Nove and Venice



View from our hotel rooftop patio.

We headed out Monday morning to Nove to do some shopping for ceramics.  The city is covered wth family owned ceramic factories.  These factories produce the brands we buy in the states like Lenox and Tiffany.  However, you can buy them factory-direct for a fraction of the cost.  We stopped at the first one and ran into some other Americans who worked for the U.S. government schools.  They offered us their list of the top factories to visit and told us that we had actually arrived the “mecca” of ceramics.  It just happened to be the first place for us.  Having intentions to shop several of the factories, we had to abandon that idea since our first purchases filled what tiny amount of space we had available in the car.  Holding luggage in our laps, we drove to the U.S. military base nearby in Vicenza.


Taking only what we needed for two days in Venice, we left our car on the base and caught a bus to the train station in Vicenza.  We took the high speed train to Venice and had about 40 minutes of care-free travel.  We arrived in Venice at the Santa Lucia station amid hundreds of other tourists.  After a bit of confusion on which ticket terminal to purchase our bus ticket to the hotel, we settled on a 2 day bus pass.  Of course, buses in Venice are large boats, as are taxis as well.


With our 48 hour bus tickets in hand, we set off to Hotel Firenze.  Now, not to get confused, Firenze is the italian name for Florence.  But we’re in Venice.  Florence is for Wednesday and Thursday.  I just did that to make sure everyone was paying attention.

Andrea’, the desk clerk at Hotel Firenze, checked us in and gave us a Venice 101 tutorial to get us started in the right direction. He advised staying away from the main street where all of the Venice trinkets are sold.  He said get lost in Venice.  I’m happy to say we didn’t even walk down that main street.  We wondered the island covering the distance from the arsenal on the east side to the Jewish Ghetto on the north western side, then back to Saint Mark’s Square on the southern side.  It’s easy to get lost in Venice, mainly because there are no street signs – just directional signs to major locations like the Rialto bridge or San Marco (St. Mark’s Square).  Andrea’ also recommended a restaurant for us on Monday night called the La Madonna.  Navigating our way to restaurant, we passed dozens of shops of clothing, leather, jewelry, and sweets.


The restaurant was mainly a seafood restaurant as are most in Venice – it’s an island after all.  The tables are very close together and the restaurant is filled with people and conversation.  The food here was amazing, Russ and I had the grilled fish, with Liz ordering the fish soup and Andrea ordered the spaghetti.  This fish is the best I’ve ever eaten!  Our waiter was also an entertainer.  He was funny and attended to every need.  Russ asked him for an extra spoon to try Liz’s soup.  He feigned great objection to this extra request, then instead of a soup spoon, he brought a tiny sugar spoon,  With a wink to Andrea, he let her in on his gag. He had a soup spoon in the other hand.


Tired from our travel and full from a delicious meal at La Madonna, we set out for one more adventure before retiring for the evening.  We rented a taxi at the Rialto Bridge.  Our taxi driver took us on a tour of the Grand Canal all the way to San Marco square near our hotel, then back to the Rialto.  Walking back to Hotel Firenze, we called it a day.