Italy is probably the only country that I am never tired of visiting. On my last trip there we started in Venice for a few days. It was the beginning of May and the weather changed every day so my umbrella was very handy. Venice is one of the few cities in the world that can be described as unique. It survives against all the odds, built on the series of low mud banks amid the tidal waters of the Adriatic and regularly subject to floods. Once a powerful force in the Mediterranean, Venice has found a new role. Her palazzi have become shops, hotels and apartments. Her warehouses have been transformed into museums and her convents have transformed into centers for art restoration. More than14 million visitors a year, for all this Venice has had a price to pay. Gondoliers are part of symbolism and mythology of Venice. Their intimate knowledge of the city’s waterways is passed down from father to son. The trip on one is part of the Venetian experience, it’s expensive too. Half an hour cost $80.
There is still a strong artesian tradition in Venice. You can buy famous Murano glass, masks made from papier-mâché and even pleated silks Invented by Fortuny. Many years ago I bought two velvet pillow cases and some Murano dancers in 18th century costumes, which I still enjoy looking at. Food in Venice is almost always Italian, and local restaurants serve local specialties. Try olives wrapped in anchovies, caper berries, sardines and white asparagus! Tiramisu (the name means “pick me up”) to die for! The region’s staples is Polenta, not pasta.
On this visit we took a walking tour and enjoyed small streets and very narrow alleyways, which is not so crowded with tourists. We visited local restaurants And I enjoyed my sardines, white asparagus (in season in May), and local artichokes, which are much bigger than we are used to in USA.
My favorite film about Venice is “Death in Venice” with costumes by Piero Tossi and director Visconti was always in front of my eyes when we were walking through all the very narrow streets. Of course Venice changed! Film takes place in the 1910.
The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 brought new prosperity; a new harbor was built ocean-going ships and Venice became a favorite embarkation point for rich Europeans traveling east. The fashion for sea-bathing and patronage by wealthy socialites reawakened interest in the city. The Lido, the Europe’s most stylish resort, still has bathing huts, designed for modesty, as you can see in the film “Death in Venice.” Many emigres enchanted by the magic of Venice lived there and San Michele,the cemetery isle GALATAS is the last resting place of eminent foreigners, such as Serge Diaghilev, Igor Stravinsky and Ezra Pound, and Joseph Brodsky. On this trip we were there to look at Brodsky Grave.
One thing I learned that Venetian doors are always made with one hinge because floors are rarely even and made from little stones. Some stones are semi-precious and covered with binding material. It’s very typical for all the Palazzi.
On my trip to Italy I had only a carry-on! Instead of packing my favorite outfits at random, I choose a color palette so I can mix and match pieces. I always bring neutral shawl for keeping warm and as a fashion statement. I do not bring heels to look good. Plus, heels take up a lot of unnecessary luggage space. Once I decided what items to pack, I take out the bulkiest and wear them to the airport- for me, it’s my pants and jacket. The key is-layering! It works wonders. I buy travel-sized toiletries. If my creams aren’t going to last, I can find something similar, especially in Italy.
At Komarov we have a good selection of tops for travel. They pack perfectly, and they are easy to wash in the sink. They my companion for all my trips.
Next time you are going on the trip try to pack your carry-on!