Hello Fellow Travelers:
Welcome to our world of business information, adventure, birding, botanical gardens, good eating and fine wines. This newsletter provides you with “The Welge Report for Venice.
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Recognition: We extend special thanks to the people who manage and/or own the institutions, museums and restaurants featured in our guides. In some instances we have relied on their descriptions and photos.
Birding Opps: Info for our birding friends. In and near Venice you can see these species: Spoonbill, Cattle and Squacco Herons, Greylag Goose, Glossy Ibis, at least 20 species of Waders.
Check out the Fat Birder (fatbirder.com/links_geo/europe/italy.html) for the top birding sites in North East Italy.
Guided Bird Watching (guidedbirdwatching.com/venice.htm) is a good contact especially Menotti Passarella in the Veneto section.
Another name to check out is Marco Valtriani at Birding in Italy (birdinginitaly.com)
Transportation: This site provides practical information on local transportation. (actv.it/en/movinginvenice/movinginvenice)
Our cousin suggests that you purchase the Venice Unica City Pass (veneziaunica.it/en/content/what-it-and-what-it-offers-tourists).
The vaporetto is a great way to get around Venice and at the same time enjoy the canal experience. The Number 1 vaporetto route runs up and down the Grand Canal, stopping in each of the six sestiere or neighborhoods.
Number 2: Also runs on the Grand Canal and connects the Tronchetto with the train station, Piazzale Roma, Lido, and Guidecca. Route 12: Goes to Murano and Burano Islands from Fondamente Nove.
Exchange Rates (http://www.x-rates.com/)
Day One: Cousin Biaggio suggests heading for the Piazza San Marco.
The Piazza San Marco is often called St. Marks’s Square and known as the Piazza. It is the main public square in Venice.
One of the places you want to visit on this piazza is St. Marks Basilica – M-Sa: 9:45-4:45, Su: 2-5, San Marco, 328, 39 041 270 8311
The Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice. It is the most famous of the city’s churches and one of the best known examples of Italo-Byzantine architecture.
The Basilica di San Marco is known for its opulent design and gilded interior mosaics, and nicknamed Chiesa d’Oro, “Church of Gold”. St. Marks Campanile is the bell tower.
Next door is the Doge’s Palace – Daily, Mar-Oct: 9-5:15, Nov-Feb: 9-4:15
The Palazzo Ducale, or Doge’s Palace, was the seat of the government of Venice for centuries. As well as being the home of the Doge, (the elected ruler of Venice) it was the home for its law courts, its civil administration and bureaucracy and the city jail. It is a superb example of Venetian Gothic architecture.
The decoration is elaborate and impressive. The 36 capitals on the lower colonnade of the building have carvings of beasts, flowers and representations of the months of the year.
Moral sculptures represent scenes such as the Judgement of Solomon, Noah and Adam and Eve with the Archangel Gabriel.
Your next visit on the piazza San Marco is the Torre dell’ Orologio –
The Torre dell’Orologio has been delighting visitors and Venetians for more than 500 years. The clock (alternatively known as St Mark’s Clocktower or the Moors’ Clocktower) displays the time of day, the dominant sign of Zodiac and the current phase of the moon.
This timepiece, symbolic of Venice’s power and control, had to be beautiful and impressive as well as accurate.
The clock was commissioned by Doge Agostino Barbarigo in 1493 to be created by the father-and-son team of Giampaolo and Giancarlo Rainieri, engineers from Reggio Emilia.
There was a recent restoration of the clock mechanism by Swiss clock-makers Piaget, making certain that this magnificent timepiece is still going strong and keeping perfect time.
La Zucca – L & D: M-Sa, Santa Croce, 1762, 39 041 524 1570 provides a low key lunch.
They are noted for their vegetarian offerings such as the pumpkin soup and the tagliatelle with artichokes and pecorino cheese.
Enjoy the rabbit in white wine sauce and the duck with apples.
The house wines are very good and they offer great value. For dessert it was back to the pumpkin, this time as a flan.
You’re in Venice and want to have the “gondola” experience. Here’s the scoop! Gondola fares are standard and set officially. A standard gondola ride is 40 minutes. Gondola fares are higher at night. Gondolas hold six people and can be shared.
Cousin Biaggio suggests as a less expensive experience a ride on the Traghetto, which is a gondola like ferry that crosses the Grand Canal at eight locations.
Another option is the “gondola driving lesson” offered by ArtViva Tours (italy.artviva.com) or Row Venice (rowvenice.com) or Canottieri Giudecca (canottierigiudecca.it).
The Punta della Dogana – Daily: 10-7, Grassi Palace, Campo San Samuele, 199 112 112, is a must see.
Palazzo Grassi is the last palazzo built on the Grand Canal before the collapse of the Republic of Venice in 1797. The triangular-shaped Punta della Dogana separates the Grand Canal and the Giudecca Canal.
As a center for contemporary art, the former customs house of the city presents exhibitions of works from the Pinault Collection.
Lots of recommendations for Osteria Alle Testiere – L & D: Tu-Sa, Calle del Mondo Novo, 5801, 39 041 522 7220, Note: Reservations are mandatory.
Touted by many as the best fish and seafood house in Venice. They serve only what’s in the market today.
Specialties include: roast turbot with radicchio, gnocchi with baby squid, grilled cuttlefish, potato gnochetti with swordfish and artichoke hearts.
Your wine is the ’10 Movia Ribolla Gialla and dessert is the tiramisu.
