Sunday, May 17, 2009

Four More Days!

Four more days till I leave for Venice! How excited do you think I am.... If you say VERY, you'd be close. One thing I'm looking forward to: eating at Ristoranti Riviera. IMHO it's the BEST restaurant in Venice. A nice mix of traditional and new, Riviera has never, ever disappointed me. And, Luca and Pietro Fra Diavolo (my name for the red-headed waiter) are a unique mixture of crazy sense of humor and desire to give every diner a fantastic meal. For those of you in need of a place to stay, Riveria has a fantastic B&B above the restaurant. I think the aromas from the kitchen would drive me insane....

I rook this photo in April 2007. It's the view from Riviera's terrace. As you can see, we're waiting for the main course!


Monday, May 04, 2009

Safety in Venice

I don't think the swine flu has made its way to Venice, but there are a few things you should do to stay safe.

1. Venice is a very safe city. There isn't a lot of crime and you can wander around at all times of day and night without feeling threatened.

2. Pickpockets are a big problem, as you might guess. If you're in crowded San Marco or an unbelievably crowded vaporetto, keep you hands on your wallet/pocketbooks. If you're a backpacker, don't keep your pack on your back on the vaporetto. First, it's rude (you're taking up too much space). Second, a pickpocket will have a lot of fun dipping into your belongings.

3. If someone "spills" mustard or something on you, don't worry about that. Worry about your wallet.

4. Ignore the fake bag sellers on the main walkways. If you buy a fake, you're liable for a big fine. The sellers and buyers are both guilty in Venice. Don't even acknowledge the sellers--they will hound you if you do.

5. Buy the vaporetto pass. They don't often check tickets, but if they do--and you get caught--it's a fine, payable on the spot.

6. Make copies of your passport and keep them with you. When you check into the hotel and apartment, the info will be recorded for the police to check. If you go to an internet cafe, you'll have to show it, too. It's better to have a few copies than leave the real thing with a clerk.

If you don't follow my advice, you may pay for it--or get strung up where the old-timers met their fate!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

After 75 Years, the Temporary Accademia Bridge to Be Replaced?

The wooden Accademia Bridge was erected in 1933 as a temporary structure until a permanent bridge could be built. 75 years later, Venice may be finally getting around to building that permanent bridge.

News reports say that Venice's city council on Thursday opened the bidding to design a replacement for one of the city's key bridges, the Ponte dell'Accademia.

The council itself doesn't plan to spend a penny and is instead in search of a sponsor to fork out five million euros, an architect and a building company to present a joint offer by the end of August. The council plans say that the iron arches supporting the bridge will remain, but the wooden section will be replaced with a new design, either in stone or a metal alloy, and the entire structure given an overhaul. quotes public works councillor Maria Rumiz as saying that Venetians had become fond of the bridge, and that she expected there would be some polemics.

She said it was necessary to ''overcome'' the idea that Venice was ''made of postcards'' without any structures that ''need to be eliminated''.

I took the photo of the bridge in May 2003.