Tag Archives: Venice

Venice, Taparelli and Ice Cream

I guess, for me it all started with a visit to the Carnival in Venice.  February 2020.  I remember the spectacle. I had never really seen anything like it.  A piazza that looked more like a show, colors and masks and people parading around, posing and becoming photo opportunities for the tourists and the casual travelers.  Centuries condensed into a parade and a piazza turned into a Broadway show.  Leaving there, I remember thinking how extraordinary it was to have seen this event.  For all the years I had traveled to Venice, I had just missed it.  And as we drove out of Venice heading north, I remember thinking I had witnessed something special.  And then, Covid.  

Italy first, shut down and slowly this phenomenon engulfed all of Europe.  That was 2 years ago.  Now, I am heading back to Carnival and Italy to meet our staff and clients.  The suppliers who have just about survived these past 2 years with no business.  Some never made it.  Never to reopen.  For most of us, we are back and I cannot wait to hear the sounds of the Vaporetti, the lapping of water of the gondolier jetties and the winter light in beautiful Venice.  This is where it all began for me.  The windows closed. The doors shut. And now, they’re opening again.

Someone once asked me what I loved about Italy.  Was it the Forum, St. Peter’s, the Duomo, the Basilica in San Marco, the food, the wine, etc.?  The wonder of Italy is that the list is endless.  But it remined me of a funny story.  My niece lives in Rome.  She had bumped into Hugh Grant, the English actor, at a well-known bar and she had asked him what he loved most about Italy.  He paused and then said, “the beautiful darkness that hotel rooms afford me during the day!”  What he was referring to are the blinds in the rooms and in every house, apartment and shop. The Taparelli as they are called.  A moving curtain of metal slats that gives you utter privacy and solace from the sunshine and light. The bliss of absolute darkness in the afternoon for a snooze before an evening venture around the streets of Rome or Venice. Not, I hasten to say, venetian blinds.  A whole different story and a whole different century! And nowhere near as effective!! 

Taparella means a conveyor belt.  Sliding, rolling slats that interlock and offer perfect darkness. Operated electrically or on a rope-pull. They are one of the great inventions of Italia.  I always think of that great line in Life of Brian.  “What have you Romans done for us lately!  Roads, heating, bridges, sanitation, aqueducts, baths, and…Taparelli!”

Carnival and Pancake Day

I’ve experienced the beauty and craziness of the Carnival in Venice.  A fabulous and amazing costume drama like no other.  People travel from afar to parade around the squares, canals and alleyways of this truly unique city.  Hotels would be overbooked; the city would even have a limit on the number of tourists allowed.  This year, alas, we have no Carnival.  Only memories of the beautiful colors, costumes and posing amidst a spectacular backdrop of waterways, gondolas, palaces and piazzas.  Tourists would flock from all over the world to be part of this crazy scene.  Pure theatre.  Surreal and worth at least a peak once in your lifetime.








But I’m from London and grew up in a country that celebrated Mardi Gras in a whole different way.  We ate pancakes!  We called the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday…..Pancake day!  Shrove Tuesday.  The English version of Mardi Gras.  No costumes, fireworks or song.  Just…..pancakes. To denote the clearing out of the larder and beginning of lent.

Pancakes…. It was the culinary highlight of the cooking year in our household.  I never knew why we couldn’t have pancakes more often, but rules were strict.  Pancakes on pancake day. Pancakes, according to some, denote the 4 pillars of the Christian faith.  Sustenance (flour), creation(eggs), purity (milk) and wholesomeness (salt).  Not that I had a clue.  And not that anyone who was English really had a clue.  No, we were just so happy that on this day we were able to enjoy something quite tasty.  Pancakes with delicious Golden Treacle or lemon and sugar.

Mardi Gras is exactly 47 days prior to Easter Sunday so the date is a bit of a moving target and that always confused me when I was a kid.  Pancake day should be like Christmas.  A fixed date!! Rumor has it that pancake racing, yep…racing, started in 1445 in a town called Olney when a woman was interrupted with her pancake making by the calling of the church bells.  Off she ran, pan and pancakes in hand, to attend the Shrove Tuesday service!  Hence, pancake racing began its humble start.  Later, tossing the pancakes was added to the race.

Image result for uk pancake day clipart

So, while cool cities like Rio, Venice, Sydney, New Orleans, Goa and Nice may boast extravaganzas with flowers and music and dance and costumes, the Brits have …Pancake day. And Pancake races.  A little ironic for a nation not traditionally known for its cuisine culture.  No wonder the Europeans were okay with Brexit!!

