Venice 2018

We visited Venice for a week in early spring. It was a good length of time to see most of the sights. The weather was cool enough to keep the mosquitos away and not so rainy that we were deterred from outings. Here are some of the highlights of our trip.

Venice is best known for the canals. We didn’t know how much we’d be climbing over bridges, but once we returned home, the gym seemed easy.

Photos of the Grand Canal 

Photos of Small Canals

Other main attractions included
St Mark’s Square,
St. Mark’s Basilica,
the Doge’s Palace, and
the Frari Basilica

We took the vaporetto to the islands of Burano and
Murano. These are quaint places and well worth a visit.

Our favorite lunch place was Antica Osteria Ai Tre Leoni, between St. Mark’s Basilica and San Zaccaria Church. Our favorite dinner place was Al Bacco Felice in Santa Croce.

See the photo album for photos and a slide show of the entire Venice trip.

Cinque Terre

During our trip to Florence, we took a side trip for two days to Cinque Terre National Park, a lovely spot on the western coast of Italy. We stayed in Riomaggiore and took the train to visit Vernazza and Monterosso farther up the coast. This is a beautiful area and well worth the effort to get there.

Photos of the Cinque Terre Area.

Florence 2018

We visited Florence for a month in early spring. The weather started out a bit cool, but warmed up during our stay. Here are some of the highlights of our trip.

Florence has wonderful art, churches, palaces, gardens and historic sites. During our month we saw the main attractions. These include:

Palazzo Vecchio,
the Florence Duomo,
Boboli Gardens,
Florence Arno River Views,
San Marco Museum, and the
Santa Croce Church.

We visited most of the museums in Florence, being art lovers. We didn’t get the Firenze Pass because it’s all you can see in three days. I get museum burn-out after a few hours, so the Firenze pass wasn’t a bargain for me. Instead, we skipped the huge lines by getting reservations for the two busiest museums (Ufizzi and Accademia Gallery). You can do this by visiting the reservation desk and paying a few Euros more for a timed entrance a day or two ahead – you can do it online but you still have to go to the reservation desk to get your paper ticket. I observed that they don’t actually enforce the time of your admission (not sure about date). Our longest wait was about 15 minutes, using a reserved ticket. I’m not sure how well this works in the busiest times (summer), but it did work in spring.

Our favorite lunch place was Leonardo’s Self Service near the Duomo – economical, friendly staff, and a local place. Another favorite lunch place was Pizzeria A Taglio, northwest corner of the Duomo square (across from Scudieri, also recommended for pastry). The pizza and calzones were delicious and not too pricy, considering the location.


We took the #13 bus to the San Miniato Basilica for the
Vista of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo. We attended the monks’ vesper service at the Miniato Basilica, which was lovely.

See the photo album for photos and a slide show of the entire Florence trip.