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Venice June 2023

In Venice now (6/21/23) and it is HOT and humid: 88 degrees and 65% humidity. I don’t do well in heat and humidity. It is very taxing. I’m using cooling cloths on my neck and re wetting them at every opportunity. Somehow I can’t find my bandanas with the cooling beads. I know I packed them, so I’m sure I’ll find them as soon as we leave!

We arrived yesterday around 3 after driving from Santa Cristina Val Gardena. I had reserved parking at the parking garage at Piazzale Roma. It worked great. We’re driving a 8 passenger full size van. It’s a bear to park, but we were directed to the top floor and found a spot. You have to be an excellent driver to pull off a full size van in Europe! Not for the faint of heart.

I had also pre-paid for Rolling Venice and vaporetto passes through the Venice Utica website. When you order, you give everyone’s name. Then you get a receipt with a QR code and confirmation number. When you arrive, you scan the QR code or type in the code at the ticket kiosk and it prints your tickets, each with the person’s name on it. You don’t get a rolling Venice card anymore. I asked a cashier and he says they no longer have paper cards. I had a printout of my receipt, and he said that was acceptable.

We took the Vaporetto and checked in to our air bnb. I’ll provide details later. The place is fabulous.

We had dinner reservations on the patio at Taverna da Baffo. It was wonderful. A beautiful little campo on a side canal with gondolas floating by. The service was very friendly and helpful. They serve soda in glasses that are half full of ice (such a luxury)! They were very helpful choosing a wine. Between the 6 of us we had: margherita pizza, lasagna, a salad, rib eye steak, spaghetti with lobster (almost a whole lobster for 27€!), pasta with shrimp and pasta with mixed seafood, 3 sodas, two glasses of wine and two bottles of water for 172€.

After dinner we walked to St. Mark’s stopping for gelato along the way. It is impossible to NOT get lost in Venice, and you see tons of people following their phones. Speaking of people - they’re here for sure. The main streets are very crowded. The vaporettos are packed. St. Mark’s in the evening (9 ish) was lovely. A cool breeze was blowing, the orchestras were dueling. Ahhhhh, this is the good stuff. We wandered a little and made our way back to our stop on a packed night vaporetto.

The next day, we had reservations for 11:00 at St. Mark’s. I had warned everyone about having to check their bags, and the requirement to cover knees and shoulders. The guys in my family wore pants and were hating life. They definitely could have worn long shorts. Tons of people were. Maybe they loosen the rules in the summer.

This was my 4th time at St. Mark’s, and it’s just as spectacular each time. My sister loves stonework, and she was so impressed with the inlaid floors. I might not have even paid attention had she not been pointing out some of the details. That’s what is so fun about traveling with others - you see things through their eyes.

After St. Mark’s we went back to the hotel so the guys could change into shorts, then we did a little shopping, had lunch and headed to Murano. We explored a bit, then went to the glass museum. Very interesting and beautiful pieces in there. It took us at least an hour to walk from the Murano Faro stop to the museum. Google maps said it would take 11 minutes. That doesn’t take into account stopping into at least 20 shops along the way, plus a gelato stop!

We had a 6:30 reservation, but no one was hungry. We were just hot, exhausted and ready to return to our blissfully air conditioned apartment. What a thrill to come home to ice cubes, chilled drinks in the fridge, cool air and showers! I would never, ever, ever stay in Venice in the summer without ac!

To be continued…

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Bookmarking for the restaurant! Thank you - we're going to Venice next year; yes, in the summer!

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Adding my thanks for the restaurant link! Such a light hearted trip report…so sorry for that humidity on top of the heat!

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After a bit of a rest in the ac, 4 of the 6 in our group ventured out for dinner around 8 pm. We went to a place recommended by our host: Osteria Mocenigo

A small place with air conditioned indoor seating and a few tables outside. We sat inside. The place was about half full. Seems to be more of a local place, but they did have an English menu. Between us we had: a glass of house wine, a little caraf of house wine (error in ordering), a big bottle of water, a spritz, a scallops appetizer with great lightly battered vegetables, pasta bolognese, pasta with mixed seafood, rice with grilled veggies and lasagna. The total was 91€.