Trains-Part 2

I have so many memories of night train travel from my early traveling days. The Paris -Venice overnight train. Heading out through dreary suburbs in grey weather as night fell and arriving into Stazione Santa Lucia early morning. I remember because it was my first time in Venice. I think everyone remembers their first time in Venice. The Stazione with its newspaper stand and its chaotic rumblings of morning commuters. Jumping onto Vaporetti to go to work. Canals, gondolas, a fantasy land of an unimaginable feast to a kid who had never seen a place like this before. Hand delivered by the night train. I’ve taken the night train from Aswan to Cairo. From Nairobi to Mombasa. These were fabulous journeys.


There’s a fantastic poem by WH Auden called The Night Mail. It traces the journey of an old steam train traveling from London to Glasgow with the post. It was written in 1936 and it’s still one of my favorite times. We had to memorize it at school.

Here’s the link.   Night Mail by W H Auden – Famous poems, famous poets. – All Poetry

It emulates the journey of a steam engine pulling its carriages up, up until it reaches the top of its climb and then picks up speed on its way down to Glasgow. The meter is the magic of this poem. I read it the other day to my 3-year-old granddaughter. I still remembered it from all those years ago. Teachers are amazing. And my next blog I’m going to talk about trains and places I’d like to go when this pandemic finally breaks.

See the source image


Reflections on the Pandemic: The Mask

Seven months ago, I went into a tiny store in Kyoto and bought myself a set of three masks because I thought it would be cool to emulate the health and safety protocols that Japan has had for years. Who would have thought that we would all be wearing masks as a matter of protocol on a daily basis?! Whether it is a lightweight bandanna around your neck, a medical mask, or a designer one from a fancy shop, it is standard to wear one now in Massachusetts. And in most countries in the world, it’s impossible to enter a store without a mask. Belarus is definitely an exception but they seem to have more problems with their crazy government than most. Who would have thought that when I saw the intricate masks worn at Venice Carnival back in February, like the long nose masks used to protect against the plague, it would be a premonition of what we’d see around the world on a daily basis? Even leaders of the world wear masks with the exception of the USA and Belarusian Presidents!

Who would have thought that to enter a museum, shop, or restaurant, now means that you must wear a mask. “No mask, no entry” signs are standard everywhere. I have approximately 30 masks now and I keep buying extras from my dry cleaner since he’s selling them to help supplement his decrease in business. Who would have thought?

I am not sure when we will return to our new normal. But one thing I know is that I will continue to wear my mask for the foreseeable future. It may not be 100% safe but it is preventative, protects other people from me and me from other people. And guess what? In my business, you can’t fly without one now. And who would have thought that?

And I Found Myself in Venice

Today I dreamed of Venice. I had never been to Venice during Carnevale di Venezia but for some reason, some weeks ago, I found myself transiting through this great city and arrived in the middle of the Carnevale spirit.  Venice in the winter is something incredible.  If you fly into Venice on a clear day, you are struck immediately by the silhouette of the fish that is Venice from high above – stretching all the way from the Arsenal to the Piazzale Roma.  Upon arrival, there is a new walkway at the airport that takes you from the terminal building to the ferries and motor boats.  From there, after usually a little bit of chaos, you find your boat and sail across the wide lagoon.  Looking back beyond the airport, the snow capped Dolomites are a stunning sight like the backdrop in a theater.  You pass San Michele Island before entering the small canals that lead into the main artery of the Grand Canal.
Venice never ceases to amaze.  It is like a Hollywood set – the Doge’s Palace, the gondolieri, Santa Maria Della Salute, San Giorgio on the Giudecca, and of course, the jewel in the crown, the Basillica of San Marco and its clock tower looking out across the square.  In this dream, I walked through the streets and into the piazza where I ended up in the middle of the Carnevale.  There were elaborate costumes, people posing at the Quadri, and walking deliberately, slowly, disguised with their Carnevale masks.  Everybody appeared to be on show, with some sitting in the piazzas, where musicians in costume played, while others walked along the Promenade of the lagoon.  It is the most colorful spectacle I have ever experienced.  In my dream, I walked through the centuries in slow motion with all of these characters.  I never thought that three or four days later, the narrow alleyways, the main piazza, and the canals would be empty of the three million people that come to celebrate Carnevale every year.  Venice would then take on an emptiness that it will probably never see again.  I cannot wait to go back.
It is bizarre in this time of COVID-19, to think that the masks that we wear now are strangely derived from this ancient festival where people actually wore the masks to conceal their identity and to have fun.  The masks enabled different classes to mingle together through the festivities and all sorts of debauchery took place.  A lot of people ask about the long nose masks and they are particularly relevant today.  The PesteMaschera were used by doctors to treat people with plague-like symptoms by stuffing the nose with herbs and spices.  The aroma enabled the doctors to work without the stench of the plague around them.  In addition, they believed that the mask would help ward off the plague.
The Venetian mask makers, the mascherari, held a special place in Venetian society and had their own laws and their own guild.  And the masks themselves became a central feature of the Venetian Carnevale.  It began as a Baroque carnival in the 1600’s and was then used in the 1800’s as a form of fun and pleasure.  And as a way to insulate the Venetians as their world slowly changed and alternative trade routes bypassed this great city and left it for the grand tour travelers to enjoy.


