Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Three Days in Venice

It just sounds romantic, doesn’t it? Some people might shiver (literally) at the thought of visiting Venice is the cold dead of winter, but for Luigi and I, it was perfect. I might add we’ve had an unseasonably mild winter (ok, until the last 2 days), so the weather really was not a factor on our quick trip. Better yet, January is probably the lowest month of the tourism and therefore, we at times felt we had all Venice to ourselves.

We spent two nights at one of my favorite little inns,
Ca' Angeli, in the San Polo neighborhood. In my opinion, the location is just right: five minutes to Rialto Bridge, 15 minutes from Piazza San Marco and 15 minutes to the train station. It is also feels a bit more local in the area.

We ate several FANTASTIC meals (and one really bad one!):

Antico Panifico – This is a nice pizzeria located at San Polo 945/A/B. The serve a massive variety of pizzas in addition to pasta and second dishes. I think their pizza is some of the best in Italy. My favorite is the spinach and ricotta – just a delicious combination!

La Patatina – A very local, small establishment serving typical Venetian plates. My antipasto of steamed clams was big enough for two people and my second (Lui’s too) was grilled sepia with polenta – YUM! The trattoria is located at San Polo 2741/A (at the San Polo bridge, tel: 041 523 7238). People are seated together on benches so it has a very cozy feel.

Osteria Vivaldi – Another charming restaurant with maybe 12 tables. I ate one of the best meals of my life here (no joke!). Gransoporo is steamed brown cab in a butter sauce. Luigi spent the entire meal laughing at my over joyous and gluttonous behavior where digging into each crab leg. Pure heaven! The Osteria is located just around the corner from Ca’Angeli at San Polo 1457, tel: 041 523 8185.

To counter balance our overindulgent appetites, Luigi and I walked and walked and walked – which is what Venice is perfect for. We visited each neighborhood of the island and basked in its architectural beauty. We also did the typical “musts” visiting Piazza San Marco and its gorgeous mosaic church, shopping the Rialto and even doing “The Secret Itineraries of the Doge’s Palace” tour – fun and interesting.

It was Luigi’s first time in Venice and he fell in love. I have been there several times, but it has become one of those places that remains with me, long after the visit. Its beauty is unparallel in that there is no other city like it. The buildings are so regal and exotic. The absence of car traffic gives it a special tranquility. The people are very open and generous. The food is just wonderful. And although, its reputation is “expensive”, we found it relatively reasonable outside of San Marco.

It truly is one of the most spectacular places on earth…