Ciao Bella! Venice is so incredible. We began Day #9 with breakfast at the hotel. They had a great and hearty American-style breakfast. We had croissants with jam, scrambled eggs and freshly chopped fruit. It was delicious. After breakfast, we headed to St. Mark's Square (a.k.a. Piazza San Marco) again. There, we went inside the cathedral...it was absolutely gorgeous, just as we expected. The mosaic designs that cover the entire ceiling are incredible. I couldn't imagine having to cover almost every inch of the cathedral ceiling in those tiny little tiles!
St. Mark's Cathedral...
Next, we headed over to the Campanile di San Marco and took an elevator all the way to the top. The view of Venice from up there is enough to take your breath away! You can see the entire city. The clay-colored roof tops with smoke slowly rising from the countless chimneys was truly enchanting.
Campanile di San Marco
Back in Piazza San Marco, I took some biscotti cookies from my purse and fed the pigeons. I was worried they'd poop on my new JCrew coat, but they didn't...haahha. I had so much fun! They were landing all over me...my arms, hands, even my head! Haha. Brad got some cute photos of the whole thing:
This was fun!
After a little more walking we found a wonderful place called Ristorante Piccolo Martini and had a bite to eat for lunch. I had an AMAZING meal of pasta with prosciutto, mushrooms and parsley in a creamy sauce....WOW. You may remember the recipe that I posted for it HERE. I seriously didn't want the meal to end...haha. It was called "Ravioli Panna Prosciutto e Funghi." Brad really enjoyed his meal too. He had penne pasta with ham and mushrooms in a tomato sauce. We shared a bottle of red wine...what a divine meal!
Lunch at Ristorante Piccolo Martini...
After lunch, we simply spent time exploring Venice and "getting lost" in the maze of streets and alleys.
Part of a yummy pistachio cookie. :)
My favorite part of Venice was the romantic gondola ride we took through the city. We found some wonderful gondoliers who had funny personalities. At 100 Euro, it wasn't cheap, but it was worth every dime! We paid a little extra to take the longer ride down the Grand Canal and under the Rialto Bridge. That ride was certainly my favorite moment from Venice. And as part of the Venice tradition, you're supposed to kiss under each bridge you go under...it was so fun and romantic! The gondolier took an awesome photo of us...with the Rialto bridge behind us. Take a look:
The gondola ride! :)
The famous Rialto Bridge...
Our wonderful gondolier...
The beautiful Grand Canal...
We chose not to spend all of our time that afternoon in museums, but instead exploring the city. I'm so glad that we did...we had a blast and got some wonderful photos. That night, we splurged at a restaurant called "Do Forni" for dinner...it was fabulous! It's supposed to be some of the best food in Venice. The experience and setting was perfect. We both had pasta again - of course...we're in Italy! :) I had the "maccheroni" pasta with tomatoes and ham in a creamy sauce...divine! Brad had the lasagne fresh out of the oven. His was equally wonderful. We shared a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. At the end of the meal, our waiter brought out a plate of cookies and a glass of "expensive wine" on the house. What a perfect way to end the meal! I wish I knew what kind of wine that last glass was. It tasted amazing and had a great "woody" smell to it.
"Do Forni" Restaurant
After dinner, we strolled through St. Mark's Square again. It had rained a little earlier in the day, and the cobblestones in the square were still wet. The way the light reflected on the stones was simply breath-taking.
Piazza San Marco at night...breath-taking!
After a long day of exploring, eating our first Italian gelato (chocolate and coffee flavored), sipping espresso, shopping and riding in a gondola, we headed home so that we could catch our train to Florence the next morning. We had quickly fallen in love with Venice!
You can see all of the photos from Venice HERE.