The London to Venice flight on BA is always a treat. Once you clear the cloud cover of England, you have the beautiful Alps to greet you. No matter how many times I cross the snow capped peaks, it never ceases to amaze. This year has seen tons of snow. Still, the beauty was way up high. Below it was cloud and rain and down into another gray day. But it was Venice!

I love the slow descent into the airport here. The shape of the island, the clock tower, the canals clearly visible…It’s such a strange place. Such a trip. It’s the only place where everyone on the plane looks out of the window. It’s a wow. You want it to last forever.

Venice Upon Arrival

And then the bubble burst. Immigration was a mess. There were two people for hundreds of arrivals so it took a while. It was pure Italian theater. Nobody had a clue. The immigration officers looked in no rush at all. People were getting frustrated. It was one hour before we got to our bags!

Then there was the slightly complicated journey to the motor boats. The Venice Marco Polo Airport has recently had renovations so getting to the motor boats that bring you to the center of Venice is a new experience.  It’s quite complex and not obvious to the newly arrived passengers. You have to go up the escalator to departures. Ugh. What?! And then you lose the sign. It just disappears. So, use your instincts, look for a sign, do anything. But then it pops back into view! There is a long walk along a moving escalator and down into the speedboat taxi area.

There is the usual confusion here (something’s never change!) but it is worth the wait because now it’s the greatest ride in the world. Across the lagoon and through a narrow canal and then it hits you. The grand canal. The Santa Maria della Salute, the Doges Palace, and the Piazza San Marco.

Venice in Winter

There is plenty of rain in the winter and the boards are stacked high for the Acqua Alta. In the distance the Alps beckon with snow painted across the horizon. San Marco is busy with tourists and umbrellas which always reminds me of a Prendergast painting.

I wandered back to the hotel across a couple of delightful bridges. Watched the gondola guys organizing their business and took a moment to study their technique. I tried being a gondolier once. It’s impossible! The oar, the movement, the control. It amazes and mesmerizes. Dinner later would add the final touch. Black ink squid with spaghetti.

Wireless Connections on the Frecciargento

Wireless Connections on the Frecciargento

It’s not that it’s frustrating; connecting to wireless in most countries can be time consuming, complicated, expensive and unpredictable.  But on the high-speed trains in Italy they have developed a system at the very highest level of incompetency. Essentially, Italian law mandates that they must charge you for Wi-Fi which means you must give them a credit card so that they can charge you an obligatory amount that will last for 24 hours. The completion of the form is complicated, and on a cell phone practically impossible to figure out.  The charge for this wireless connection is 1ct of €1 Euro, an obligatory charge, mandated by Italian law, so that at least 3000 people sitting in an office somewhere can attend to the paperwork required to administrate its operation.

Once you have completed the application, a username and a password are generated. Both the username and password are so long, with uppercase, lowercase, etc…that there’s a fairly good chance you’ll get it wrong at least twenty times. But not to worry, at some point you’ll get it – but then the ugly truth kicks in. Fast trains move fast because they use tunnels to cut through the central spine of Italy’s Apennines Mountains. Wireless connections, of course, do not work in tunnels.  When the connection drops you have to re-enter the password that you’ve probably forgotten, unless you were smart enough to write it down. Don’t feel bad, it will not remember you either – that would be too easy!  In addition there are five station stops between Rome and Venice; wireless does not work at station stops either and the same rules apply to stations as to tunnels. The bottom line is that if you were planning to do a lot of work on the train, you better have data roaming as your backup. But the trains do run on time!


