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  • crystaljohnson

Venice, Italy

I began this post IN Venice but something didn't jive with my post and the internet; so I'm telling the story again and I don't mind one bit! I definitely want these memories to last forever.

We arrived on a rainy morning and took a water taxi to our hotel. There are several ways to reach your destination from the airport. The water taxi seems to be the quickest and was easily arranged with our hotel. There are options to go by water bus (makes many stops) or by car (which still requires a boat or hauling the luggage and walking).

The ride was quite an experience! Between the rain, choppy water and being in the smaller of the boats along the way, it felt like our driver was surfing the waves. I don't think I've seen any group of people better able to manuver boats. They would back up, turnaround, park and cross paths in such close proximity to each other with no accidents. Total respect for those guys - and the boats are gorgeous.

The first (and only other) time I visited Italy (2012) was also my first visit to Europe. Italy was the biggest item on my bucket list and lived up to every expectation +++. My husband and I stayed at Hotel Flora the first time and I booked it again for this recent trip. This jewel box of a hotel is one of my very favorite places. It is locally owned and details here are paid attention and care. The staff is friendly, accommodating and attentive. From the courtyard garden to the breakfast service and cozy bar - I love this place.

Being that Venice was experiencing a torrential downpour at the time of high tide, there was a lot of water outside. Once we saw what was happening we decided to stay in and eat dinner at our hotel. Now, they only have 5 menu items in the bar and we ate 2 of those for we ordered the other 3 and enjoyed them immensely. Amazingly, ALL the water was gone in the morning.

Why does everything taste so much better in Europe? We had a tasty bean soup (not pictured), caprese salad and a meat and cheese board. Most the products were local. I'm convinced this makes all the difference. They had the best "corn nuts" ever [we ordered a second jar]. Valpolicella Classico from the Veneto region was the perfect red wine to enjoy with this range of foods.

I found a new after-dinner drink to search for once home, Jefferson. This Amaro (digestif liquor, meant to enjoy after dinner alone OR create a cocktail for anytime) is lighter than whiskey, a little sweet and a little bitter with citrus flavors. Lovely. Pictured in the glass with a lemon peel.

A drizzly wander around Venice to the popular Piazza San Marco.

Venice street food tour! What an amazing experience - and no need for dinner afterward.

There is a tradition of cichetti in Venice. This is similar to Spain's tapas and does not disappoint!

We paired a small drink with some of the bites as our guide shared history and her favorite recommendations trotting through the Venetian streets. I booked via Viator and looked for a small group size. The tour was hosted by Neele of Tasty Tours. HIGHLY recommended!

One bar, Cantina do Mori, was a haunt of Cassanova...with doors on either side for a quick exit if trouble arose. Sad to celebrate such a dirty character, but scandal sells, even from the 1700's!

-Tour guide at Cantina do Mori

-Various cichetti on a board

-Sardines with onions


-Cuttlefish in ink with Polenta

-Interior of Cantina do Mori

-Pork, brie and caramelized onion sandwich from Alla Fonda - I also had THE BEST Prosecco here. Ask for Erasmo, Cuvee de Barena.

-Gelato shop

One thing that truly stands out in Europe is the combination of ancient and modern. The amazing architecture and influence of the past is an ever-present setting for artists of today.

Bibi on the Ball II by Carole A. Feuerman

Ciao Venice! Next stop - Siena.

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