Day 5 Italy: Seeing the sights of Venice

November 25

Morning on the Sa Marco Basin.
Morning on the San Marco Basin.

This morning we woke up to a warm sunny day. Well, warm is a relative term right now. It was probably 45 degrees outside, but with full bright sun. It was hard getting motivated to leave the hotel. Our room is so beautiful and cozy. We have the top corner room, with 4 big picture windows. The sun streams right in and gives us a showy view of the San Marco Basin. It’s just simply beautiful.

Larry reading me what we will be seeing today.
Larry reading me what we will be seeing today.

We finally got our act together and decided to hit a few museums. Our first stop was the Museo Correr and the Museo Archeologico NazionaleTraveling together is an interesting proposition: I spend a great deal of time researching our trip several months before leaving. Looking for the right hotel, the right room in the hotel, places to eat, places to see, etc. Once we get to wherever we are going Larry takes over. He decides the spots to visit, perhaps shows we want to see and restaurants. I am perfectly happy to cede my control. Don’t get me wrong, we do decide together … but in the end I just let him make the final decision. The control freak in me has to shut down every now and then.

Tea and Trammezino at Florian.
Tea and Trammezino at Florian.
Macaroons from Florian.
Macaroons from Florian.

After several hours of meandering through the two museums, which hug the Piazza San Marco, I was ready for a little something to eat. So we headed over to Caffe Florian for tea and tramezzino. If you follow me regularly you might remember this was my winning dish I made this summer for the LoHud.com Throwdown Competition. OK .. so lets just be honest, Florian is a little bit kitschy, a little bit touristy and a lot expensive. But when in Venice, you just have to go and experience this historic cafe. Even to just have a couple of delicious macaroons and a pot of tea.

Sunset over the San Marco Basin.
Sunset over the San Marco Basin.
Sunset over San Marco Basin.
Sunset over San Marco Basin.

After our pricey respite at Florian we headed back to the hotel and up to the roof. They have a lovely little room on the top of the hotel that is glass enclosed and looks over the basin with a full view of the sunset. Larry spent some time reading his script and I did a little writing.

We decided earlier in the day to try a very local osteria, just 5 minutes from the hotel, recommended by a friend from church. Osteria Oliva Nera is not fancy or alta cucina like our dinner the night before at Bistro da Venise. What we did find was a small family run, 25-seat neighborhood place that was cozy, warm and undeniably delicious.

Fried Zucchini Blossom, Oliva Nera Osteria
Fried Zucchini Blossom, Oliva Nera Osteria

To start we were delighted to find out that the special appetizer was fried zucchini blossom; a late summer dish that we very much enjoy.

Housemade Tagliatelle with  Filet Mignon and Radicchio in a Light Cream Sauce
Housemade Tagliatelle with Filet Mignon and Radicchio in a Light Cream Sauce
Pesce Frito Misto, Oliva Nera Osteria
Pesce Frito Misto, Oliva Nera Osteria

Larry jumped right in and had the housemade tagliatelle and I had the frito misto – assorted fried fish; perfect sized portions and oh so delicious. Desserts were a home run too: I went for the semifreddo and Larry opted for his favorite mascarpone.

Just as we were getting the check we struck up a conversation with the next table, finding out that they were originally from Pittsburgh, now living in Paris and London, and on holiday in Venice. We shared stories and locales we both knew and had a lovely chat. It turns out that one of the women is the Executive Producer of a BBC/Discovery Channel movie about the inspiration of the Moby Dick story by Melville. It turns out that Ron Howard is making a big budget movie about the same story, the sinking of the whaling ship, the Essex. She was happy to tell Larry that their movie will be out in the next few months, beating Hollywood. Truly a small world.

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