Monday, October 4, 2010

Back from Italy

I returned from Italy earlier this month and again was reminded why this is one of my favourite countries. I could return again and again! I've taken a lot of photos and will show (just some) of them over the next few posts.

Our tour started in Venice--I don't think there is a more magical city. Although venues like St. Mark's Square and the areas around it were very crowded, fortunately our hotel, the Giorgione, was centrally located, yet tucked away in what was largely a residential area. It didn't take long to walk to vaporetto stops and from the open window of my room, I could hear the chatter of children walking to school. The absence of motorized vehicles gave a special quiet calm to the narrow streets. On our first night, after a reception in the garden of the hotel, with an introduction to Venice and Italy by a local guide, we walked to a nearby restaurant and dinner of delicious local dishes.

Our group spent a memorable dayon the island of Murano . Our guide was Amy, from the American Midwest, who makes her home on Murano and she gave us a unique perspective of what life is like for a North American in Italy. Amy is apprenticing under Luigi, a master craftsman. She took us for a tour of the island, where we visited the workshop of a family of glass blowers. They have carried on a tradition for over a hundred years. It was a privilege to see the distinctive creations, with intricate arms of flowers, curlicues--all in different colours and designs. Hard to believe the artistry!

We also had lunch at a little restaurant where the glassblowers and other locals eat. Another memorable time when we sat out in the garden and ate delicious, freshly prepared local specialities. I am embarrassed to admit that I ended up getting lost after lunch and never did make it back to Amy's and Luigi's studio. I wandered around and admitted I had no idea where I was and ended up just taking a vaporetto back to mainland Venice. (How can anyone get lost on Murano?)

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