VENEZIA – This city has beautiful Terrazzo tile floors, thanks to the nearby town that made the floors famous. But don’t let those “worldly” Nevada City naysayers fool you: Venice also is known for its terrazzo lights, including year-round ones. And they are magical at night.
This past weekend Venice held its annual Festa del Redentore, giving thanks to the end of a terrible plague in the 1500s that killed tens of thousands of locals. Boats lined the Grand Canal, festooned with balloons and garland. Locals feasted on fresh seafood, and a fireworks display lit up the night sky.
The next day most of the brightly colored lanterns were removed — but the terrazzo lights inside were left intact.
You can’t help but be reminded of the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, Disneyland, Lido Island in Newport Beach and even the Campanile at UC Berkeley when you’re tooling along the Grand Canal in the pubic vaperrato, but this “version” of Venice is the real deal.
We enjoyed going to church at Basilica di San Marco (where the line was much shorter than the one for tourists) and gazing up at the ornate tile ceilings.
The nearby St. Mark’s Campanile is a wonder, with its gold weathervane. We sat at Caffè Florian, the historic coffee bar in St. Mark’s Square, and watched the activity while a small orchestra played classical music. We dodged some pigeon poop.
We visited museums such as the Naval History Museum and Peggy Guggenheim Collection, art galleries, hotels such as the Gritti Palace and enjoyed the fresh, local food. Seafood from the Adriatic Sea is a specialty. We visited the year-round famers market at the Rialto Bridge, with fresh-caught fish and veggies grown on nearby islands. At breakfast, we drank our juice out of colorful glasses designed by the Massimiliano Schiavon Art Team on Murano Island.
At night, we listened to a string ensemble play classical music from Vivaldi (who was born in Venice) at an outdoor concert in the courtyard of an historic building.
One of the more bizarre sights occurred at the Hotel Danieli, where we were enjoying cocktails on the terrace overlooking the Grand Canal. All of a sudden a drone appeared overhead, apparently capturing us on camera. Our son videotaped the drone (see below).
Best of all, we enjoyed our journeys off the beaten path to explore the less crowded fingers of the canals of Venice. Our hotel was in a locals’ neighborhood, which we appreciated.
Venice is not without its problems: Once the center of a trading empire, it now suffers from a declining population, due to a lack of jobs and the crippling cost of living. It is gradually sinking too.
A few years ago some locals staged a “funeral” to mourn the decline of its resource of people.
We’re on vacation, to be sure. But we’re also interested in exposing our son to Europe and its vibrant history. He is having a blast.