Going to Venice? Think outside the box!

If you want to stay in Venice consider a hotel away from the hordes of people near St. Mark’s Square.

I brought my group of ladies to a small boutique hotel steps from the Rialto market and bridge.  This hotel, L’Orologio, which means clock in Italian, was full of charm and amenities.  The staff was very attentive and the breakfast each morning was very extensive in its offerings.  The cappuccino was perfect.  So much so that one morning I had two! The hotel faces a major canal and outside the front entrance one can easily cross the canal by gondola for 2 euros per person and explore the Cannagregio district of Venice!

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So, to recap your hotel stay:

  • ·       Stay at a hotel in the San Polo district of Venice. An excellent choice of hotels would be: L’Orogolio and Palazzo Giovanelli and Grand Canal

  • ·       There is also another great hotel between the Rialto bridge and well behind St. Mark’s Square and it is called Ai Reali – a wonderful hotel as I have inspected it when on a previous visit to Venice.

  • ·       If you want to stay in another district of Venice, an excellent choice would be the Ca’Segredo in the Cannagregio district.  This district has the one and only casino in Venice.

Rialto Market

Rialto Market

Rialto Market

Rialto Market

While in Venice I strongly suggest you visit the islands of Murano for the glass blowing and Burano for the lace making.

Glass blowing and lace making are both specialized techniques and to see these artists in action is astonishing.  It is well worth the visit.  Burano especially because if it very colorful homes.

  • ·       Please note that you can get off the ferry just before Burano and step into another world when you visit the tiny island of Mazzorbo, which has a well-known vineyard and a Michelin starred restaurant called Venissa. 

  • ·       Please note: When shopping on the island of Burano please be aware of knock-off products.  Shop in stores where you will be able to purchase the true product.  Example:  La Perla sells authentic lace products!

·       Other towns within easy reach of Venice are:  Padua and Treviso.


Colorful houses in Burano

Colorful houses in Burano

Ristorante Venissa in Mazzorbo

Ristorante Venissa in Mazzorbo

Glass blowing in Murano

Glass blowing in Murano

 

Genova or Genoa

Since Gourmet Getaways' group was staying on the Italian Riviera and Genoa was only a little more than one hour away form our hotel (more on that later), I knew we had to go to Genoa to see what it was all about.  Much to my surprise we all fell in love with it.

It is the sixth largest city in Italy and it is overshadowed by Rome, Florence Milan and Venice.

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Our guide met us at Piazza de Ferrari and off we went to experience the ancient narrow streets, the many piazzas both large and small, a historic café for a cappuccino break, a pesto cooking class demonstration and tasting.

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The narrow streets were full of fresh produce, fish and ancient stores which is still very active today.

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Remember it is one of the most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage cities.  The city is abundant with Renaissance architecture.  We strolled on Via Garibaldi and marveled at the structural design of these ancient palazzos, some of which are now banks.

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Since I am a chocoholic I wanted to taste and purchase excellent chocolate and I did!  There is an excellent chocolate shop called:  P.Romanengo fu Stefano located on Via Roma 51.  It is one of the oldest confectioners in Genova.  It all began in 1780.  It uses only the best ingredients.  If you are in the area it is well worth a visit to this beautiful and delicious confectioner shop!

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I would definitely go back to this city as it is too large to explore it in its entirety in one day.

My Favorite Little Village on the Italian Riviera

One of our day trips during our stay on the Italian Riviera was to a small fishing village called Camoglia.  As we strolled down to the village we were fascinated by the views and marveled at how crystal clear the water was.

During the Middle Ages this town was a prominent seaport. Now it thrives on tourism and is a great getaway for many Italians in this part of Italy.

 

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The name Camogli refers to the wives (mogli) of the fishermen who watched over the town while their fishermen husbands were away at sea. The population now consists of about 6,000 people and is known for its colorful houses that line the beach.

  As we strolled along the walkway it was dotted with boutique shops and small restaurants. While visiting this little town it was imperative to stop and taste some of the focaccia which is abundant in this part of Italy.  It was beyond wonderful.  The focaccia was thin and the dough was light. It is brushed with olive oil before baked and topped with herbs, cheeses and other vegetables.

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 As we strolled along the walkway it was dotted with boutique shops and small restaurants. While visiting this little town it was imperative to stop and taste some of the focaccia which is abundant in this part of Italy.  It was beyond wonderful.  The focaccia was thin and the dough was light. It is brushed with olive oil before baked and topped with herbs, cheeses and other vegetables.

Focaccia with mushrooms and potatoes topped with a green sauce.   

Focaccia with mushrooms and potatoes topped with a green sauce.

 

Cheese stuffed focaccia.

Cheese stuffed focaccia.

Would I recommend my travelers to visit this village?  Definitely YES!

Would I visit here again?  Definitely yes!