of the most photographed squares in Venice â€“ and possibly the world. Everywhere you look, you are surrounded by amazing buildings, huge crowds of people, millions of pigeons and musicians serenading the customers at the outdoor cafes. There is a beautifully baroque church and a tall bell tower, which offers amazing views.
After our three days in Venice were up, we hopped onto a vaporetto (water bus) which took us along the Grand Canal to Lido and to our beautiful B&B, the Casa Delle Rose. There are three rooms at the B&B â€“ the Green Room, the Blue Room and the Pink Room. All are amazing (I made sure to peek into each one) â€“ ours was the Pink Room.
This place was fabulous, the photographs on their website didnâ€™t even do it justice â€“ and our host Stefano was really nice.
Lido has a totally different vibe than Venice. For one thing, there are cars on this island, but there is also lots of space. Itâ€™s more â€œnormalâ€ â€“ it doesnâ€™t have the quaint old world charm of Venice and isnâ€™t covered in hundreds of snaking canals. What it does have though, is a fabulous beach. It also has some great running trails (we were trying to keep a balance between all the gelato and pasta and keeping active).
You can rent these funny two seater (side by side) bikes, which were just too silly to resist. We rented one for an hour â€“ which was enough â€“ those things are hard to pedal up hill!
For my birthday dinner, we wanted to go somewhere special. We had avoided most of the bad food/bad wine tourist traps that are prevalent in Venice, mostly by sticking to places a little more “down home” looking – and ones that were frequented by locals. We had a few fave spots that we frequented for the deliciously simple four cheese pizza or the home made ravioli with good house reds. The only bad house wine we were served tasted like cherry coke – but well, we managed to drink it anyways.
Chatting with a British/American couple over breakfast – we got a recommendation from them for a great restaurant – Casin Dei Nobili. If you are ever in Venice, this place is a must! Outstanding food and wine at reasonable prices, great atmosphere and service. We LOVED our fresh pasta and the bottle of pinot grigio we ordered. The chocolate dessert was heavenly and they even gave us free digestifs at the end of our meal – limoncello – a lemon flavoured licquer.
The place got packed and we found it amusing when one of our fellow diners was given the royal treatment – his own chair and some tasty snacks. He remained very well behaved while eyeing his neighbor’s pizza.
Â We considered taking a gondola ride but after checking with a few gondoliers and being quoted 80 – 100 euros for a half-hour ride, we opted to stand on one of the main bridges instead and enjoy the sights and sounds of many gondolas for free.
Â As our magical time in Venice came to an end, having almost eaten our fill of Italian delights and tickled our tongues with enough Prosecco bubbles, we were ready to say ciao ciao and head back to Frankfurt. But first, a final picture of the Darth Vader statue that sits majestically and strangely on Lido.
Â With that, we hop on the vaporetto which whisks us to our bus, which whisks us to the airport, where we fly to Frankfurt to meet up with Curtis’s mom and her friend for a month long road trip. Stay tuned.