Saturday, May 24, 2014

Venice Day 1: Palazzo, foodies, rowing

When I was planning this trip, particularly the Venice part, I tried to find things that were a little unusual so it would be extra memorable for b-i-l who was celebrating his 0/5 birthday.  Today we did two of the special things: lunch at the highly regarded Alle Testiere and a 90 minute rowing lesson with Row Venice.

But First: We decided to visit Ca'Rezzonico in Dorsoduro, instead of the Accademia gallery.  Since it didn't open until 10am, we took our time with breakfast and getting ready to go out.  Hubby procured pastries from the bakery nearby and b-i-l made me coffee--girl was feeling pampered!
View as we left the apartment
We made our way to the Ca'Rezzonico taking only a few wrong turns (thanks to the Streetwise Venice map, which was very helpful).  This Palazzo is on the Grand Canal and is absolutely gorgeous (no photos allowed inside).  The first room you enter is a 5,000+ square foot grand ballroom.  Then smaller rooms with gorgeous art and furniture and views follow.  There are three floors to see, all great, with the top floor having been converted into an art gallery.  It was part of our museum pass and we were all so glad we visited it.

View of the Grand Canal from Ca'Rezzonico
Our lunch reservation at Alle Testiere, which is not far from the Rialto Bridge, was for 1pm.  B-i-l took over the map and did a much better job guiding us through confusing beautiful Venice than hubby or me. Alle Testiere was not very crowded when we arrived, but filled up before we left.  The diners seemed to be all tourists, which I have to admit was a little disconcerting. Maybe at dinner it's a different mix.

At any rate, the everything was great.  We marvelled at how they produced such fabulous food in that tiny kitchen!  We all very much enjoyed our meals but did make faces at b-i-l's cuttlefish in black ink. 

Best grilled veggies I've ever had!


After our leisurely lunch, we found our way to the meeting point for Row Venice (in Canareggio by the Sacca Misericordia Marina near the Maddona del Orto Church). We didn't have too hard a time finding it, thanks to b-i-l's expert map reading skills!  We enjoyed walking around this area as we had never been in this area of Canareggio before--it was very quiet and untouristed.  Hubby was still not sure he wanted to row.

We waited with one other family for our guides.  We had Felix who had a delightful accent and was very patient with us.  I did not get the technique at all but hubby and b-i-l did better.  It was a really great experience!  Hubby rowed us across the Grand Canal and b-i-l rowed us back--too cool!  Time flew and all too soon we were back at the Marina. 


Afterwards, we stopped for Spritzes and cichetti at a fun restaurant/bar (I think it was Paradiso Perduto).  We stayed there for a good while enjoying the scene, especially the man dressed up as a woman, wearing a mask, begging for money for his daughter's wedding!

We were close to the Jewish Ghetto so made our way there.  We walked around the small campo on an island that could be cut off easily from the rest of Venice, which is why the Jews were allowed to settle there back in the day.  It was a Saturday so we saw many people heading to services; once couple showed their passports to be admitted to the temple.

We walked to St. Mark's Square, took some pictures and enjoyed the scene. 

My headache got worse so we headed back to the apartment.  Instead of heading out for dinner, hubby and b-i-l finished the pizza.  We all turned in relatively early with plans to tour the Islands in the Lagoon the next day.

It had been a fabulous day in beautiful Venice!

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