I may sometime write a more detailed log of our trip to Venice, but here's the condensed version. [Business cards for all of the restaurants mentioned below are here.]
Ariana flew in from Glendale, Jessica from Albany, and we all left from Logan on May 9, connecting the next morning in Rome, arriving in Venice around 11am. We took a water taxi to (near) the hotel. We wandered over to San Marco and later had dinner at ristorante Al Colombo. We had already determined that the hotel was very musty, aggravating Ariana's asthma, and we happened to run into an American woman in Campo San Luca who recommended her hotel.
Monday morning we arranged to move over to the Hotel Serenissima, then met our guide, Alessandro, for his "back streets" tour, as mentioned in the wonderful Rick Steves' guidebook. We had a very nice time on the tour, then after lunch we walked down to the west end of Venice to pick up the vaporetto up the length of the Grand Canal. On the way we stopped in at Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari to check out the art there. We also found a street painter of some talent and bought a painting from him.
After the Grand Canal tour we picked up Alessandro's evening pub tour. He took us and a group of about a dozen to four bars where we had the house wine and cicchetti (appetizers). All enjoyed it tremendously.
Tuesday we checked out the Correr Museum and then headed up to the top of the Campanile for some wonderful views of the area. That evening we had dinner at vini da Pinto over by the fish market.
Wednesday we started with a tour of the clock tower in San Marco, which was fabulous (highly recommended!), then we went off to Torcello via Burano. Torcello is the site of the original settlement and has a cathedral with 11th and 12th century Byzantine mosaics. The views from the campanile were great, and the mosaics very impressive. Back in Venice we walked by and looked into St. Peter and Paul cathedral, then had dinner at a pizzeria called Bora Bora and recommended by our hotel. Despite its name the food was very good and quite authentic Venetian. And having two attractive young women along always guaranteed us good service.
Thursday was for Murano, where they have all the fabulous glass works. In the morning, though, we spent some time in the markets checking out the glorious fruits, vegetables, and fish. Had some great strawberries. We got to Murano a little late, checked out the glass museum, and then just managed to squeak into a short demo at one of the factories. The glass master was really nice and let Jessica and Ariana try their hands at molding glass (videos below). Jessica got two tries, even. Back in Venice again we had dinner at Al Burchiello next to Santa Maria Formosa. Again a very good meal and a very attentive waiter.
Friday was our last full day, and we went over to San Marco to see the Doge's Palace in the morning. The palace took longer than we had expected so we headed back for lunch after that (Bora Bora again). A little souvenir shopping in the afternoon meant that we missed going into St. Mark's Basilica. Guess we need something for next time.
We met Tom and Michelle, our bike partners to be, on the Rialto Bridge and then headed over to Antica Adelaide for dinner (recommended by Alessandro). That was the best meal we had in Venice. Everything was innovative and fresh, using local ingredients.
Saturday morning we went by the markets again for one last look, then Kathy and I left Ariana and Jessica at the vaporetto stop and headed off to Mestre to hook up with our guide for the bike trip...
It was a great time in Venice!