We just got back from 16 days in Italy.  A great trip.  Here is a wrap up of our thoughts on Italy. Beautiful, historical, fantastic food, stores close from 2-330, Sundays appear to be a weekly National Holiday, the bathrooms in restaurants and museums are generally not what Americans are used to, the people are friendly, it is easy to get around if you don’t speak Italian. 

Venice_arrival_1Venice was our first stop.  I had not been to Venice in 25 years.  Not much has changed.  Still beautiful.  We arrived at the airport and took a cab over to the water taxi.  Gotta love that.  The kids surely did. 

We stayed at the Palace Bonvecchiati in Venice.  Great location, right off San Marco square.  The service was really good, the concierge was a big help in booking all our needs.  The rooms were a good size and really comfy. 

Once we dropped our stuff off at the hotel and freshened up, we started our journey.  We began at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum.  The kids loved it.  They knew all the artists and loved the fact that Peggy Guggenheim had collected all the art.  The museum is small too.

PralinesWalking back to our next designation we caught an open air market.  Our favorite.  Salamis, cheeses, pralines and even liqueurs.  Josh_chocolate_liquorHere is Josh realizing that the small tart he had was filled with a taste of chocolate liqueur. 

We walked over to the Palazzo Grassi Museum where they were having an exhibit of the Francois Pinault Collection, a Post-Pop selection.  It was absolutely fantastic.  At the end of the trip, the kids actually said this was their favorite show.  I guess Modern Art is more there thing.  Can’t imagine where they get that from.  There were pieces from Paul McCarty, Damien Hurst, Ed Ruscha and Jeff Koons to name a few. 

BellinisBack to the hotel for a snooze and the attempt to get on the Italian time zone.  We got up and walked over to the classic Harry’s Bar for some bellinis before dinner.  Afterward we had dinner at Alla Testieri which is a very small restaurant with maybe 6 tables.  Fish is mainly what they serve.  I would not run back there when we return to Venice. 

The next morning we got up and took a boat out to Murano Island.  It was Sunday so not much is opened but we did see an exhibit on how glass was blown.  The kids were very intrigued and it is pretty cool to watch.  The heat, the molding of the glass etc.  Of course they try to wrangle you into a purchase from their "famous artisans" but the prices were outrageous and we decided to take a pass.  We boarded a taxi to take us back to Venice.Water_taxi  We used the taxis a lot.  They are definitely the easiest way to get around the island. 

We lunched at All’Aciughetta which is a really good pizzeria.  We tasted quite a bit of pizza during our trip.  We took a water bus all the way around Venice afterward which is an easy and relaxing way to see the city.  Dinner was at Al Covo.  Very romantic intimate restaurant.  They were sort of snippy in there.  The pumpkin ravioli doused in a ragu was delicious.  The kids had sliced rare steak with a few different sauces which was also a winner.  But as a whole, nothing fantastic. 

The next day we got up and went to the L’Academie Gallerie, On_the_canalCava Rinaldo, San Marco Church and a few other sites.  We generally came back to the hotel in the afternoon to chill and watch some flicks.  Netflix was the key.  I got a big order before we left. 

The last night we went to Il Gondolieri.  Hands down the best meal in Venice.  The service was lovely.  One of the waiters had actually worked in NYC at a restaurant I knew the year before.  Most meals we went for 2 courses and sometimes a few pastas in between for sharing.  They start you off there with a big glass stuffed with raw veggies and of course, the classic, glass of prosecco for all.  I do believe there is a drinking age in Italy but it is never enforced.  All the kids were given wine glasses every night and the usual glass of prosecco.  Josh had a mushroom lasagna that night which was incredible.  Rich and flavorful.  Fred and I had the roasted and fried veggies of the moment, zucchini, onions, artichokes and artichoke hearts.  They love artichokes in Italy and so did we.  For our main courses we had veal escallops with spinach (another Italian fave), beef braised with red wine and porccini mushrooms, pork medallions with more mushrooms, thyme and polenta.  Our dessert, which we all shared and duked it out for the last bite, was chocolate mousse with rice krispies, a gooey chocolate souffle and small cookies including a white pistachio taffy.  So good.  We voted Ill Gonolieri our favorite in Venice.

VeniceOne of the best things about traveling in Venice at this time of the year it that it isn’t so crowded.  Although the weather was chilly, it wasn’t that cold.  Nice to walk.  Many  nights when we walked back we were literally the only people on the street.  Very relaxing.  As a rule, the best food will not be found in Venice and one fantastic find out of three isn’t so bad.

Comments (Archived):

  1. scott partee

    Oh wow! Great posts about Italy. I’m saving them all for trip planning purposes in the future. We’re hoping to get to Rome and Naples this coming spring; I’m excited!

    Also, that picture of surprised josh is an all-time favorite!

  2. Andrew

    Noting your book-laden sidebar… have you read any of the Donna Leon Venice murder series? I just read the first one, and enjoyed it.