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Trip Report First time big 3 part 2

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I’m back and ready to share. . I kept reminding myself as we made our way to our first hotel to throttle back on the expectations because these are real cities with real people and real situations not magical fairy lands created for the express purpose of enchanting visitors. Well, I was right and wrong. They are real cities with traffic, confusion, and the occasional jaded or rude inhabitant , but they still enchant visitors and there is a magic that will ensnare you forever if you allow it. I can’t imagine another place on earth where the word wow would be released on a tiny exhaled breath more often.
We began in Venice. Although the Grand Canal is busy with tourist laden vaporetti, police boats, delivery boats, the Alilaguna and Gondolas, it still deserves the name Serenissima. During the day, it was interesting to watch deliveries being made and boats zip around each other and weave in and out without incident, but just wait til it gets dark. This is when the magic happens and some of our best moments occurred .

St. Marks square, a crush of people and a cacophony of sound during the day, was relatively quiet at night and beautifully lit. We enjoyed a nice snack and cappuccino in the cool evening air while listening to a range of classical music from one band and American standards from another. They played nice, took turns and made everyone happy. On our way back to our hotel, Santa Maria della Salute had a mass (?) and the beautiful and soothing rhythms of prayer beckoned us inside. We were welcomed by the priest and sat quietly inside just listening. I’m not sure, but my husband thought they were performing some kind of verbal offering. I hope my not knowing isn’t offensive. This was one of our top experiences in Venice and a great way to end our first day AND it completely made up for the earlier frustration of not being able to read a map while attempting to return to our hotel from Gloriosa dei Frari.

We couldn’t ever seem to start bright and early, so our day generally began with breakfast at the hotel around 8:30 or 9. Day 2 was busy. We started with a visit to Ca Rezzonico, then on to St. Marks for a tour which we enjoyed immensely, a visit to the Doge’s Palace and dungeons which left us both feeling a little uncomfortable. It was difficult to reconcile the sparse, bleak jail cells with the overly opulent excess of the palace they were linked to. We couldn’t imagine ending up in one place because you somehow managed to offend someone who governs from the other. Ah , the beauty of politics and power. On to more restorative and lovely things. It was time for our afternoon nap, well my husband’s anyway. Evening brought about a quick snack in a tiny whole in the wall, I can’t remember the name, and a visit to Chiesa San Vidal for an evening concert with Interpreti Veneziani featuring the music of Vivaldi. It was wonderful. The setting was intimate and the music divine.Not only did we enjoy the music ,but we couldn’t get over how even the smallest church was so beautiful. We were also pleased by how common cultural events seemed to be throughout our trip. There were many different offerings , opera, concerts, even some theater. The concert ended around 10. Of course we were starving afterwards, but we soon found out that most everything was closed or closing by 10, so we made use of the minibar, nuts and fruit provided by our hotel.

We had initially planned to see Burano and Torcello our third day, but due to the weather not being as cooperative ,we opted to spend the day near Rialto Bridge souvenir hunting and taking in the market.We also had to locate a mask for my 13 year old son who specifically requested a plague mask as his souvenir. We made our purchase from Ca Macana. They kindly shipped it home for us and we got to see one of the artists at work. We got tons of great photos and enjoyed the energy and hustle and bustle of those areas immensely. That evening we had a terrific meal at Le Gondolieri, reservations courtesy of our hotel.
On to Florence.

Venice particulars-
Hotel- Ca Maria Adele, right off the Salute vaporetto stop and across the walkway from Santa Maria della Salute, great hotel. They catered to every need, anticipated most of our needs and always had a special thoughtful touch awaiting us upon return from our busy day and the initial contents of the minibar were included in the room rate.
Le Gondolieri- restaurant, delicious, upscale, in Dorsoduro. We enjoyed their quail egg and truffle appetizer and filet with truffle. Seeing a pattern here ? We love truffle everything and think it should be served at every meal.

Gloriosa dei Frari- I fell in love with tombs here. Strange, right? The fascination continued on in Florence.

Sorry this dragged on so long. I’ll try to shorten it up in Florence. Please, let me know if I am breaking some sort of Fodor’s etiquette