Friday, July 19, 2019

Vital, voluptuous Venice speaks to the romantic's soul

The gondolier is perhaps the most famous symbol of Venice.  Here, he makes his maneuver with passenger in tow.


Cookie and Keller, arriving in the evening, toast Venice with
a view of the lagoon in starlight, from Hilton Molino Stucky.

MORE THAN any other city in the world, Venice speaks to the soul of the romantic.
There's history at every turn, and romance just around the corner in this enchanting city. You'll  see couples strolling and stealing a kiss on the Bridge of Sighs, as old ladies put down their canvas bags of cucumbers and fish to admire the young lovers, perhaps remembering when they did the same thing.
Piazza San Marco, known as St. Mark's Square, a famous Venetian landmark.
The Bridge of Sighs -- with its lovely white limestone -- is one of the remarkably well preserved bridges in the city Napoleon loved.  He called the famous Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square) "the most beautiful drawing room in Europe."
Venice is a city for celebration and has been for centuries.  Among the notables who visited and bought homes are Noel Coward, Oscar Wilde and Cole Porter.  Our knowledgeable gondola driver pointed out Coward's palazzo, between bursts of Italian arias.
WE BASED our recent stay at the lovely Hotel Hilton Molino Stucky, a converted flour mill with a million dollar view of the lagoon and picturesque Venice skyline.
Set on the peaceful banks of Giudecca Island, the Hilton Molino Stucky is refurbished with gorgeous antiques, elegant Murano glass pieces and rich mahagony furniture.
Peggy Guggenheim turned her millions into one of the
world's most prestigious art collections in Venice. 
 This Venetian masterpiece features a rooftop swimming pool and the largest spa in town. Its, modern amenities fit nicely in a centuries old environment. Everything about Venice seems unique. We boarded the hotel's complimentary water taxi after a delightful breakfast of meats, cheeses, warm pastries and cappuccino and in less than 10 minutes were making the short walk to Piazza San Marco. The heart of the Venice draws tourists from around the globe and we joined the throngs of admirers to take a selfie or two.  The atmosphere is one of carnival -- everyone seems
View of Venice from the rooftop bar of Hilton Molino Stucky.
happy, and why not? St Mark's Square is like an enormous stage, with a dozen restaurants offering everything from a slice of pizza to a gourmet feast, beverages and sweets, seafood plucked from the nearby ocean and of course champagne if you're celebrating a visit or return to one of the planet's most famous cities.
OUR GOAL was two-fold: a visit to The Peggy Guggenheim Collection, and a half-day trip to the famous lagoon islands near Venice.  The Guggenheim is one of several world class museums and you'll want to see the Frari, Venice's largest church, filled with artistic masterpieces.
Strolling along the canals is one of the great pleasures.
 The Guggenheim is one of the most visited attractions in Venice. Guggenheim, a self-described contemporary art addict, amassed her astonishing collection in Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, one of the city's distinctive buildings.
It's fun to linger in Venice, and guess if there are more pigeons or people.  Elizabeth Barrett Browning write in 1851 that the hungry birds in St. Mark's Square descended on her husband, poet Robert Browning "like a cloud." We'd taken the elevator to the loggia in the 323-foot-high campanile before, so passed this time.  But it is a breathtaking view of Venice in its vast misty lagoon.
Manning his souvenir stand, a merchant reads the news. 
Beyond the square, Venice is a delight to explore on foot -- a joyous jumble of marble, orange rooftops, twisting canals, majestic domes, church spires and marble.
You must pause, too, for a famous Venetian ice cream. We like to munch our way through the appetizer menus posted in front of the cafes:  shrimp, squid, cheeses, salads, pastries.  Our favorite way to dine in southern Europe is by "grazing" -- fun, tasty and reasonably priced.
You can bargain for a gondola ride, too. Plan at least $100 for 25 minutes. Serenade included!

The pretty pastel houses of Burano make for lovely photos.
UP NEXT: While we're in the neighborhood, consider a visit to the quaint and quiet "lagoon islands" near Venice.  Murano, Burano and Torcello are a world apart from the cultural overload of Venice.  Each has its own distinct personality and charm, with beautiful small churches, local crafts and fun little restaurants serving fresh pasta, local fish and homegrown vegetables.   Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us each week for a novel slant on travel, the arts, nature and family, at


  1. Rhode Island RoadiesJuly 20, 2019 at 9:39 AM

    Wonderful, lively commentary on a fantastic city, ome of the most intriguing on the planet. Fine photos, too.

  2. Rhode Island RoadiesJuly 20, 2019 at 9:42 AM

    Wonderful, lively commentary on a fantastic city, one of the most intriguing on the planet. Fine photos, too.

  3. Charleston Culture LoversJuly 20, 2019 at 9:44 AM

    Spent a week there with a full day in the Guggenheim. What a dizzying collection Peggy left us all!

  4. Wonderous city, beautifully describes and documented.

  5. What fun to see these photos and enjoy the trips you so energetically enjoy.

  6. Swedish Armchair TravelersJuly 25, 2019 at 9:24 AM

    Your articles and photos both surprise and delight. What a magnificent pair you are, and what a range of travels and interests. Kudos.