by Melinda Gallo

Weekend in Venice

A little before nine this morning, I was on a train heading for Venice. My friend Jill lives there and invited me to come up for the weekend. It is the first time that I have gone anywhere alone in a long time, so I was really looking forward to it. Venice is one of my favorite cities in Italy and I hadn't been in at least a year if not two.

Living in Florence :: Weekend in Venice

This time I wanted to just see the city that Jill lives in and not the touristy city that I know. I love the many churches and museums, but I swore that I wouldn't visit any this time. I usually have a habit of entering any church that's open.

When I arrived at the train station in Venice, Jill was waiting for me at the end of the binario (track). She rolled my suitcase behind her while I lugged my purse and backpack with my computer in it.

Without knowing it, she took me to areas that I hadn't previously visited, like Cannaregio. I was finally able to see the Jewish ghetto, which I hadn't walked around in before. She explained how this area is surrounded on all sides by water, so it could be closed off completely if necessary. It was rather quiet in this area because it was Sabbath, but I did enjoy seeing it.

We walked to Fondamente Nuove and sat on the terrazza (terrace) of a bar along a small canale (canal) where we sipped prosecco and ate stuzzichini (appetizers). I had to eat some baccalà mantecato (a Venetian dish made with salt cod) as it's one of my favorite dishes.

Afterwards, we walked through many small streets, called calle in Venice, to get to her apartment. I took the picture shown here from her apartment when the sun was setting. Usually we hear a lot about the rooftops in Florence, but I found the ones in Venice to be just as charming.

Once we dropped off my stuff in her apartment, Jill took me to visit a few of her favorite shops and bars in town. I have only visited Venice as a tourist, so it was nice for me to experience it in a different way. We seemed to avoid many of the touristy areas. And, when we walked down certain calle, Venice seemed to be a deserted and quiet city with hardly anyone around.

In the evening, we went to a gallery opening where an American artist, Laylah Ali, was showing her work. Jill had invited me to go with her and the gallery owner, the artist, and a few art collectors to a nearby restaurant for dinner.

During our walk back to her apartment through the calle, we were unable to feel the cold wind that I was so afraid of feeling seeing as though the weather is changing now. I even brought a light jacket in case I felt cold, but I didn't need it.

My first day of seeing and experiencing Venice with a person who lives in Venice was a lot of fun for me. I did take a few pictures, but didn't feel quite as compelled as I did the previous times I've been to Venice.

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