Saturday, December 24, 2011

No itinerary, no rush, just an easy day in Venice

Another glorious day in Venice.  The wonderful thing is we don't have an itinerary, there's no place we need to be, we're not in a rush and we can take it relatively easy.  The apartment is just around the corner from San Marco, it's a 10 minute walk to Rialto or Accademia, everything we need is closeby. It's also really pleasant in winter, particularly on a sunny day, because the crowds are manageable. They don't annoy you, they don't get in the way. I took a photo of St Mark's Basilica today with no one in front of it, same alongside the Doge's Palace.  It's lovely!  I can't imagine what it would be like in summer.  It's the one time of the year we WON'T come to Venice!  And of course, we wouldn't choose to stay around San Marco, it was just that this most recent trip wasn't exactly planned and it was organised in less than six weeks, which meant our first choice apartments were already taken.  But we do like being central.  It's just that we prefer areas with a more local feel.

Today we had to do some food shopping so we headed off to Rialto.  If you love food you simply must go down to the markets in the morning.  Whether it's meats & chickens, seafood, fruit & vegetables or meats and cheeses from the deli, Rialto is the place to be.  It's wonderful watching the Italian women do their shopping, discussing the produce, chatting away to the locals.  It always sounds so vibrant and interesting. It's times like this I a) wish I was Italian and b) wish I could SPEAK Italian!  We don't really have recommendations around the Rialto area - I think everyone should make up their own mind what they like based on what they see there.


After shopping we decided to go to Taverna del Campiello Remer which is one of our FAVOURITE places for lunch.  It's a little difficult to find but the location is on the Grand Canal around from Rialto.  It attracts a mainly local clientele - although Lonely Planet did list it in their Venice guide! - and it's great value - you help yourself from the buffet (where there are really yummy things!) and then there's usually a choice of two pastas (today we had zucchini with a soft cheese) and dessert (assuming you can fit it in!).  Add in wine, mineral water, and bread, and you're up for only 20 euros.  We love it there.  The background music, the setting, the ambience, and the experience.  Easy Venetian living.

entrance to Taverna del Campiello Remer

After lunch we popped into the apartment and then headed off to Campo San Stefano as we'd read on another blog there were Christmas markets there.  Um, no there wasn't.  So we headed over Accademia bridge for that GREAT view of Salute and then to a restaurant we'd booked for Christmas Day lunch, at the back of "Peggy's place"  (sorry we are not a fan of the Guggenheim - extraordinary price for an ordinary and somewhat boring modern art collection).  We went over to Salute, which I just adore, and then cheated and caught the vaporetto one stop to San Marco!  We waited for the sun to start to go down, took a few photos, grabbed some gelato and headed back to the apartment.  Tonight we'll probably just go a pizza, somewhere locally, because we had such a wonderful lunch, we really don't need a big meal.

It is Christmas Eve tomorrow and while I said we had no plans this Venetian holiday, that's not 100% true.  We do know one thing we will be doing and that is going to a church service in St Mark's Basilica.  I think it will be an amazing experience.  Let's hope the crowds aren't too bad!!

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