Hola Friends and New and Current Subscribers:
This summer I added another intriguing place to my travel list. The floating city is built over logs on 117 small islands. It is mind boggling that huge buildings and structures have withstood the pass of time in what seems such a weak and unstable foundation! July is one of the hottest months with very high temperatures and humidity that tarnishes jewelry in hours. The views are amazing as are the gondolas, canals, churches, piazzas, small walking bridges and endless stores with carnival masks, purses, shoes, boutiques and charming street-side dining restaurants. To say the least, shopping and good eating are great! The culture, customs and language accent of Venice is unique and stands out from the rest of Italy. It is a melting pot of native, Romanian and Asian cultures with a legacy of tradesmen and hard working people. Landscape wise, little has changed since ancient times and although the city sinks a bit as time goes by natives do not seem too concerned about it. Piazza San Marco (a landmark location) floods every time it rains and then it drains magically afterwards.
Venetian Cuisine and Traditions
For starters Venetians are proud of their ancestry and cuisine. It is based on seafood and intriguing pasta dishes as black linguine with squid ink and calamary rings. While a colorless striking and delicious dish, it is not the most glamorous as your teeth, mouth and tongue will turn black while you eat it (see picture). If you have good humor, this is a dish you want to share with someone and not tell them that they will end up with black lips and beyond until they realize it or you die laughing before. Simple dishes are the norm in Venice and ensalada mixta (mixed salad) or ensalada verde (green salad) are the typical accompaniment to just about any meal, from pizza to pasta. One aspect of the food that I really enjoyed is that pastas and salads are lightly and expertly dressed with little sauces and olive oil and balsamic or red vinegar. The pizzas are light with a few sprinkles of the dominant ingredient with very little tomato sauce and cheese. A true delight!
What Americans should know before going to Italy
Italians are fun and friendly people who are proud of their cuisine and long traditions. Italian restaurants in America don’t do Italian cuisine justice when it comes to the culture and traditions. For instance, Italians don’t dip their bread in olive oil sprinkled with pepper or cheese, they don’t use a spoon with pasta, and they don’t drink capuccino after dinner, but in the morning. And The Caesar salad is not Italian, but Mexican. Did you know that?
Our next issue will include other cities I visited in Italy. There’s a world worth of information about this charmingly delicious country. So, stay tuned.
Last, but not least, have a wonderful and safe Labor Day weekend!