St. Mark's Square
Russot Hotel, Mestre
We arrived in Venice in a flight stopping in Barcelona from Malaga. It was about 15:30. After searching for the right transport (by bus), and after waiting in a queue for thirty minutes to buy the tickets, we found ourselves in our way to Russot Hotel. We got down the bus after twenty-five minutes, at the stop that the driver told us. We could see our hotel but we had to cross a highway whith cars passing full speed. No trace of overpass, not even a single pedestrian crossing to go to the other side of the road. We had to walk for fifteen minutes with our luggage to find the right way to cross. We arrived at the hotel and it was worth it. A welcoming luxury place with courteous receptionists ready to help. We left our luggage at the hotel and we made to Venice, about fifteen minutes far by bus. Our hotel was located in Mestre, an area in the mainlands of Venice, connected to the island of Venice with a kind of highway that makes its way over the Adriatic Sea. Once in Venice we walked to St. Mark's Square. The stroll turned out to be a bit tiresome since the night was closer and closer and the streets of Venice are a real labyrinth: no perpendicular streets, on the contrary, they were bended and sinuous; furthermore, the numbers of the houses are in general very high and they are not correlative. We found a place to eat in Tripadvisor, which subsequently was a great discovery. The small stablishment was called "D'al Moro's". No chairs, no tables, just pasta to take away; the client's area was not more than ten square meters. The best thing of the place: the pasta and the guy working there; the pasta was just exquisite, fresh, made some hours or minutes before consuming it, with a great variety of sauces and served in a kind of recipients made of cardboard filled with pasta enough to be left over. On the other hand, the guy dealing with the customers was the life and soul of the place. Kind and talkative, spoke every language of the customers entering there, and, of course he spoke Spanish with us. We had dinner in D'al Moro's and returned to the hotel by bus.
Tuesday, May 5th.
Bridge of Sighs
Crystal handicrafts, Murano island
The sun is just rising in Mestre. We went down from our room to the dining-room since breakfast was included in the price. Then we catched a bus to Venice. The hotel receptionist offered us cheap bus tickets and we bought them; so we did the rest of our days in this city. Once in Venice we visited the "Palace of the Doges" (The Palace of the Dukes), located in St. Mark's Square. After five minutes in a queue, we managed to go into the place. All the majesty and the traces of power of the medieval Venice were present in this palace built between the X and XI centuries. Pieces of art of different artists of this period, medieval weapons, shields, crossbows, the first guns and rifles, bows, arrows, spears... all exposed to the public in an ingenious way. One of the final parts of the visit was the group of jails and dungeons under the palace. And as culmination we crossed through the well-known "Bridge of Sighs". All those punished by death penalty crossed this bridge when they made to their unlucky end.
Once out of the Palace, we took a Ferry to Murano island. The glass handy-crafts in this island are from another world, another level. You can find from the smallest, delicate and colourful piece of glass to huge statues and lamps of all kind in this island. Everything carefully made to the minimum detail.
All the displacements in Venice are made with vaporetto, the official public transport of the city. Since we were always moving from one place to another, we decided to buy a 24 hours pass with which, for 20 €, we could freely move around the city. When we returned from the island we decided to stroll along the Customs Building including the Santa María de la Salute church.
Dinner time: we decided to enter in a restaurant near the railways station and the Calatrava Bridge. Pasta, pizza and fine red wine. In our way to the bus to return to the hotel we stopped to see the paintings of a painter using crayons to make his pictures, and he did it wonderfully. We started talking with him on the very street and we finished buying him one sheet with the "Bridge of Sighs". This picture still stands on one wall of Marta's bedroom. We had time to speak about his younger years in Cadiz and even the similarity of the corruption between Italy and Spain.
Wednesday, May 6th.
After our usual copious breakfast at the hotel, we made to Venice. We decided to enter the "Correr Museum" located at St. Mark's Square as well. It's the official museum of the city. Old documents, objects, maps, all of them representatives of the city history are exhibited here. We walked to the Naval Museum from there though we decided not to visit this place. And then we made to "The Arsenale", where the shipyards, the arms deposits, among other military stuff were centuries ago. This place continues being military zone.
We went on with our stroll until reaching the "Castello district" for we were interested in visiting the non-turistic Venice.
