Leaving the train station, we had the choice of walking back toward our hotel via the east side of the Grand Canal or the west. We opted for the east because it seemed a more commercial route, and I was still on the hunt for souvenirs.
So we started down the Rio Tera Lista de Spagna and almost immediately, I made the biggest mistake of our Gelato Tour. It may even have been the biggest mistake of my life, which includes dating the Opera Dude. I got a pistachio gelato. I remember pistachio being my favorite flavor the last time I was in Italy so I thought I just had to try it at least once. It was foul. Icky, horrible, stomach-churning. Patricia pronounced it disgusting and ultimately, I just had to throw it away. Do you know how bad a scoop of gelato has to be in order for me to simply toss it? Patricia, still unclear about the concept of “Gelato Tour,” had a lemon sorbet.
Sights along the way:
The marble neo-Gothic Teatro Italia is possibly the world’s most beautiful supermarket. It started life as a cinema in 1916, stood empty for awhile after the cinema closed, then housed university offices. In January of 2017, after a 2.5 million Euro renovation, the Italian retail chain Despar opened a grocers in the building. An allegorical painting called “The Glory of Italy” remains on the ceiling and the walls are covered with Art Nouveau decorations. We had no idea it was a supermarket when we passed by, or we’d definitely gone inside to check it out. As we didn’t, google Teatro Italia for blogs with better prepared writers, that have photos of rows of frozen food fridges under a classically painted, marbled ceiling.
The Church of the Holy Apostles of Christ dates from the 7th century when, according to the church’s origin story, Saint Magnus, Bishop of Oderzo (slightly north east of Venice) had a vision of the 12 apostles, who told him to build a church on a spot where he’d see 12 swans. The current iteration is the result of a 16th century renovation so the interior is mostly Renaissance.
You know what’s coming, don’t you: it’s said that in 1563, the Venetian senate decreed that every October 6 would be Saint Magnus Day and that one of his arms would be brought to St. Mark’s to be venerated. I’ve only been able to find a reference to it on one website, though, so I can’t say for sure whether that one’s true.
On random streets and alley ways:
Being from southern Arizona, the Venetian glass saguaro cactus made me smile. And I finally made headway on my gift list with Venetian (making very sure that what I was buying were products actually made in Italy) glass bracelets and Christmas ball ornaments.
We got back to the Piazza San Marco in early evening, and before we moved on to dinner, we did what turned out to be my favorite activity during our Venice stay: we sat at one of the many restaurants in the Piazza and watched the tourists wander by. Like the gondola, it was something that I’d always resisted because it’s so tourist. But sitting with a glass of wine (Patricia had a to-die-for Bellini — Prosecco and fresh peach juice) and flanked by St. Mark’s Basilica on one side and Napoleon’s palace on the other, it turned out to be the perfect place to reflect on our time in Venice and how lucky we were to be sitting there, enjoying the beautiful day.
The next morning, we were off to Ravenna.