My Favorite Apartment in all of Italy

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This is the view from our bedroom window.

If I win the lottery, I am buying this apartment and moving here. 

I tell our greeter that every time we come, and I’ve even met the owner and told him.  It was for sale once, and I tried (joking – or maybe not) to get the Sicilian family to go in with me – we could all put in money and split up the weeks.  They love visiting here, too.  But alas, we will have to settle for a couple of weeks here and there. 

When I walk through the door here, my soul is happy.

I am just going to post pictures so you can see for yourself. (And the best part is the roof – which I’ll show you next.)

If I disappear one day, you will know where to find me.  : )

Our New Address: Taormina

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Here is a picture of our new street – Vico Sacramento. 

We are in a great part of town, right off of Corso Umberto (the main drag) within the city walls of Taormina.

Taormina is a beautiful Sicilian town overlooking the Mediterranean.  It is the place where Sicilians go to vacation – along with everyone else.  We are here before the summer season begins – although we already have seen two cruise ships coming for the day. 

Taormina is my favorite town in Sicily – and we are back in our same apartment (for the 5th or 6th time, I’ve lost count).  They greet us like old friends now.

Here is our front gate – we have half of the top floor, plus part of the terrace.

We have a little courtyard filled with orange trees, which are blooming now.  The fragrance is heavenly!

Then a front door to our building.

Once inside . . .

Next – I’ll give you a tour!

But this is one of my favorite pictures – a little olive tree growing on the roof.

The Iconic Florian

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We are winding down our time in Venezia.  It will be so hard to leave.  To help us say good-bye, we spent a sunny afternoon in one of our favorite spots – listening to music at Caffe Florian, the oldest coffeehouse in Venice, dating from 1720 (www.caffeflorian.com).

The Florian is located on Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) and is a very special place for us.  It is beautiful inside, but if you’re lucky, the orchestra is playing outside on the piazza – and you can sit in the sunshine, have a spritz, and listen to the music. 

My parents first took me here – dancing in the piazza.

Then Frank and I had our first wedding toast here when we eloped to Venice (arranged by my family).

This year, the Florian closed for a time due to COVID.  We were worried it would not re-open.

When we finally made it back to Venice and to our favorite Florian, we looked at each other with tears in our eyes.  It has been a rough couple of years for all of us – but we are so happy to have taken a chance and jumped back into travel.  And happy that the Florian and other places so special to us are making a comeback, too.

I will leave you with a short video so you can feel the spirit of this magical place.

Trash Day in Venice

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Venice has very strict rules about trash pick-up – which is important.  No one wants trash in the Grand Canal!   

And since this is a city of boats, the trash boat comes around, rather than the garbage truck. 

They have several trash boats and certain places they tie up.  The garbage men go door-to-door to collect trash, or you can bring your trash to the boat.  (We never figured out the door-to-door bit so had to take our trash to the boat, which was at our local vaparetto stop, right down the “street”.)

Trash is collected at the boat from 6:30-8:30 am, so you have to be on your toes.  Many days we lingered too long and (literally) missed the boat. 

There is a schedule of the type of trash that they take each day:

So we always had 3 bags running – regular trah, paper, and pastic/glass/tin. 

We finally got a system of bagging the trash to be taken out the night before and having it ready to go for the early morning.

Then Frank would run down to the dock (thank goodness for Frank!).

At the dock, you load your trash into the bin . . .

And a crane moves it to the trash boat and drops it in the cargo hold.

Pretty slick!  (Although we will appreciate just wheeling our big cans to the end of the driveway once a week when we are home!)  

Pirates of the Venetian Lagoon

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We had the most fun dinner cruise last night – on a pirate ship in Venice!  And not just any pirate ship – The Jolly Roger!

We have done this cruise before and loved it, so it was definitely on our list for this visit. 

Despite the name, it is actually a very upscale pirate ship.

They start off by giving each table a whole bottle of prosecco and small appetizers.  Cheers!

Then on to a 5-course feast prepared right on the boat – they even do the cooking there!

The menu was very gourmet and the food was excellent.