On the Fast Train from Venice to Rome

On the Fast Train From Venice to Rome

Imagine this, the water taxi picks you up from the palazzo, you jump into this elegant motor launch which wanders through the tiny canals until at last it breaks out into the open lagoon, and there’s the Salute church in the center of San Giorgio on the Giudecca, and across the towering column with the symbol of Venice perched atop and Doge’s Palace, the Clocktower, the Basilica, the Cathedral – and you imagine you’re in a movie.

Under the Accademia bridge, past the Peggy Guggenheim museum and then a shortcut that brings you around to the Piazzale Roma;  in the distance you can make out the freneticism of the mainland as you turn the corner of the canal and see the railway station, essentially abutting the canal and the boat docks. You roll your bags off, walk to the station and sitting there is the fast train to Rome, the Frecciargento.

In spite of all of the chaos of Italy, all of the confusion, the fast trains are a shining example of efficiency that you’ll find nowhere else in the world. The train rolls out within the second, on time, everytime – traveling at speeds close to 200 miles an hour. You arrive in Rome’s Termini station, 3 hours and 40 minutes later having traveled a distance of over 300 miles. Welcome to Rome.


The Rialto Fish Market Five Course Dinner

The Rialto Fish Market Five Course Dinner

I needed to prepare a five course dinner for New Year’s Eve. As luck would have it, I was in Venice and a friend of mine knew a fish guy.  My friend had arranged to meet with me earlier in a bar for a cappuccino and we walked fast-paced across the maze of streets of La Rialto, where he introduced me to another guy who knew the fish guys that sold the good stuff. I felt a little like Jason Bourne. Abutting the Erberia, the vegetable market, is the Pescheria, one of the highlights of any visit to Venice.  You will see fish you’ve never seen: eels in the winter time, scallops in their shells, swordfish with their beaks on and razor clams called cape onghe.

I had decided that I would wait to prepare the menu until I saw what I had. I was introduced to the Fish Guy; I looked around. I would start with 10 large scallops. I would grill them in their shell with some oil and garlic. Then I was going to follow this with grilled razor clams. I would follow the razor clams with two pastas, one with small shrimp and zucchini and the other using artichoke that were in season that I planned to grab from the Erberia, and then finish off with a zuppa di pesce, which sounds decidedly better than its name in English – Fish Soup.

He asked me how I would do it. I felt the answer had to be good or he might turn me away. I would start with a fennel and onion base (he nodded slowly), add some tomatoes (ok)…then I told him I needed a good fish head or two for the broth (I’ve piqued his curiosity!), and then I would create a broth that I could empty the raw fish into for the last 10 minutes of preparation! He looked at me and said come back in 15 minutes. I returned and he’d neatly prepared bags for every course. In the fish soup there were scallops and langostina, a little monkfish, and all placed in at the very end, topped with tiny toasted pieces of bread with a dollop of aioli on them. We served the soup at 1am in the morning, having celebrated the fireworks in St. Marks at midnight. It wouldn’t have been possible without “my guy. “


Top 5 Things You Shouldn’t Miss in Venice

Top 5 Things You Shouldn’t Miss in Venice

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Not many things in the world can beat the buzz of the water taxi from Marco Polo to the center of town. We had arranged to stay in an apartment near the Ponte dei Greci, a delightful neighborhood set 10 minutes back from St. Mark’s Square and a ten-minute cut through to the Rialto.

We ended up in a fabulous palazzo built around 1550 by the Cubli family. It’s run by Roberta, a charming woman who in between managing the Palazzo was also a local Venetian guide.  Venice is a great city to get lost in but if you’ve only got a short while, Roberta will get you to all the right spots.

I adore Venice in the winter; we took the Vaporetto, It’s expensive at €7 for 60 minutes, so if you can skip it, it’s more fun to walk, get lost and discover. Even if you take my advice and get lost, these are 5 destinations in Venice that you should make a point to find:

  1. Bacari. Venice does wine well; spending your entire trip with a wine glass permanently attached to your lips is an idea worth considering. That’s Venice provides a good guide to Bacari, Venice wine barsrialto-fish-market
  2. Rialto Fish Market. The Pescheria has been THE place to get fish since the 1000s. Even if you’re not in the market for fish, you should head to the Rialto Fish Market for the people watching.  DSC_5114
  3. Jewish Ghetto in Cannaregio.  Next year is the 500th Anniversary of the Jewish ghetto and it was just announced that the historical area will be revitalized in a $12 Million dollar project.
  4. Marco Polo Airport Water bus (vaporetto)  €15 will get you from the terminals to Venice. Need at least two people! If you’re traveling solo (does anyone travel to Venice solo?) it’s the perfect excuse to make friends on the plane!
  5. Santa Maria della Salute. Completed in 1687 – you can just call it the “Salute” or health.  It was built after the plague took out a third of Venice’s population.

