I am writing this trip report in a jet lagged state as I returned yesterday afternoon on a direct flight from Venice, yay! We left on 8/24 arriving 8/25 early in the morning and flew home yesterday 9/03. We had 9 nights there, a magical trip hard to imagine any other trip matching it in the charms department. We had unexpectedly fantastic weather, brilliant blue skies and temperature in the 70’s almost every day. One or two days, mornings were cloudy with a little rain but sunny skies before noon. Two or three evenings we had thunderstorms, one time a dramatic hailstorm in which a hailstone hit me in the back which felt like a rock.
We did a lot of wandering the day of arrival and exploring our neighborhood, Santa Croce near the San Stae vaporetto stop. We loved our Campo, Campo San Giacomo da L’ Orio, a homey, cozy place like a square where the locals gather at lunch and evening or any time of day. The children play, adults chat and shop at the Coop grocery store. Restaurants abound as well as a gelato shop that sells artisanal gelato. It’s a local scene away from the hustle of St. Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge and Market. I would stay there again.
On 8/26, we took a train to Padua to see St. Anthony’s Basilica, the Scrovegni Chapel (must buy timed tickets in advance online), very moving. We also toured the University of Padua, advanced timed tickets bought online. A highlight was the University’s School of Medicine’s operating theatre. Very old school established in 1222.
On 8/27, I decided to find a specific gift shop in the Castello sestiere using my Citymapper app. The big challenge is crossing the Grand Canal, the app led me over the Rialto Bridge and I eventually found the shop on Strada Nuova. I then had lunch at an outdoor cafe and chatted with an Italian lady and her mother. She’s a native Venetian, speaks English and dresses fashionably as Venetian ladies do. I asked how she felt about tourists and she was diplomatic about it but acknowledged the special problems with cruise ship day trippers. When I was ready to leave, she told me to take the Traghetto at San Sofia which takes you directly over the Grand Canal avoiding the crowds on the Rialto Bridge. It was an adventure sitting in the lightweight shell of a boat, I wondered to myself how many people drown in the Grand Canal.
This evening of 8/27our tour begins with a meeting at the hotel at 4 pm. We then have a wonderful private boat tour of Venice and then a delicious dinner! It’s a small group tour with a former RS guide and 12 people.
I will post more later.