Natalie & Chris's first Anniversary in Italy: May 2007
We have returned from our glorious 10
day anniversary trip to Italy including
three nights in Venice, 2 nights in
Lake Garda and 5 nights in Tuscany.
We had help planning our trip from
numerous wonderful people on
Lufthansa airlines 9:00PM flight delayed one hour and 15 minutes due to airport traffic.
Thankfully our connection layover exceeded 4 hours. Many passengers had the earlier
connection and missed it. They had trouble even getting on our flight. We connected in
Frankfurt which is a nice airport with very friendly people. Though I must say I had trouble
finding a decent snack/lunch. Our connection was smooth just over one hour into Venice.
Venice airport was nice and we took a private water taxi for 90 euros which really wasn’t worth it because of the poor
weather, but I didn’t want to share a boat because our hotel was the very last stop and it was getting VERY LATE. My
husband didn’t exactly realize that Venice is all water and no cars at all. So we had an interesting ride over. We got
to our hotel nearly 7pm just in time to change and get ready for dinner.
We stayed at the hotel Danieli near St. Marks square. Due to flooding our taxi could barely get under the bridge to
get us to our hotel, but with some VERY SWIFT maneuvering, we made it. I was a bit nervous with all handling of our
"heavy" luggage, but they managed it quite well. Arriving into the Danieli, slightly jet lagged we were in AWE of the
four story GRAND foyer. (I’ll attach a link to our pictures in another post). It was breathtaking and worth every penny
hehe. Check in was smooth and we arrived at our hotel room with a complimentary bottle of champagne and truffles
since it was our anniversary. We were happy! Our room was an inside room about 30 sq meters, room 221. It was
beautifully decorated including a white marble bath. It was the smallest room we’ve ever stayed in, but we expected it!
I must say the amenities, décor and location did make up for the short comings in the room size. We had a great blow
dryer (which was a relief since my converter and adapter didn’t work). They had a towel warmer in the bathroom,
slippers, robes (of course) and a vanity stool for me to sit on when getting ready. The TV and stations were actually
the best we had for our trip, but that was not saying much at all. There was 3 english channels and cnn was one of
them. I guess we’re not on vacation to watch TV but its something we’re used to in New York.
Breakfast at Hotel Danieli was excellent and conveniently included in our rate. It was served at the rooftop
overlooking the Grand Canal. It was wonderful eating up there. They served eggs benedict at the buffet everyday. I
RESTAURANTS and EVENING adventures:
The FIRST night we ate at our hotel the Danieli at the rooftop restaurant with some of the best views of the Grand
Canal. My husband Chris enjoyed his asparagus risotto immensely but I was disappointed with the John Dory I
ordered (which is one of my favorite fishes). The service was great but as advised, some of the best meals in Venice,
and in Italy are not at hotels, they are at Osteria’s and Trattorias. This is unlike New York and was something
valuable I learned on my trip thanks to all here. We walked around and watched a puppeteer for 20 minutes (dancing
to Grace Kelly by Micah/pie in the sky). They seemed silly at first, but were quite talented. That evening we had
drinks and listened to music at the Danieli Bar. The martini’s were (gasp) 20 euros and higher. But if you’re staying
there I guess we’re not supposed to gasp about the price hehe.
The SECOND day we had a light lunch in Venice, nothing spectacular but good. That night May 27th was our first
anniversary. How quickly the year went! We ate at our Taverna La Fernice and headed to the Casino afterward. The
restaurant was completely dead at 7:00pm. We were the first to arrive and were over anxious for other guests to join
us because we felt weird dining alone. The food and service was excellent. I wouldn’t run back there but we really
had a lovely anniversary dinner. After dinner we headed to the casino and I stress headed! What an adventure
getting there. The waiter notioned that it was a 20 minute walk, well 20 minutes by boat would be accurate, 45
minutes LATER on foot we nearly got a divorce. The weather didn’t cooperate so there was high tides and flooding.
Eventually I said we need to get directions or head home. Luckily we found the tourist information area and they
guided us to get a taxi (for 40 euro) to the casino.
Italy Trip report May 25 - June 5, 2007
The THIRD and last day we had the most incredible and delicious lunch in Venice at Ristorante “da Carletto” (calle
delle Bande 041 52 27 944). It was tucked away behind a metal gated window on a darker street. A hidden gem! My
husband had Gnocchi Venetian style which was in a tomato sauce. They were so light and small, just mouth watering
delicious. As a result of this meal Chris and I ended up ordering gnocchi at nearly every restaurant to try to find
something comparable (and we did not). Our last night we didn’t know where to eat because of the terrible weather
and pouring rain. We made and changed our reservation about 7 times in our room. Eventually we walked around
and had a light dinner at a pizzeria restaurant. I thought I’d try prawns but they arrived uncut with heads, tails and
eyes. Gross! I couldn’t wait to get out of there. We passed a restaurant on our way home called La Forno which
looked incredible. They actually gave us a suggestion for dessert. We ate at All Angelo’s on a street with that name.
It was good, very good with delicious wine! (note to all: look at for service charges and cover charges). Our last night
we listened to music at the Danieli Bar again. The musician was very talented, we thought we’d sit for 10 minutes and
stayed nearly 2 hours. He was so good, we started writing down the names of the songs he sang for our memories.
SIGHTS and SHOPPING:
We took a lovely gondola ride on the inner canals as the water was choppy. It was romantic and I’d love to do it
again, in fact I’d love to return to Venice. 3 nights was too short, we really adored the city. We saw St. Marks square
and some sights in the area but didn’t venture out as we hoped because of the limited time and uncooperative
weather. We ended up doing a lot of shopping, more than anticipated. They had wonderful men’s clothes and I found
some things for myself OF COURSE. It was fun and the shops were so unique. I was sad to leave because it was
truly memorable and romantic. The streets and people really make it magical.
We took another 70 euro water taxi (too lazy to take a more affordable one) to Piazza Roma to pick up our rental car
from AutoEurope aka Europecar. The process was smooth and incredibly quick. To our surprise, they upgraded our
car one entire class free of charge. We got a regular size (c class) and ended up with midsize (e class). It was
immaculate and about a year old. I’m glad it was larger because I underestimated just how many pieces of luggage
we’d bring (another lesson we learned, try to pack LESS).
We headed to Lake Garda with more favorable weather conditions. Exiting Venice was quite easy (with the help of
my Garmin nuvi GPS navigation).
The casino was on the northern part of Venice near the train. It was very
elegant (jackets required) and most of the people there were high rollers (and
we most certainly are not). They request your passport to get and take your
picture. They you have to walk up nearly 100 steps to reach the table games
(3 enormous flights of stairs).
I felt like an out of shape American by
the time we got to the top because I
was panting. The casino was stuffy bit
more stuffy than the Grand Casino in
Monte Carlo if that’s possible. It’s a bit
more remote I guess. People spoke
little English here but we managed. The
only negative was ordering drinks. They
really didn’t understand vodka martini
and after 20 minutes of thinking I was
drinking the worst vodka it dawned on
me I was drinking gin.