The Redentore Festival

I had never been to Venice during the sildenafil citrate 100mg viagra generika Festa del Redentore. It is quite a spectacle. Historically, the Redentore Festival is a celebration of the end of the 16th century plague when 50,000 Venetians died. The Santissimo Redentore Church, on the Giudecca Island, was designed by Andrea Palladio as a mark of thanks by the survivors of the plague. It is a remarkable sight from across the bay. The celebration takes place on the third Sunday in July. As with all ceremonies in Italy, it has taken on a festive air in spite of its melancholy origins. It is basically a party. Venice Redentore collage 2 080714 On the day that I was there, the weather was beautiful and warm and Venice already was bustling with its fair share of tourists. Add all of the locals to this mix as well, along with colored garlands, balloons, and makeshift restaurants around the waterfront, and you have a fun atmosphere. There literally are hundreds and hundreds of boats that come into the water that separates Santa Maria della Salute from the Redentore Church. A pontoon bridge is created to connect one island to another as it has been the way for hundreds of pharmacy online viagra years. At the magic hour of 7:00 pm on the Saturday evening, the bridge is opened. The bridge remains open until the fireworks at 11:00 pm which incidentally last a full hour and are shot into the night air from a string of pontoon boats which sit equidistant from San Marco and the Giudecca. It is semi-casual. People probably get too close to the firework pontoons and goodness knows where the rockets end up landing but no one gets hurt and everyone has fun. Venice Redentore fireworks 1 080714 There is an absolute festival atmosphere both on sildenafil 20 mg tablet the water and in the restaurants and bars that dot the perimeter of the Giudecca and the boardwalk beyond San Marco and down towards the Arsenal. At the end of the fireworks, a siren blows, the boats all free cialis coupon head back to their homes (probably at the Lido or beyond), and the bridge is open again until sunset of the following day. The Lido becomes party-central and restaurants and bars stay open until the sildenafil 100mg chile dawn. The magical 24 hour bridge that connects the Giudecca for a single day in the year is taken down and on Monday the steady stream of traffic flows along the canal once more. It is ironic that the Santa Maria della Salute, a beautiful Baroque church that sits facing Piazza San Marco, was also built to celebrate the end of another plague in nearby Mantova. A ceremony celebrating this church takes place in November and is also symbolized by the joining of the Campo Santa Maria del Giglio to La Salute by a pontoon bridge. Sometimes there is nothing like a plague to inspire great architecture and a fantastic party.

On the Hunt for Truffles

Our wine and truffle day was something that could have stretched into two days. After lunch washed down by Barolo, the last thing I was thinking was more food but I had it on my agenda to visit a truffle producing factory. So, off we went in the hunt for the elusive truffles.

Urging my Italian friend to slow his driving down, we reached Alba, the land of truffles, in one piece. It is always a miracle to me that quite intelligent people (like my friend) drive like maniacs, are fairly abusive to any driver that competes with them on the road, and seems to want to take his and my life in his hands more frequently than is helpful for my well being.

We came upon Tartuf Langhe in Piobesi d’Alba for a tour and explanation of the art of truffle hunting. We had to dress up in ridiculous outfits because of factory hygiene rules but we got to learn about truffle hunting, the differences between white truffles and black truffles, and the various applications for using truffles.

Truffle Collage 1 031414

I love truffles, especially white truffles, and honestly there is nothing as delicious as a white truffle being slowly grated over tagliatelle with some butter. It is one of the moments of life that you look back upon and hold dear like your first born child. It is something that never leaves you and here, walking around this truffle farm, the smells hung in the air and I kept on thinking of that bowl of pasta that I had had in Harry’s Bar in Venice many years before.

Taglietelle 031414

Truffle hunting is a whole mystery really. The truffle hunters are a group of locals with specially trained dogs. Their work starts when everyone else is fast asleep. They work in the dark because it is a highly secretive and competitive business. Truffle spores tend to reappear each year in the same place so when they discover truffles, there’s a good chance they will bounce back in the same location each year. Truffles are found under the ground, sometimes two feet, often by tree roots, which is why you need a trained dog or a trained pig. The Italians use dogs – any kind really, and because of their keen sense of smell, and the pungent smell of truffles, they can sniff out treasures that we can’t get to.

