How to Savor Venice – Merengues and Presecco!
After six wonderful days in Venice I was departing from this uniquely beautiful city and heading to Ferrara the next day. The morning dawned bright and clear as the forecast had promised, which was a welcomed break from the occasional chilly rain the day before. On top of that, there were two holidays taking place for Venice: Italy’s Liberation Day and the Festival of San Marco.
Instead of rushing straight out to wander the walkways and bridges of this amazing city, I focused on getting some work done so I could enjoy the middle of the day. This put me in the Hotel Becher‘s breakfast room just before they were done serving their delicious food, which wraps up around 10am. Here I met a lovely couple, Jerry and Regina from Boston, who were in Italy for their first time and had just arrived at the hotel the evening before. We exchanged great recommendations of other towns to see in Italy and stories of other European towns we had commonly visited, like Barcelona and Madrid. Then they departed for their first day of wandering the city and I took my yogurt and fruit and my cappuccino out to the dock of the hotel that grants me the perfect view of the canal. It’s literally there right at my feet and at that time of day the sun was shinning on me, warm and bright through the narrow walls of the old buildings along the canal.
Sitting out on the deck, I wasn’t sure what was funnier…me taking pictures of the gondolas and their passengers or them taking pictures of me and the picturesque setting of the hotel. I continue to be amazed at the number of gondolas that fit in the canals and how well the gondoliers navigate around each other and under the low ancient bridges. My favorite still, is the gondolas that come floating by with an accordion or classical guitar player accompanied by an Italian male singer. Enjoy the sounds with me from my earlier post: Taking In Venice.
As lovely as the scene on the canal was, I finished breakfast and headed out to a place that the night before a friend had showed me – The Scala Contarini del Bovolo. Seeing it the night before, with stars in the dark sky background and dim lights highlighting features of the architecture, was literally mystical and quietly striking. It made me feel like I had stepped back in time…seeing it in the daytime was certainly beautiful as well, but quite the different experience. Maybe this was also because the small hidden-away courtyard of the scala was frequently crowded by tourists coming and going as I stood to the back and soaked in the sun and the site.
At one point, the small courtyard was empty and from a high window, the sounds of Norah Jones floated out over my head…could it get any better than this? If you have a chance to visit Venice, I highly recommend that you find and see this site. Its not as well known among tourists and not as easy to find with its location tucked away down a maze of narrow passageways.
It turns out that the day could, and would, get even better. From there I met up with my Venetian friend Massimo during his work break. He wanted to introduce me to what he expertly knows as the best merengues made in Venice, and possibly all of Italy. The little pasticceria is called Rosa Salva and serves a variety of foods ranging from fresh panini sandwiches to chocolate truffles and many other sweets like their merengues.
Up to this day I had never indulged in the delightful texture and taste of merengues. “Melt in your mouth” is not quite the way to describe eating these…its more like dissolve or evaporate in your mouth…perhaps what eating clouds would be like and way better than cotton candy. Add to the delicious experience the bubbly Prosecco that we savored with our merengues and you have what Massimo and I decided to call “holiday in a lunch, Venetian style”.
From there, we ventured to a nearby courtyard to sit and have a small sandwich in the sun. Where we sat was along a small canal and in front of one of the many churches in Venice. I realized it was already 1pm, and I already felt as though the day had been fully experienced…ahhh, Venice!