Our Trip to Italy Part 2

13 Mar

                                                                                                                                                                Bill Lites


After breakfast at the Flut Bar the next morning, we took the city tram to see Leonardo da Vinci’s fresco of the Last Supper at the Santa Maria delle Grazie.  They were still working on the five-year restoration of the painting, and were meticulously removing centuries of soot and grime.   DiVoran really enjoyed finding out how the fresco had originally been painted, and now seeing how the restoration process worked in detail.


Then it was on to explore the many shops in the beautiful indoor Gallera Vittorio Emenuele Mall, and to have lunch at the American Bar Ristorante there.  This is where we first witnessed “The Italian Coffee Break.”  It seems that the Italian men would come into their favorite ristorante in twos and threes, dressed in their business suits, overcoats and fedoras, walk up to the espresso bar, and order their coffee.  It came in tiny cups, into which they would stir in sugar and then throw the entire cup down their throats in one gulp, pay and be gone before we knew what was happening.  We figured they were on their way home for their afternoon “sonnellino” (nap).


Our Kodak moment for the day was one that DiVoran saw and wished we had a video camera to capture the entire scene.   It was of a young woman with her two small daughters in the Duomo.  DiVoran said all three wore wool coats like she had worn in the 40’s.  The beautiful mother helped the little girls select candles and light them.  The littlest one, who couldn’t have been more than three, started to sing “Happy Birthday” in Italian, but her mother gently hushed her.  All the while, the candle flames lit their small faces and made their large brown eyes glow with excitement and wonderment.


We headed for Venice the next morning with a 3-hour train ride on one of Italy’s 1st class Europe Rail  high-speed trains through the country side from Milan.  Marcia picked us up at the train station in Venice and showed us some of the main attractions of Venice including the San Giovanni E San Padio, Santa Maria Glorosa Dei Frari and Scuala Di San Rocco churches.


We had lunch at the Bora Bora Ristorante with Marsha, and two of her fellow Disney cast members.  After lunch we strolled along the Grand Canal to the famous Rialto Bridge, where we shopped the many shops located within the bridge.


Continuing on with our mini-tour, next we visited the beautiful St. Mark’s Basilica, known for its unique Italian Gothic and Byzantine architecture.  This Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark is the church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, and was completed in 1071 AD.  This famous structure is rumored to house the relics of St. Mark the Evangelist, which were stolen from their original resting place in Alexandria, Egypt by Venetian merchants, and brought to Venice in 828 AD.  The adventure is depicted in the 13th-century mosaic above the door farthest on the left of the front entrance of the Basilica.  What a magnificent experience that was, with the many and varied mosaic creations throughout the entire edifice.


After leaving St. Mark’s we caught a water-bus for a quick tour of the Grand Canal, on the way back to the train station and Marcia’s car.  From there, it was a short 18,5 km drive to Marsha’s apartment, on the outskirts of Mogliano Veneto, met her landlords and to finish the day with a fabulous Italian dinner.  After that, we were ready for bed, and what a bed it was.  But, you will have to wait for Part 3 to find out what I mean, so don’t go too far away.

—–To Be Continued—–

3 Responses to “Our Trip to Italy Part 2”

  1. susanjmcleod March 13, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

    very enjoyable armchair trip for me! Loved the little girl singing “Happy Birthday.” What angels!


  2. ludyja March 13, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    Can’t wait to hear the rest of the story! Brings back many good memories here, as well.


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