One of the most expected moments was very close, our gondola trip. We rented one for half an hour, 80€; expensive, but it's a compulsory thing to do in Venice. The "gondolero" told us some curious things, for example you have to do a two-years training and studying to do his job. Once we finished this short but intense trip through the channels, we went to a concert of Vivaldi, a classical of Venice, in a church close to "Canale Grande", the main channel of the city. Once the concert was over we went to eat pasta in D'al Moro's.
When we finished with the pasta, we saw Venice off; we were making to Rome by train the following morning.
Thursday, May 7th.
After checking out, we took a bus to the Mestre railways station this time. We reached there in only fifteen minutes; we bought the tickets for the train and we validated them before getting in. After three and a half hours we arrived in "Termini station", Rome. On the way we met a brown-skinned woman who was a piano teacher. The hotel in Rome was only to a five minutes walk from the station. Impossible to be more straightforward. Our friends coming directly from New York with their small daughter were waiting for us at this place: Lucy, Naitic and Nataly. It was lunch time and they were in a restaurant at the "Republic Square", about ten minutes strolling from the hotel (by the way the name of the hotel was "Belvedere Termini").
We went to the "Vatican Museums" in the evening. We had a reservation for this visit made in their official web site; we avoided long queues doing it this way. The collection of pieces of art we were about to see was simply astonishing: the fortune in there just between Michelangelo and Raphaello was priceless. It goes without saying that there were many other well-known masters' pieces shown in this place. The end of the visit was the "Sistine Chapel". Sublime. Made by Michelangelo. It's unbelievable how the human's mind can create the frescos on the walls and vaults in this Chapel. Not in vane he worked on them for many years . So many years that he was said to finish crazy.
We could have a glance to the outer Colosseum this very late night Friday as well.
Friday, May 8th.
St. Peter's chains
Moses sculpture (Michelangelo)
We made a morning visit to the "Santa María La Magiore Basilic". Later on we made to another church where presumably the chains with which Saint Peter was tied up are shown. The well-known "Moises" statue by Michelangelo can also be found in this place called "San Pietro in Vincoli" church. After this, we focused in another church: "Santa María de la Victoria". The famous statue of "Santa Teresa de Avila in ecstasy" is exhibited here.
Later on we visited the outer Colosseum again, and then we went to the "Roman Forums" where Julius Caesar's tomb is still preserved. At the end of this long visit we walked to the "Piazza del Popolo", a huge square typical in Rome with a very good ambient. Then we strolled to another typical square in Rome that cannot be missed: the ''Plaza de España".
Saturday, May 9th.
Inside the Colosseum with Lucy, Natic and Nataly
At a terraced restaurant, our last night in Rome
It was Vaticano's turn now. The building itself and the square ahead of it are simply astonishing. It was completely crowded; the reason: it was Sunday and the Pope said his weekly homily from his usual window in one of the Vatican walls at 12:00 in the morning. After hearing the Pope's words we decided to have lunch in "II Ritovo del gusto", a restaurant where we ate an exquisite pasta. When our stomachs were full we visited the Colosseum again, but we entered at the inside this time. Simply amazing, majestic, huge... As a curiosity, the Colosseum's not circular as it may seem but elliptical. Another thing difficult to understand is that, according to the history books, the trench was filled with water and small naval battles were held in it. Once our visit to the place was over we saw the "castle and the bridge of Sant'Angelo", under which the Tiber flows. Then we went to the city council square also known as "Plaza del Campidoglio". We can see this square in all the Italians euros in one of their sides. It was time to see our friends from New York off; they had to continue their trip to Venice the following day and we had to return to the real world, to our daily routine. And so we did. They went to the hotel, their little girl could not keep up with the adults' pace. The three of us wanted to make the most of our last night in Rome and decided to have dinner in one of the numerous terraces that took advantage of the mild Roman weather. Our chosen restaurant was very close to the "Sweet Home" hotel, where we slept in our first visit to Italy in 2006.
Our trip anecdote was a fire in Rome's airport two days before leaving that forced us to change our comfortable direct flight to Malaga; we had to stop in Barcelona like the outward trip. They advised us with an email and we luckily could fix this issue by the internet. For the company could not contact aII the passengers, all kind of disappointing and surprise reactions could be seen at the airport when they noticed that their flight had been cancelled and they could not find a solution on time.
Sunday, May 10th.