As Jan and I are settling back into reality, we can’t help but reflect on the incredible memories we made during our recent trip to Italy. It was an adventure filled with awe-inspiring sights, enchanting moments, and of course, unforgettable culinary experiences.
Our hearts are filled with gratitude for the warm and welcoming people we met along the way, who shared their stories, traditions, and passion for their country. From the locals who guided us through hidden alleyways to the chefs who lovingly prepared the most mouthwatering dishes, it was the connections we made with these incredible individuals that truly enriched our journey.
We’re so excited to share this journey with you through our Italy Unveiled Blog Series, as it allows us to relive those cherished moments and bring a taste of Italy into your lives.
Looking back, we can’t help but wish we had visited Italy earlier, but we’re immensely grateful that we finally made it there. So, join us over the next few months as we take you off the beaten path to discover Italy’s hidden treasures.
We’re kicking off our adventure in Venizia.
Jan and I had heard mixed reviews of Venice. Some travelers found it smelly and crowded; others could not rave enough about this lagoon city.
We count ourselves in the second group. Venice was magical, mysterious and perfect for meandering with absolutely no vehicles on the streets.
Before we left, a dear friend said to go out at night and get lost.
Her advice was the best. The city’s magical ambiance was brought to life by the twilight atmosphere, adorned with enchanting alleyways and hidden neighborhoods.
A guided day tour led us to ta fresh fish market, farmers/flower market and then off to a local spice store.
The spice store has been operated by the same family for 46 years. Their welcoming and aromatic store made us feel right at home. Imagine The Spice Tin with olive oils, balsamic vinegars and wines!
The gondola ride was fun and romantic. Our gondolier insisted we kiss under the bridge of sighs to seal our love forever. We were a bit confused though as the bridge gets its name from prisoners crossing from the Doge’s Palace (court) to the prison and sighing over their lost freedom. 🤔
San Marco Square and the Doge’s Palace were packed with visitors. We appreciated the views, but headed to quieter paths. A small trattoria located next to a fountain, a small garden with trees and a small grocery found us craving lunch. This was the perfect spot to devour a pizza while watching locals go in and out of the grocery and visitors fill their water bottles at the fountain.
The next day we were on a water taxi to Murano and Burano Islands. Murano is known for the art of glass blowing, which originally was on the island of Venice but was relocated due to property values and the danger of fires.
Our guide pointed out the artist and the apprentices. He said he never speaks to the artist, only the apprentice! The artist has complete freedom to create what he wants, never having to make duplicates for commercial sales – one of a kind only!
The day was hot, and the factory was even hotter. The artist and apprentices held heavy glass pieces in the fiery ovens without gloves or masks. And when they put the pieces down or handed them off, they often smoked a cigarette, adding more heat to their day!
Leaving Murano we saw glass factory after glass factory hugging the land space on that island.
Burano is a colorful and gentle town that was overrun by visitors on the day we were there. The lace work is beautiful, but it is a dying art since the younger women are not interested in the pain-staking work.
The island’s colorful homes and alleys led us away from the crowds. Burano is also the home of the Bussola or Buranelli, a round donut shaped biscuit cookie similar to biscotti.
The Buranelli or Bussola also lead to the creation of Essi, the same cookie only in an S shape so it is easier to dip into coffee or wine. You see these cookies in all the bakeries in Venice, but they disappear once you leave the area. The Buranelli Cookie recipe is on our website.
Back in Venice, we loved dining along the enchanting ambiance of the canals, again magical and romantic. We found the restaurants to be welcoming and fun in spite of the bustling crowds. The talented staff would turn the simple act of opening a bottle of wine into a captivating spectacle while playfully teasing us with our orders. And of course, the food was delicious, complemented by the views enticing and picturesque views.
But our journey doesn’t end here.
Join us as we embark on a thrilling exploration of Italy’s hidden treasures in the coming months. From charming towns to exclusive culinary gems, we’ll be unveiling the secrets that this captivating country holds.
Italy has an abundance of experiences to offer, and we are excited to share them with you.
Stay tuned for our upcoming blog post, where we will whisk you away to Florence for yet another captivating destination that will leave you longing for more.