Day Two: Prima colazione (breakfast) is a quick espresso or cappuccino taken with a croissant or pastry, consumed standing up at a bar. Order a caffe latte if you want coffee mixed with steamed milk; requesting a latte in Italy will get you a glass of steamed milk.
Hot tea, hot chocolate and sometimes fruit juices are also available. Let your nose be your guide to find the best bar.
Croissants con marmellata contain apricot jam; con crema means they have a custard filling. An assortment of other rolls or pastries are usually available too.
Standing up at the bar is always the least expensive way to have breakfast. Extra charges, often double or more, are usually added if you sit at a table and/or are served by a waiter at the bar.
The Accademia Gallery – M: 8:15-2, Tu-Su: 8:15-7:15, Campo della Carità, 1050, 39 041 520 0345
The main attraction here is Michelangelo’s sculptures that include the original David.
The collection draws from the Bizantine, 14th Century Gothic and the Renaissance paintings by Bellini, Carpaccio, Giorgione, Veronese, Tintoretto, Tiziano and Tiepolo.
The 18th century artists include Canaletto, Guardi, Bellotto and Longhi. The church of Santa Maria and the monestary of the Canonici Lateranensi built by Andrea Palladio are integral parts of the Accademia.
Lunch is at Osteria Da Fiore – L: Tu-Sa, D: M-Sa, Calle del Scaleter, 2202/a, 39 041 721308
For your starter order the fried oysters with a zabaione sauce or the sautéed baby red mullet with blood oranges.
Your main course choice is the roasted eel with laurel or the Venetian style black squid.
The wine is the ’02 Asoco Hills Merlot and dessert is the warm chocolate cake da Fiore with rum.
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection – W-M: 10-6, Dorsoduro, 701-704, 39 041 240 5411
The collection holds major works of Cubism, Futurism, Metaphysical painting, European abstraction, avant-garde sculpture, Surrealism, and American Abstract Expressionisn.
These include Picasso, Braque, Duchamp, Léger, Brancusi, Severini , Picabia, de Chirico, Mondrian, Kandinsky, Miró (Seated Woman II), Giacometti, Klee, Ernst, Magritte, Dalí, Pollock, Gorky, Calder and Marini.
Peek in the The Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari – M-F: 9-6, Sa,Su: 1-6, San Polo, 3072, 39 041 272 8611
Although it’s plain looking on the outside it more than makes up for it inside.
Works of art include Giovanni Bellini’s Madonna and Child, Donatello’s figure of St. John the Baptist, Titian’s alter piece Assumption, Paolo Veneziano’s Doge Francesco Dandoro and his wife plus many more.
This evening you are dining at Trattoria alla Madonna – L & D: Th-Tu, Calle della Madona, 594, 39 041 522 3824
Start with the “Sardine in Saor” which are fried pickled sardines or the fish soup.
Then move on to the calf’s liver with polenta or the razor clams in white wine broth or the pasta vongole.
They are famous for their squid ink pasta.
Your wine is the house red and dessert is still tiramisu.
Day Three: See breakfast for Day Two.
This morning you’re on the Route 12 vaporetto to Murano. In 1291, all the glassmakers in Venice were forced to move to Murano due to the risk of fires.
Murano’s glassmakers held a monopoly on high quality glassmaking for centuries, developing or refining technologies including crystalline glass, enameled glass, glass with threads of gold, multicolored glass, milk glass and imitation gemstones made of glass.
It’s appropriate that you visit the Murano Glass Museum – April-Oct, Daily: 10-6, Nov-Mar, Daily: 10-5, Fondamenta Giustinian 8, 39 041 739586
On Tuesdays and Thursdays a guide will take you through a world of glass, recounting the history, the techniques and the secrets of glass working. The tour includes the Museum’s collection from ancient Rome to the present day. In Italian at noon and English at 2:30.
Glass is why most people come to Murano and there’s no shortage of retail outlets (including factory showrooms) on the island. If you’re a casual buyer, you won’t need a shopping guide: Just look in display windows, browse in shops that look interesting, and buy whatever strikes your fancy.
If you’re serious about Venetian and Murano glass, we’d strongly recommend this website (http://europeforvisitors.com/venice/articles/murano_shopping.htm) for guidance.
Lunch is at the owner-operated Osteria Antico Giardinetto – L & D: Tu-Sa, Calle dei Morti, 2253, 39 041 722882
This is a great place to share different dishes. Our cousin suggests starting with the mixed seafood appetizer and the spider-crab and rocket salad. Then the tagliolini with scallops and artichokes and the gilthead sea bream with an orange sauce.
Your wine is the ’12 Allegrini Valpolicella and dessert is the chocolate mousse.
Enjoy the walk across the Rialto Bridge for its architecture and the views of the Grand Canal.
The Rialto Market, in San Polo sestiere, is older than the bridge and has been Venice’s top fish and produce market for about 1000 years.
The markets are open Tuesday through Saturday. Follow the crowds where you’ll first see the Erberia (vegetable market) and farther along will be the Pescheria (fish market).
Kick back at Osteria “Ae Sconte” – L & D: Daily, Castello 5533, Corte Perini – S. Lio, 39 041 523 9592
To cap The Welge Report of Venice relax with a bottle of Chianti classico DOCG “Rocce delle Macie” and some charcuterie.
Until next time, best wishes and happy travels,
Dick & Dee Welge
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