My brother in law orders pasta with mixed seafood in a butter sauce every chance he gets. He said this one was the best he’s ever had.

After dinner we strolled in search of gelato. It was about 10 and the cafes were hopping. Young adults packed the side streets in one area enjoying their drinks. We wandered to Gelateria Alaska. Along the way we came to a campo with a few cafes outside. We had to stop and take in the scene. It was a beautiful night, the lights were twinkling and it just felt like what you hope to see. You have to stop and savor those scenes, don’t just rush by to get to the next destination. I think it was Campo Nazario Suaro.

So far we’ve not had a bad meal in Venice, although we are on a learning curve as far as understanding the menus! It’s totally our fault, and we’re looking at it as part of the adventure. For example, my sister ordered a Vienna pizza with wurstel at lunch. Using google translate, wurstel is sausage. What she received was a pizza with sliced Vienna finger sausages on top. Not what was expected, but she likes Vienna fingers so it all worked out. A little throwback to childhood memories!

Another impact of the heat is it turns my brain to mush. I ordered a caprese salad, thinking I would get a salad (lettuce) with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella on it. My normal brain knows full well what a caprese salad is: just tomatoes, mozzarella and basil - and that’s what I got (plus a few pieces of bread). I had intended to split my salad with my sister (who hates tomatos), so that didn’t quite work! It’s all part of the adventure!

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Day 2 in Venice:

We had a lazy morning and left the apartment around 11:30. We wanted a lighter sandwich and headed to L’ Becaro de Bescheri, very close to the Rialto market. It’s a tiny walk up place with a counter outside to eat at that is covered ( yay shade!). The sandwiches are huge. Probably 6” x 6” for 9€. I had one with mortadella, pesto, tomato and lettuce on the best crunchy yet soft inside bread. Heavenly. It was easily the best sandwich I’ve ever had, and I love sandwiches. Put this one on your quick stop list, and share a sandwich for two people. My sister had some chicceti and LOVED it. Went back for seconds, after saying she wasn’t really hungry! And ate half my sandwich.

We had a 1:00 reservation for the Secret Itineraries tour at the Doge’s Palace. I had read all the reviews about it being hot. Knowing that I can’t handle heat, I have cooling towels, handheld fans that pop open like a car sun shield, and battery operated fans. I (and others in my group) used all of them. It was still super hot. The tour was very informative and our guide, Aga, was great. There were windows open in a few rooms, and big fans blowing. Still very hot. Bring a bandana to wipe your face. They have a bag check for backpacks, but you can bring in sling bags, Fanny packs, etc. Bring water.

After the tour, you are free to explore the public areas (including the bridge of sighs on your own. We spent about half and hour exploring. For those planning to do the palace and then St. Mark’s immediately after, give yourself 2.5 hours at the palace if you plan to move pretty quickly after the tour ends. More if you want to linger.

Thankfully a storm came in while we were on the tour and the sky clouded over and humidity dropped drastically. The wind picked up. The temps dropped a few degrees, but it felt 20 degrees cooler. We headed back to our apartment for a very much needed break. I just don’t know how people can do it without a break! Soon enough it was time to leave for our 7:00 reservation at Vini da Arturo. This place has become very popular since appearing in Somebody Feed Phil. They are famous for a pork chop cooked in vinegar. It’s very pricey (65€), and they only take cash. Between the six of us, we ordered two bottles of water, a spritz, a glass of house wine, a salad, spaghetti bolognese, one pork chop, pasta with radicchio, and sides: salad, potatoes & vegetables. Everything is served family style. The total was 220€.

We had plenty of food. I didn’t try the pork chop, but the others loved it. My brother in law said he would have picked it up and eaten it off the bone if he were at home, it was that good! Service was quick. They cleared plates very quickly. This was the first place where we felt like they wanted to turn the tables fast. Probably because the place only seats 30. You need to call for reservations.