Venice Carnival Italy – The official opening weekend

This morning, we called the Alitalia office to check if our bags were found.
We were told that they did not located them yet.
Reluctantly we put on the same clothes that we wore for the last two days on the plane, and went out into the cold day, to locate some replacement items.

In a small local store down the street from our apartment, we bought for Jules a scarf and gloves, as well as items we needed like shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, toothpaste, a hair brush, and a bunch of others things to make ourselves more comfortable until our bags will arrive.

The store owner was so happy to see our big shopping spree, that he and Jules joked that actually……..this was an Alitalia Airline conspiracy to boost the local Venice economy….. By simply keeping the tourists bags for a few extra days, and ensuring that they will replace all of their belonging…

We continued to expand this shopping spree, as the day progressed.
We bought Jules some warm boots, underwear and socks, and for me we bought a whole outfit, which included some warm long leggings, a couple of long warm shirts, a t-shirt to sleep with, underwear, and a nice looking top.

The most fun thing that we bought, were a couple of carnival masks.
They were not as elaborate as some other masks that we saw, but they seemed to be comfortable and light enough to wear in the cold weather.

The sun was shining, but it was a winter cool sun, the kind that does not make you warmer, just cheers you up with the promise of a good dry day….

The streets were filled with people, many of them wearing elaborate period costumes and masks.
Some costumes were so creative….
For example, I saw a black angel, with large black feather wings, and her partner, was wearing a black and white elegant period costume, equipped with a walking cane and holding a pet rat (made from plastic).

A group of photographers surrounded some of the elaborate costumes, and it was tricky to find Jules, after both of us were drawn in different directions to photograph the beautiful costumes.

A cheery festival atmosphere prevailed upon the city.
I heard many different languages being spoken, people came from all over the world to see Venice during Carnival.

Venice is arguable the most beautiful city in the world.
The architecture is breathtaking, and the old ornate churches, will make you stand at awe, at the artistry and craftsmanship that went into creating each one…

The narrow canals are filled with long black gondolas, decorated with satin cushions to sit on, and it is not uncommon to see couples on a romantic gondola ride, with a gondolier standing and navigating the gondola around the narrow an colorful buildings, and a jolly man sitting in the back, playing the accordion and signing in a rich baritone voice, for their entertainment.

The food in Venice, is heavenly.
There are so many small and intimate places to have a fabulous meal at.
The trick is to avoid all the big and touristy restaurants that could and do, accommodate hundreds of people.
The small places are often owned by people who pay more attention to details, and to cultivate a repeated clientele.

One beloved dining experience in Venice, is taking drinks (does not have to be alcohol) with many small tapas, which are called “Cicchetti.”

They are mostly salty dishes, and Venice has a variety of famously prepared Cicchetti, and each place adds their own daily creations.

We did not have a chance to enjoy it yet, because we made a dinner reservations in a fine dining restaurant, but we saw along our stroll, many places with windows displaying trays filled with Cicchetti, like marinated roasted vegetables, cherry tomatoes with herb and round fresh Mozzarella cheese, local fresh sardines prepared in many different ways, baby octopus and the all sorts of small creations.

Today was the official opening weekend of the Venice Carnival, and after a long day of enjoying this beautiful city, we made our way to the lovely “Il Ridoto,” for dinner.

We chose to have the four course set menu for €60 per person (without wine) and we were told that it is composed of the chef’s choices.
We will not know what it is we will be getting… It will all be a surprise…

The restaurant was full, and it felt warm and inviting, despite the fact that it was not family run.
It was a small place with fancy table settings, double table cloths and was very smart looking.

The meal was creative, fresh and delicious.
Each dish was small, but bursting with flavors and created a symphony in the mouth.

We took a nice walk after dinner.
The city was getting quieter, the day tripper already left the city….. The shops were closed and the main carnival stage, located in Piazza San Marco, had a live band playing, but almost nobody was braving the cold to listen to them…. Just a few romantic couples were dancing a sweet slow dance in the square…

I examined myself and found that I had a great day…
Venice is filled with tantalizing smells and sights….

And I had to admit…….that despite the comedy of mishaps that we had to endure to get here…. And the bitter cold weather…. I am glad that we are here… And I do think that it was a great idea to come here during carnival times…

2 Comments on “Venice Carnival Italy – The official opening weekend”

  1. Yay you are finally there Tali. Sounds wonderful and delicious, makes my mouth water reading about all the food lol. I love the photos of the asks and costumes, must be an awesome atmosphere – it also has a very ‘eyes wide shut’ feel to it. I wish we had these kind of festivals in NZ

    Enjoy your trip and i hope you get your luggage back soon. Maybe the hiccups in your trip are to remind you of what a fabulous lifestyle you have. Every now and again they are needed – all part of the balance and a bigger plan :))

    Happy valentines day Tali

    In friendship

    • Thank you dear Pam for your wonderful words.
      I enjoyed so much your reminder that indeed I do enjoy a privileged lifestyle and it seems so minor to get annoyed by such small inconveniences…
      They will soon be forgotten and the memory of the adventure will overcome all.

      We did finally get our bags and the Venice festival is truly wonderful.

      Venice is very unique and very old…
      This carnival has been in existence for many hundreds of years…
      If we think of the world as our HOME, we do not have to bring the same wonderful carnival or experiences into NZ or anywhere else….
      We simply have to think more globally… As if the whole world is ours to enjoy…

      Wishing you my friend a happy Valentine as well…

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