Although we had visited Venice in 2004, Allegra remembered nothing, being 3 at the time. I have very fond memories, especially of our accommodation, Palazzo dei Tre Archi. At the time, my italian was very limited, and we all thought we were checking into a palace. Very exciting! Allegra had asked for the Princess's room. We walked into a hotel lobby with a throne (actually a gilded wooden chair with red velvet upholstery), handblown chandelier and wall sconces - crystal and gold leaf completely overdone - Allegra loved it! Our room (in 2004) had two story high french doors with a balcony overlooking the garden. Actually, we were in quite an inexpensive hotel, decked out in rococo style, right on the canals. It turns out that "palazzo" in italian simply means "building", not an actual palace at all.
When I tried to book in this year, things had changed: it was 500 Euros a night. So we decided to just go for coffee. When we arrived . . .
this time, the rooms were tired, cramped and no longer beautiful, special, fit-for-a-fairy-princess. They had a utilitarian breakfast room, no coffee, and I wished we had never gone back!
You can't step into the same river twice... or canal.
However, our day in Venice was as magical as ever!
We went to numerous churches - our favourite was La Chiesa della Santa Lucia - She is famous because, as a young girl, she made a promise to God that if he cured her mother, she would give away everything she had. Her betrothed really didn't like the idea of marrying a girl without a dowry, so he had her arrested and tortured. She gouged out her own eyeballs and gave them to her fiance before she was carried up to heaven. So now Santa Lucia is the patron saint of the blind. We think she has chutzpah.
Saw 7 cathedrals, all very old, peaceful and awe-inspiring: shining gold mosaics,beautiful sumptuous paintings on walls and ceilings, ornate marble-tiled floors. I went to a Klimt exhibit (my new favourite artist) in a museum built by Napoleon while John went up a tower (campanile) overlooking St.Mark's Square, where the kids played with pigeons and had a great time.
Cappuccinos in the sunshine, pizza and gelato on the steps of the train station on the Grand Canal watching the gondoliers. Walked through the tiny alleyways for 8 hours - Allegra and I both had aching legs on the train home to Slovenia - Birch and John had no problem! Allegra slept for thirteen hours!
A great day!