VENEXIA XE BELA FABRICÀ SUL MAR, CHI NON LA POL VEDAR NO LA PO STIMAR (Venice is beautiful, built on the sea, who cannot see it cannot appreciate it)
This is a very old Venetian saying and well, who has been to Venice can only agree with this! (For more Venetian sayings you can visit my older post)
And Giselle Stafford from Gusto Wine Tours seems to share this idea as well, as it appears from her really entertaining post on her memories of Venice, which she so kindly accepted to write for me! Thanks Giselle!
An Unashamed Tourist!
Ok, so I live in Italy, but I’ve given up trying to pass as an Italian! Everyone knows it even if I don’t open my mouth! So I give into my urges to take photos every new place I go, gawp at the architecture and stand on street corners trying to make sense of the map in my hand.
In 2006 – during a two year ‘England’ period, I spent a week in Venice on a girly trip. Six of us staying in a cute hotel a few minutes from St Marks and all the excitement the piazza could offer… because we arrived in February – Just before Carnevale. The preparations were well under-way when we arrived and we were lucky enough to be there on the first couple of days of the festival.
Several memories make this particular trip stick in my mind ….
…. Getting up very early before the other girlies were awake, creeping out of the hotel and wandering around a sleeping Venice, watching the stall-holders setting up their wares, the ferries being sluiced down ready for the days onslaught of visitors. I watched as a young couple zig-zagged their way beside the Grand Canal – dressed up to the nines – wine bottle dangling from the guys hand,obviously on their way home after hanging an all-nighter!
…. Watching the main stage being built in Piazza San Marco throughout the week and having my curiosity satisfied regarding what they would be staging on our last night there… A costumed procession through the crowds that ended at the stage followed by a baroque fashion show!
… Wandering around the alleyways of Venice and coming across – randomly – fully masked and costumed Venetians (or were they? Everyone who was in costume were masked and mute – so who knows where they came from?! ) who would always stop and graciously allow a photo or two to be taken!
….Coming out of my room at the hotel one day to witness two German women in the widest, most ornate, pillar-box red period dresses I’ve ever seen trying to negotiate the stairwell and having to crab down the stairs sideways. They came every year and spent the year before arriving making their costumes and masks.
It was a magical week, the excitement of the build up to the Carnevale and giving in to the knowledge that yes, we were tourists and not above visiting all the tourist sights! Give in and go up to the top of the Campanile, visit the Basilica di San Marco and while you’re at it you may as well visit the amazing Palazzo Ducale! Museums, ferry trips, visit the glass making ‘factories’ on Murano, gaze at the brightly coloured fisherman’s cottages on Burano … Lose yourselves in the maze of alleyways – you’ll never be too far away from somewhere you recognise.
Two things I don’t think I will ever do while in Venice -
1. Take a ride on a Gondola – Lovely to look at, but personally, I wouldn’t pay that kind of money when the Vaporetto takes you down the Grand Canal just as well for a fraction of the cost!
2. Visit Harry’s Bar – even though I love a Bellini just as much as the next person – I will NOT pay those prices! Example? A burger (no fries) €62.
I did enjoy the sign they had put outside though a couple of years later……..
Venice is a spectacular pure and simple. There is nothing like it – well, Las Vegas has tried! (Spooky, but as it’s 100° at midnight it’s not quite the same!)
I will be back!
Bio: I’m Giselle Stafford and since 1999, and my first trip to Italy, Mark and I have been getting around to living here permanently and achieved this in 2007! We moved from our home land of England lock stock and estate car in September ’07 – all we owned in a Peugeot 306 estate! We now live with a view of the pretty town of Trevi to the front of us and the gorgeous Montefalco to the back with the added attraction of a vine-yard as a back garden.Gusto Wine Tours – a dream job in a region chock full of superb wine & wine makers and some of the best wines in the world! Of course, I couldn’t live anywhere that didn’t have fabulous food and here in Umbria we have it in spades! The best olive oil, cheeses, truffles, mushrooms, meats – oh, and pretty good chocolate too!
Our lives have been further enriched by the wonderful friends we have made here in this area – you know who you are! We’re also the very proud owners of Gusto Wine Tours
You can find Gusto Wine Tours On :
Twitter - @gustowinetours
Facebook - Gusto – Umbrian Wine Tours