Venice was a place that Gabi has always wanted to visit and Mike was not too keen on going back to Italy. We compromised and made it our first trip. All in all it turned out to be a good time and is a very pretty city. We would strongly recommend not going in the summer, as it was extremely crowded already in May. Venice is also expensive, bring lots of cash and just don't worry about it. For example, Gabi and I stopped in at Cafe Florian on St. Mark's Square to warm up and enjoy the mini-orchestra. Two coffees, one torte and two cover charges (yes, most restaurants charge you just to sit down) = $40. It was almost worth the $40 to taste their delicious coffee and hot chocolate combo.
We did; however, find a great place to stay in the heart of Venice right next to the famous Hotel Bonvecchiati for about half the price of the later. Only 2 minutes to Rialto or St. Marks square, it was perfectly located. Of course, when you take the wrong alley it could take you all day. We saw a great deal in the four days we were there: St. Marks Square, Rialto Shopping, St. Mary's, a gondola ride, Campo San Polo, St. Mark's, and a personal guided historical tour (see the other Venice page). We also managed to do a little Mother's Day shopping, find some great Murano glass for ourselves and some local etchings among other things.
We did manage to find some great places to eat that were not ridiculously expensive. Our favorite: Terrazza Goldoni is directly adjacent to the Hotel Bonvecchiati and has exceptional food and service at reasonable prices. We also enjoyed: Ristorante Sempione (with window seats right on a small Gondola canal), Ostaria al Diavo'lo L'Aquasanta, and Restaurant Al Peoceto. After all the walking and pasta, we found an excellent place that served Guinness. We didn't know the name of the establishment for several nights because the only sign was a picture of a cartoon bug with an eye patch above the door. It became affectionately referrd to as the "one-eyed bug". A final recommendation, do not eat Pizza in Italy. It is beyond a shadow of a doubt the worst on the planet.
Mike and Gabi in the tower room of our apartment building:
Down the alley of our apartment, Hotel Bonvecchiati in yellow (left) and the green awning of Terrazza Goldoni:
Mike in St. Mark's Square:
Gabi beside a gondola on our favorite canal:
Gabi on the Accademia Bridge with St. Mary's in the background:
Our apartment building straight ahead with the small tower:
Lights on the Rialto Bridge from the gondola:
Mike and Gabi after the evening gondola cruise:
Outside the Scala Contarini Del Bovolo:
Mike outside the "one-eyed bug" actually called the Moscacieka (mosquito):
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