Venice (Venezia), Italy
Founded in 421 AD, Venice began as a collection of small villages in a swampy lagoon. Today, the car-free city is known for its romantic canals. From the airport, we took the waterbus to Piazza San Marco to find our nearby hotel, Albergo All Angelo. After seeing the famous Piazza in countless movies and travel specials, it was a surreal moment to walk around, dodging the pigeons and admiring Doge's Palace, the Basilica San Marco and the Campanile. Instead of riding a pricey gondola for a short trip (85 Euros), we opted to take the water bus up the Grand Canal (5 Euros roundtrip). It's one continuous postcard.
On the way back down the Grand Canal, we hopped off at the Rialto Bridge (1588) and meandered through the narrow streets by many nice shops and pricey boutiques back to San Marco. Wow! The Murano glass and the Carnevale masks were amazing to see.
We enjoyed another grand dinner (al fresco of course) at a small restaurant on a busy alley near San Marco. Once again, we enjoyed great food, wine and conversation. Once again, we have a great waiter that became a friend by the end of the meal. After dinner, we stopped at Harry's Bar (overrated) and hit more shops. The Piazza San Marco was even more beautiful at night.
We arose early in the morning to walk to the Rialto Markets to watch the vendors set up the local produce and fish.