Come with us as we explore Italy and check out properties for Gira! Italian Vacation Rentals.
Having said our goodbyes in Trento, we get back to the A4 highway and drive east to Venice. We’re excited, as we haven’t been here for a while and there is a lot to see. It’s starting to drizzle, so we try to get to the stazione in Mestre with as little hassle as possible. From here, we take the short train ride across the land bridge and into the charmed land of Venezia.
By the time we get off the train, the rain is coming down harder and we’re lucky that we have remembered an umbrella. We weave in and out of the throngs heading toward us, who are trying to reach the station. I notice the poor t-shirt stands and the unfortunate souls who have to stand by them. Everyone is racing and no one is shopping.
We have agreed to meet the key holder for our apartment at the Ca’ San Marcuola vaporetto stop. The vaporetti are Venice’s version of a bus system, with stops all along the main canals. This particular stop is the first one away from the train station, so it was easier for us just to walk there. She does not realize this, and when we reach the stop, the boat has left and she seems to have lost track of her American clients. We greet her and she is delighted to have found us.
We walk a few blocks to our apartment and she checks us in with impressive efficiency–and humor. Your key holder is such a important part of your vacation, and she is one of the good ones. Our apartment is Cannaregio, a comfortable place on two levels with a cozy kitchen and living area and bath on one level and bedroom with smaller bath on the lower. It’s perfect.
The mobile rings and it is our friends (and business associates) from Florence. They arrived earlier in the day and have checked into Maria Nova, which is only a short walk away. They tell us that the architectural Biennale is happening and it’s a little tough to find a restaurant this time of year. They’re excited because they’ve been able to make a reservation at a really good place. And so are we.
We meet them at Maria Nova and it turns out to be a sweet apartment with a nice modern kitchen and clever furnishings. It’s on the second level of a building overlooking the Santa Maria Nova campo. Very well placed indeed! We walk from here to the restaurant at Taverna San Lio. Our evening becomes one of the most memorable restaurant experiences of our thirty day visit to Italy. The primo is a dark ravioli that is made with squid ink and covered with bottarga. Bottarga? It’s something very special, and you find it a lot in Sicily, we find out. Fish roe, dried into a solid block and cured in sea salt. The poor man’s caviar. It’s shredded over dishes such as pasta and other delights. We have been to Italy how many times, and have never learned about this. Something new every trip. The main course is a flat fish called rombo, a delicious course that we know as turbot.
Our hostess at San Lio is a charming and graceful woman who I am convinced has been a dancer some time in her life. Her expressions and movements say this to me clearly. She comes to our table and tells us some amazing news. It’s been raining a lot, but there is something more. Something I have only heard of rarely. They are expecting the acqua alta tomorrow!
The high water. It’s often in the news when it happens. We see the poor Venetians walking on platforms all over city. The water rises and precious historical treasures are threatened. I know it’s rare, but sometimes it can rise several feet above street level, and boats can cross Piazza San Marco.
Initially I feel a sense of dread. What a disaster! We are scheduled to walk all over Venice the next day and look at apartments. What could be worse?
And then I realize…how special! This is going to be very interesting!
Next: Venice in the Aqua Alta