This weekend we travelled to Venice for Carnivale -- it was like a fairy tale! People were out in droves dressed to the nines in regalia reminiscent of the 19th century; each costume complemented by elaborate masks cloaking the identity of each of these characters. But more so than the many "characters," it seemed that everyone had come to celebrate, from children in masks and tutus to older couples there for the fun. Perusing the artisan mask stores was like walking into little sparkly treasure chests where one can purchase beautiful anonymity.
The city itself was lovely, a series of 118 connecting islands with 409 bridges, interspersed with charming cafés and boutiques, soaring churches, and a wealth of art and architecture. I loved the energy of the city; as my friend Alicia articulated, "it has such a good vibe." Seeing the flood barriers where the water in places sometimes rises above a persons' knees made the city seem that much more ethereal -- it is sinking, literally being taken back into the sea it was built upon. I only hope that I will get to go back to visit again for more than the mere 30 hours we spent there.
- Schola S Zaccaria/Venice gallery (beautiful watercolor art)
- Al Redentore di Venezia (awesome apartment style hotel we stayed in, very affordable)
- Osteria Au Spezie (mostly seafood, but very cute with great service)
- Caffe Florian (right off the main square, kind of touristy but worth a visit to see the pretty guilded rooms -- however extremely overpriced)
- St Marks Basilica (I'm not much of a church person but I found this one very beautiful, with gold tiled ceilings and every color of marble you could ever imagine)
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