Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Venice III - City of Water

The symbol of the Gondola is the above metal piece fitted to the prow of the boat.The iron prow-head of the gondola, called "fero da prorĂ " or "dol fin", is needed to balance the weight of the gondolier at the stern and has an "S" shape symbolic of the twists in the Canal Grande. The top metal piece symbolizes the hat of the Doge.

Venetian canals are filled with gondola riding tourists. The gondolas are resplendent boats, built in Venice, used mainly for the tourist trade. Peggy Guggenheim was the last Venetian to keep a gondola and gondolier on the Grand Canal.
Canals criss-cross the city and most of the goods are transported by boat. Today, Venetians keep more efficient, motorized boats at their docks.
This is the last place where gondolas are crafted. It is a long process that can take up to a year. They cost about $20,000 and there is a long wait to buy one.

 The Bridge of Sighs
 Even construction materials must be carried by boat.

 Bridges connect the streets and neighborhood. Some of big bridges with names like Rialto or Accademia and others are small hops over narrow canals.

 Gondoliers have to train to be able to navigate the busy waters of Venice.

 Put your feet up and enjoy a gondola ride!

And the gondoliers are not too bad to look at!!!!



Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Venice II- Cuisine

Venice, the bride of the North, has a rich tradition of food. Stelios and I decided to explore some of this by visiting the Rialto Market. The perfect fruits and vegetables, vivid splashes of color on that rainy day, were magnificent.

I was really impressed by the bouquets of peppers, multicolored and perfect, I could almost take them home and put them in a vase.
As we were staying at an Airbnb (highly recommend doing that in Venice, btw), we picked up a few pieces of fruit for our breakfasts.

 Did you know that the Venetians eat horse meat as a routine?? Neither did I!!!
Here is a horse meat butcher's store, complete with an array of sausages and cured meats.

 Figs and Plums packed beautifully.
 bunches of squash blossoms...
 Chickens with heads, something you never see at an American market.
 The fish were plentiful and varied.

 I was really impressed by the variety of shellfish, which I love.
I did toy with the idea of cooking some fish in the apartment. Nah! Better get it cooked by the Venetians at a nearby restaurant.

 Spider Crab! This was my favorite.
We went to nearby Restaurant Alla Madonna, in an alley I would have never walked down had I not been told that's where one of the best seafood restaurants was.
 They had all this fresh fish on display and it was so hard to choose.

 The famous razor crab, served in it's shell with a splash of fresh lemon and olive oil.
 Razor clams sauteed with garlic and olive oil! An experience!

 Stelios' fish soup,

 My linguini with clams.
Have an overpriced but delicious hot chocolate at cafe Florian in Saint Marks Square. It's a nice splurge.
 baby calamari simply grilled and served with lemon wedges.
 Sweet shop!
We happened on this tiny restaurant with four tables outside on the street, just across the Acaademia Bridge. We saw what other people had on their plates and immediately asked if we could have a table for dinner.It was the Restaurant Agli Alboretti.
The food was so elegantly presented, the flavors were so delicate and the service was superb!
We did go back on another night and did not regret it. We loved being able to have a 500ml bottle of wine.
 Semi Fredo
 Shrimp wrapped in kataifi with an orange marmalade

At Da Johnny, my favorite Italian restaurant in a tiny piazza that was very hard to find, we had some of the best meals!
We went there twice and twice we got lost. But what fun we had on the way!

Could not have had a better seafood sampler appetizer.

 Works of art
 This was my simple stake and vegetables au ju. Beyond words! Flavor is everything!

Don't forget to try the spritz aperitifs made with Aperol, white wine and sparkling water. Sit at a table outside a cafe and sip it while watching the locals go by. Dolce far niente!