I am so excited that we’re introducing a new series on Amazing Airfare’s blog, where we share three unique travel insights from our close friends! This series is all about sharing insider knowledge about places, and suggestions of things you might want to check out in these great places. These are from the heart, a connection with a place that you don’t forget. We’re calling it Three Things.
Our first Three Things is from our friend Suzanne Mason. Take it away Suzanne!
There are so many places that I love and go back to, but I’d have to say that my all time favorite is Venice, Italy.
For me, Venice is as exciting as any mega metropolis in that it has immense diversity. La Serenissima has attracted people, customs, cuisines from all corners of the world, historically and currently.
The history of powerful doges, the spice traders, The Jewish quarter, the Grand Canal, the trade zones that set the tone for modern trade practices. The unique cuisine within the singular ecology of the Laguna makes it a place that for me is man and nature wrestling before your eyes daily.
A simple, everyday home renovation or pipe repair is like an archaeological dig with silt and clay being brought up from hundreds of years ago. It brings up evocative imagery of what the area might have looked like, who first lived there, who made the city what it is and how it is used today. It is all these lessons and more.
Whenever I go back to Venice: It never really seems to change, but I am always stunned at how blown away I am every time I go there.
The three things many people miss and should not miss in Venice are:
1) The Giardini (away from the biennale crowds) Just observe all the ordinary people in the gardens — non-tourists, old people with their mongrel rat dogs, kids with their mothers going about their day.
2) The backside of the tourism centers — the neighborhoods on the edges of the grand quarters — the schools, the groceries, butcher shops, pasta shops, local cafes, the garden supply stores. These places show you how people live there in this fantastical place. How they get their groceries home, pass all the canals, over all the slippery Istrian marble bridges, up the ancient palazzo stairs. It makes you consider all the ways in which we are the same, but how the atmosphere and surroundings influence all that Venetians do. Even going to dinner could be getting dressed in sleek evening attire and then getting in your private paddle boat standing up and rowing to your favorite restaurant.
3) The Lido – the real Venice Beach, complete with muscle heads and scanty bikinis. It is the stuff of Fellini films…old muscle men with sagging pecs wearing banana yellow speedos, young bimbos with huge hair and hot pink fingernails, fat little boys crying and eating a fast-melting ice cream cone while their glamorous mothers are trying to hook up with the young Adonis who has been giving them eyes all morning…bike riding, goats, scallop shell lined streets with artichokes growing left and right…and most fascinating of all…cars! Cars! They look strange and displaced in this world that functions so well without them.
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If you’ve found this post useful, or if you’ve got questions or comments, drop in your comment below, we love to hear from fellow travelers!