The black summer truffles and the black winter truffles are more common and are found in greater quantities. They look a lot like the chocolate truffles you would buy in a chocolate store. They are not as pungent as the white truffle which is why most truffle oils are based around white truffles. However, black truffles are much less expensive and therefore you can actually afford to buy them. If you are cooking, the trick is to use black truffles and white truffle oil with white truffle pasta. That would be nearly as good as having a fresh white truffle grated on egg pasta. Nearly as good but not really as good!

I bought the oil, the cream, some pasta, and I would have also bought soap if they had made it! Instead, we left with chocolates – a new diversion for them. Now with some fresh knowledge of the midnight truffle hunters and their dogs, my truffle world was nearly complete. Maybe I will train to be a truffle hunter. Yes, it is a competitive business, the stakes are high, and it helps to be a local. But, if I discover a good white truffle with my trusted dog, Alice, I could trade it for a condo in Boston. Back to reality and Turin and another spectacular dinner somewhere. I am getting to like this place.

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The Perks of the Dolomites in the Summer

After a minor hassle at the car rental counter in Venice’s Marco Polo Airport, I drove with my Stradale d’Italia Atlas away from the busy tourist town and up through the northern lakes of Italy; making a stop in Sirmione on Lake Garda for a lunch.

My aim was to go on a scenic route to the Dolomites to look at some possible itinerary ideas  for our groups while taking in some cool mountain air and maybe escaping the heat that had engulfed all of Europe.

I have been to the Dolomites to ski a couple of times in the past few years. It has the largest connected network of ski trails in the world. However, I had never visited in the summertime before.

It’s quite something.

The first thing that is clear as you climb north beyond the lakes and across the spectacular vineyards that hang on the lower slopes of the mountains is that the signage shifts language.  Entering the Südtirol, or in Italian “Alto Adige,” named after the river, you have the distinct feeling that you are not in Italy anymore. The shape of the churches, the colors of the buildings, dare I say it — the overall cleanliness of the towns, and the lack of chaos indicate that you may be in Austria or Germany. Guess what? You really are!

After Austria was defeated in the First World War, the Italians grabbed the Südtirol and renamed it the “Alto Adige.”  Every German name was given an Italian name –- Bozen became Bolzano, St. Ulrich became Ortisei, Kastelruth became Castelrotto, and so on.

The government wooed the German-speaking population and their politicians with vast amounts of money and economic incentives. Thus, the Südtirol is the richest area in all of Italy. Needless to say, they do not exactly embrace the Italian side of their heritage. Mainly, because there is none! Political parties often talk of secession but given their relative amount of independence and the money that goes into keeping them happy, these German speakers have a pretty good deal.

The area is absolutely spectacular.

The Dolomites with their pinkish hue are not as foreboding as the neighboring Alps in Switzerland and France. You can stay in towns such as Ortisei or Castelrotto (or as I did in Fiè allo Sciliar) and from there you can take advantage of the highly efficient lift system which connects the various resorts together. Once atop the plateau, there are fabulous walks, mountain bikes for hire, and even lakes to swim in. In the distance, the higher mountains still have snow on them.

However, I focused on the Alpe di Siusi, which is Europe’s largest high-alpine meadow and separates two of the most famous valleys in the Dolomites, the Val de Fassa and Val Gardena. The altitude is not even 7,000 feet, but you are up there in the mountains with phenomenal views that seem to stretch to the horizon.

While I was there, the farmers were busy haying, the cows were grazing with their bells on, and there was a steady flow of serious hikers with backpacks and poles heading to the higher terrain. The colors are beautiful and wildflowers of blues, yellows, and reds are everywhere. From a distance, it appears that the mountains have been carpeted with a gorgeous tapestry.

Alpine huts dot the landscape and are for rent in both the summer and winter seasons. The sun holds along the flat plains for most of the day. There are restaurants discreetly tucked in between the trails and using the system of gondolas and simple ski lifts, you can traverse up to around 10,000 feet.

The walks are incredible, the views are amazing, and at the end of the day, the food is extraordinary, not to mention the glorious wines from the vineyards below. They are some of the best in the world.

This is a fabulous place to wander off the beaten path. Everything works and remarkably we are still in Italy. If you have never been to the Dolomites in the summer, it is a well worthwhile two-day deviation from Venice.

Watch out for itineraries to follow. This is a great winter and summer break excursion.

Dolomites collage 1 resized 600

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