This particular weekend, I went with my husband (who happens to be an architectural designer) and some of his co-workers to Venice. The reason for going was for an event called Biennale - a biannual event held in Venice. There are many biennale events, but the one we went to focused in architecture. Having an interior architecture background myself, I was interested and enjoyed the exhibition. However, one day was enough for me, and I spent the entire second day wandering the city by myself. Honestly it was absolutely fantastic! Also, we were very lucky, because just a week prior to our trip, there was the acqua alta (which is basically extreme flooding that happens at this time of year). The whole city was under 2-3 feet of water! Thankfully, we had no issues while we were there.
About twelve of us rented a large Airbnb apartment in the heart of Venice, not far from the Biennale event in Castello. The apartment was very old, but nicely updated. Thankfully, my husband and I got our own room and privacy for the entire weekend. The apartment was up two sets of stairs and had a large central living space with lots of mirrors, chandeliers, paintings, and a dining area toward the back of the space (photo below).
So, as for the first day, we of course went to Biennale. Afterward, we saw the Rialto Bridge (must see that at least once!), but then strolled to a hidden gem just a block or so away from the bridge. It was a recently renovated building turned into a shopping center called Fondaco dei Tedeschi. It was once the headquarters and restricted living quarters of the city's German (Tedeschi) merchants. First constructed in 1228, the building was rebuilt between 1505 and 1508, after its destruction in a fire. Later that evening, Jared's employer was kind enough to take all of us out for a delicious dinner. It was a night full of laughter, wine, and good food.
As I mentioned before, the second day, I kind of did my own thing while everyone else headed to Biennale. I slept in, took my time getting ready, and headed to a local café to get a pastry and café latte where the servers enjoyed singing along with the old school Italian music. It was hilarious! My only goal for that day was to see the San Marco Basilica. On the way, I admired and photographed the canals and scenic architecture along the way. Finallly, I made it to Piazza San Marco and stood in line for the church. Definitely worth the wait - the entire basilica was covered in gold and bright-colored mosaics. We were also allowed to get a view of the piazza from the balcony above. It was a relatively quick visit, but perfect for me. I strolled along the water's edge and eventually stumbled upon an elegant restaurant just butting up to the water and gondolas. I skimmed the menu. It seemed slightly expensive, but too heavenly to pass up. It was called InAcqua and was part of the Westin Hotel. I sat on the terrace over-looking the gondolas bobbing up and down in the water, and the monumental Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute in the distance. The weather was perfect - not too hot, not too cold, with a decent amount of sun and blue sky. I ordered a delicate scallop dish, a glass of white wine, and ended with a latte. I stayed quite a while, as I wanted to sketch the view. The waiters were entertained and kept asking to see my drawing. Eventually, the head waiter asked if he could take a picture of it, and I of course said yes. This day was one of my favorite moments in a long time.
Later that day, I met up with my husband and a couple of his co-workers to visit the Doge Palace in Piazza San Marco. Very dramatic open and closed spaces with extremely ornate detail. I highly recommend visiting this palace. As we were exiting, we saw how much the piazza transforms in the evening when the sky is midnight blue and all the warm yellow lights come on. A friend had recommended we stop by Caffé Florian for a drink or tea, so we did exactly that. This place has been in operation since 1720, which is one of the longest cafés to be continually open (along with Le Procope in Paris, which we have also been to, and adore!). We ordered hot (special) coffee drinks and a couple of desserts. It came out on a large silver tray and on fine china. What a delight!
The rest of the trip was wonderful. Lots of great food and good company!