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Tag Archives: Piazza San Marco

Venice in winter

14 Dec
So many people plan their trips to Italy in spring, summer or fall, but we have found off-season travel to be a real benefit to living in Rome. This was our sixth trip to La Serenissima – our third in a December — and it certainly will not be our last.
Clouds in the canal.

Clouds in the canal.

There are experiences to repeat each time (we always go to Murano) and seemingly endless new ones to add, whether a museum, a neighborhood, or a restaurant.
This time we went to the Correr Museum for the first time largely because they had a special mostre “The Poetry of Light: Venetian drawings from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. “  The Correr is a terrific, complex and comprehensive museum. Set in a 19th century Napoleonic-era palazzo, with a wing that dates to the 16th century and the Republic of Venezia, the buildings dominate Piazza San Marco and this time of year are seldom-frequented by tourists who are busy in the Piazza and queuing for the Basilica and Doges Palace. Surely those two edifices are worthy of attention and we have visited them multiple times, but what fun to see the Piazza from this new perspective as well. The Correr has  an amazing view over the Piazza from the south and we enjoyed watching people splashing about in the acqua alta that occurred this day.
Completing what we came to call our Museum Day, we made a repeat visit to the Guggenheim, which we had last visited in 2012. This was one of the busier places on a Sunday, mostly Italians, many educating their young children, providing a view into modern art with careful observations.  Picasso, Max Ernst, Calder and Pollock keep company with Miró, Dali and Magritte among others.  The location right on the Grand Canal could not be better. Imagine Peggy hosting a dinner party here!
Not yet Carnivale, but this little cutey has her mask.

Not yet Carnivale, but this little cutey has her mask.

Day two was our Urban Hike Day in which we wove together three walks out of my favorite Venice guide, “24 Great Walks of Venice.” This sunny and mild day we wandered in temperatures approaching 60 F (16 C), snapping photos and enjoying the almost deserted calli, bridges and canals.  You’d think in 4 hours of walking we would have covered the entire island, but we found ourselves saying “Gee, we haven’t been to Sant’Elena or out to San Giorgio Maggiore, or the Guideca.” In fact, we have not even entered the Basilica of San Marco in two years, despite 3 return visits in that time.

 

Day three dawned brilliantly sunny if chilly to start, but it made for a terrific day to visit Murano and do some shopping. I have a favorite glass artist there, Giorgio Bruno. He is a maestro and creates lovely jewelry, glassware, and decorative items. By now I have a nice collection of items as we have been there 5 times.  Giorgio and Michela invited us in for coffee and a visit before I got down to shopping. As always Cindy the dog was a love. She really took to Ric in a special way. Too bad I didn’t take a picture.
We also went in search of new restaurant experiences.  I have heard over and over that Venice is expensive and has bad food. That is not our experience at all! From a random bar near the Frari Church we had fat and tasty sandwiches. At a rustic little taverna in a sottoportego we once again had our favorite pizza in Venice.  Traipsing halfway across the city one night (which is not as far as it sounds)  we feasted on delectable baked turbot, expertly boned and served in a place bursting at the seams with locals but few tourists. As we have some go-to places after all of these visits, this trip we challenged each other to find new experiences and scored new two repeatable spots, Ai Artisti in Dorsoduro and Alla Palanca on the Guideca. Ric found a list of Venetian restaurants from the London Telegraph and our only disappointment was that some of them were closed on nights we had available. BTW, Alla Palanca is best for lunch. The chef goes home at 14:00 and there is no hot food at night. 
We have spent 24 nights in Venice since our first visit in 2010. Will we go back? You bet! We still have not climbed the Campinile in San Marco, there are several promising restaurants still on our list, and no doubt Giorgio will have some new bauble for me. Plus he promised to take us out to lunch the next time we visit!
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