There are only about 30 guests.  During our cruise, there was a birthday and a proposal!

As we dined and drank wine, the ship sailed around Murano, Burano, Torcello and then back to Venice, where they stopped and played “Time to Say Good-Bye” as we floated past St. Mark’s Square with our espressos and dessert. 

Venetian pirates certainly have style!

A Night on Murano

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We love exploring the islands of the Venetian Lagoon.  We have been to Murano a couple of times, known for its beautiful glass makers (vetri di Murano).  But it is usually mobbed by tourists like us!

So we decided to experience the “real” Murano after-hours by spending the night.

It turns out there is a little Hyatt in the middle of Murano, right by the Museo Vaparetto stop.  Who knew?

They have a lovely garden . . .

A trendy lobby –

And a nice restaurant (also a more casual pub/bar). 

Our room had an amazing view.

Once the crowds died down, we took a walk with the locals – here is the “real” Murano.

P.S.  I have two recommendations for anyone visiting.  We had one of our best meals at Ristorante Ai Piantaleoni  – try the Friturra Mista di Pesce (Fried Mixed Fish – lightly battered and VERY fresh) . They have the fish delivered each morning – I heard them from our room at 5 am when the fishing boat pulled up out front.  It is in the same “block” as the Hyatt.

And next door to the Hyatt is a wonderful glass shop (on an island full of them) – Tommasi – tommasi.it/en/ .  They have beautiful and artistic jewelry.  The Tommasi Family has had a furnace on Murano since 1933 and they make all the glass there.  Here’s my new necklace.  : )

Our Favorite Wine Store in Venice

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When we were here before, we discovered the most unique wine store – at least to us. 

It is very simple.

You purchase an empty 1-liter bottle (or bring your own).

You choose from a wide selection of kegged wines, and the storekeeper “pumps” the wine into your bottle, like beer.  (I do not know the proper terminology for this.)

It is very economical, too.  We got a liter of Cabernet Franc for 3 Euro 60 – including the plastic jug.

Next time we go back, it will even be cheaper since we’ll bring our own bottle back! We may even splurge for Prosecco!

Cin Cin!

P.S. If you are looking for this store, it is near Campo SS Giovanni e Paolo – across from a Coop market. On Google Maps, it is simply listed as “Wine Shop Across from Coop.” : )

Back to Burano – Scarves & Go Fish

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This weekend we made a pilgrimage back to our favorite island in the Venetian Lagoon – Burano. 

One reason it is special is that it takes a little work to get there.

We have to walk to Fondamente Nova – the quay on the other end of town and the board a vaparetto for about a 40-minute ride out in the lagoon. 

But it is so worth it.  

Scarves!!

They are famous for lace – and have the best source of scarves anywhere.  If you know me, you know this is my jam!  I always stock up.  Each shop is a little different – from everyday scarves to colorful scarves to handmade heirloom-quality scarves.  Here is me – very happy with my newly-acquired scarves. : )

My favorite shop is Martina Vidal.  They are especially meaningful to me because they helped me put together my wedding dress when we eloped in Venice 7 years ago. We went back and forth to Burano many times that trip for fittings.

And a picture of the dress . . .

And Go Fish!!

We also always pay a visit to Da Romano, which has been run by the same family for four generations.  https://www.daromano.it/en/ 

Photos of celebrities dining there line the wall, and numerous travel shows have highlighted their food.

The patriarch is 84 and still working – he and Frank always take a picture together. 

Their “risotto di Go” made with the “Goby” or “Go” fish (found only in the Venetian Lagoon) is amazing. 

I will leave you with a 2- minute video of how Go risotto is made and showing some of the other dishes we had (featuring Anthony Bourdain) –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLoANw-XwYo .

Buon Apetito!

Lunch with a View

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A short posting to show you our day.

I worked this morning, and then we walked over to Dorsoduro (the sestiere across the Grand Canal from us) for a late lunch – with a view!

http://www.ristorantelineadombra.com

We slowly meandered back home and stopped for cafe espresso under the Academia Bridge, with another great view.

Life in Venezia . . .