Venice for Christmas

December 27, 2017

Our anniversary falls during Christmas week, and we like to plan a getaway to celebrate. This year, knowing we didn’t have any Christmas plans we decided to spend the holiday in a place we’d both wanted to visit but had not yet gotten to; Venice. I booked the airline and the lovely Hotel Palazzo Abadessa, packed (mostly) comfy shoes and off we went.

I made sure we had a confirmed dinner reservation, because, as you know, for me it’s all about the food.

Venice’s airport is on the mainland, and since Venice is an island with no wheeled vehicles whatsoever there are only a couple of arrival options: train, vaporetto, or a private water taxi. I’ve never figured out how to pack light, and Steve might be worse than me, so the thought of schlepping 2 large suitcases over bumpy streets from a vaporetto stop was horrifying. We sprung for a private water taxi; a sleek, highly varnished wooden speedboat with a 10 liter engine that made short work of the trip from dock to dock. Steve was a happy camper, making sure I got lots of photos of the beautiful woodwork and the rooster tail wake. And our palazzo had a private water entrance, so we did no schlepping whatsoever. Color me happy.

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Our palazzo was built in the 1500’s, home to the Venetian Priuli family and a former embassy. Now its guest rooms reveal beamed ceilings, fabric covered walls, Murano glass chandeliers and sconces, and burled wood armoires and chests.

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A bottle of Prosecco awaited us, but by then we were more interested in a nap and a shower. Once refreshed we explored, walking and following the crowd into Plaza San Marco, getting a feel for the place. We marveled at the Christmas markets still open and thriving on the stratas and campos late into Christmas Eve, noticed how quiet Venice is with no cars, and enjoying the accents and languages from around the world. Many French, Asians and English were spending their holiday with us. As we were arriving on Christmas Eve I was concerned businesses might close early, so I made sure we had a confirmed dinner reservation, because, as you know, for me it’s all about the food. I needn’t have worried; while Christmas is not as busy as summertime there are still many, many tourists around and businesses wouldn’t waste that opportunity. Stores remained open late, restaurants were open and busy, and there were throngs of people in Plaza San Marco lining up early for midnight mass at the basilica. Our first dinner was at Calle 21, just a short stroll from the basilica and close to the Bridge of Sighs. Our waiter was fun and helpful, giving a great wine suggestion and showing us a photo of the evening’s seafood antipasti so we could make a decision. It was delicious, with polenta, shrimp, anchovies, sardines, baccalau, mussels and salmon. I had tagliatelle with porcini and Steve ate spaghetti with pomodoro. We shared a tiramisu with our espresso. The place was very casual and intimate, and played an interesting music mix of reggae, jazz and modern pop. We had a laugh about some of the selections.

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My plan was to briefly stop into the basilica to see the lights and splendor of a Christmas Eve mass. Yup, me and several thousand friends. People were being searched and scanned by security guards and the line crossed the entire plaza, so we took pictures of the lines and called it a night.

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Next up… Christmas dinner at Harry’s Bar.



{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Carol Parker December 27, 2017 at 3:20 pm

What an awesome Christmas present you gave each other!! It looks beautiful! I’ve been there once for a day and an evening but would love to go back.


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