We enjoyed walking around Murano, and tried to find the store where Wolfgang (my father-in-law)got in trouble for refusing to buy some Venitian glass. Unfortunately, Joern was very young at the time, and couldn´t quite remember. After our time in Murano, we hopped back on a Vaporetto, headed for Venice. While waiting, we met a very nice couple from Canada, and spoke with them for some time about their one month tour of Italy- NICE!
We rode on one of the much smaller Vaporetto boats, which was very cramped, to Venice. On the trip, we passed the island of San Michele, which was designated by Napoleon as the city cemetery for Venice.
We decided to get off the Vaporetto at the first stop on Venice, at Fondamenta Nove, located on the northern side of the island. From this stop, we walked along the water, then easily found the signs to the Jewish Ghetto. I was quite interested in seeing the ghetto, which was the first Jewish ghetto, begun in the 1500s, and opened by Napoleon. Unfortuately, it was late on a Friday, and the museum was not offering any more tours, so we had to put this area on my list of places for return. The ghetto lies in the Cannaregio Sestiere (district,) which has few tourists and offers the opportunity to see the "real Venice,"- quite refreshing! After exploring as much as we could, we decided to make our way back towards the tourists. Right outside of the ghetto, we found a very kind looking gondoliere. Since my mom´s anniversary gift to us was money to be used towards a gondola ride, we figured that this was the right gondoliere to go with.
Entrance to Jewish ghetto, view from the gondola.
The gondola ride went around the northern part of the city, and was wonderful! Although they are not cheap, taking a gondola ride is definately something that must be done if you´re in Venice. Since we departed from the Cannaregio area, we spent most of our time on quiet, small canals. Our gondoliere told us a lot about the history of the area, including the history of the architecture, which was quite interesting. We did spend about 5 minutes on the Grand Canal, which was very busy with lots of boating traffic. After our time on the Grand Canal, it was a pleasure to return to the quiet canals of Cannaregio. We circled around the ghetto, and our gondoliere gave us more history of the area. The ride lasted about 40 minutes, and was simply amazing! Venice seems completely different from the water!
After our magical gondola ride, we floated back towards Piazza San Marco. Of course, we got lost numerous times, but that´s okay in Venice! We finally got back to Piazza San Marco around 7, and decided that we were very tired, and it was time to head back to the hotel. The ride on the Vaporetto was about an hour, and was a nice way to relax after our busy day. We had another wonderful dinner in Lido di Jesolo.
We left on Saturday morning to head to Chioggia for a while. Chioggia is a fishing village, that is about an hour drive south of Venice. Of course, this was on a Saturday morning, and many Italians were heading to the beach for the day. The drive took us about 3 hours, and we found a parking problem in Chioggia. The town itself was very cute, it has a much more Italian feel to it than Venice, since it is not such a tourist destination. Like Venice, there are canals winding through the town, and many historic buildings. We could only stay for a short while, due to the parking siutation. Next time, we know to take a Vaporetto to Chioggia for the day, and leave the car back at the hotel!
Since we were driving home anyway, we left Chioggia and headed north. Verona lay in our diretion, so we decided to spend some time there, before really making our way home. I was so surprised by Verona, which is a bustling, wonderful city! After parking, we walked through the gateway in the city wall to find a magical place! We were totally blown away by the gigantic Roman arena in the center, which is the world´s thrid largest Roman arena. There were so many wonderful buildings. We made our way to the Piazza Bra, one of the many lovely squares in Verona. This is surrounded by the incredible town hall, and many wonderful restaurants. Off of Piazza Bra are many of the pedestrian shopping streets, for which European cities are well known. Verona is really a fashion haven, which again surprised me. I though fashion was regulated to Milan. We followed a busy but exciting street, and found ourselves at Piazza delle Erbe. The Piazza delle Erbe was the site of the Roman Forum, and is surrounded by amazingly beautiful buildings.
Verona city wall
Roman arena, Verona
Palazzo Maffei, Verona
On our way back to the car, we happened upon a car racing event. Only a few of the many old cars had come in, and we only spent a few minutes. After we left, we drove around Verona, and were extremely impressed by all the things to see. We finally left Verona around 7 pm, and headed home.
The ride from Verona to Stuttgart lasted about 6 hours, which meant we made extremely good time. Our drive took us through the infamous St. Gothard tunnel, which has been the scene of many frightful accidents recently. We drove along through Zurich, and finally pulled in to our driveway at 1:00 am. Overall, it was one of the best trips ever, and a very special way to celebrate us!!
Our pictures from the trip are at: