Josh bought this awesome steampunk mask at Ca Macana. He was musing in this shop, debating if he should get metallic steam punk masks.
But we found this red mask in another shop — but it is still made by the Ca Macana Atelier! They must make masks and ship it all around the city, including the smaller shops. Try to avoid major tourist hubs and look for the ateliers.
This is my mask. I bought if from La Gioia. It is a family shop and I ended up buying my mother a souvenir from here as well. I was drawn into the store by a giant metal mask that was in the shape of a giant disc, like something you see in a Jesus-Madonna painting, except instead of being a religious sun around your head, it has an engraving of the Venice bridge. The man who owned the shop came out and started to chat with me and said the disc had Swarovski crystal in it. I shyly said that I would buy the mask in a heartbeat if I wasn’t so poor. He laughed and said to look at the other masks too. He was very helpful and I was able to try on a variety of masks, til I found a right shape for my face.
I got these ceramic tea cups for 22 euro! It was at a small shop called Dangaya, seen below:
Anyway, back to the fancy food recommendation. I would recommend getting an antipasti platter for an appy. The free bread they give in the city is generally very good where ever you go and this would be a perfect pairing with the free bread, so it doesn’t go to waste. I really also love hot chocolate in this city – it literally is just thick, chocolately goodness. Also again, go for the gelato. You can usually buy it 1.50 euro to 2. Anything higher will be gourmet and just as good, but the cheap gelato is just marvellous.
Random: Try their Minestrone Soup! It is actually way better here than its North American counterpart. And it isn’t too expensive. I grew up thinking minestrone was quite bland and mushy, but the Italians get it right. The veggies are not overcooked and the seasoning is lively rather than subdued. I tried a wiener schnitzel here, and I still prefer Germany’s.
Always, always try to eat seafood. This wasn’t as good as my previous calamari dish, but I sure did love the little deep fried anchovies. My father makes these at home, and these too were home-cooked. So good! It’s funny how we get salad as the last part of the meal, usually:
We wandered St. Mark during the night. In the morning it was flooded, so you had to walk around with your rainboots. Pack rainboots if you’re travelling off season! If you’re without them, random people will sell them for around 10-20 euros by the church. This is the interior of my hotel, Hotel Papadopoli. It’s very beautiful. I felt a bit too much of a youth being in something so fancy, but I had to turn backpacker mindset off. It was an excellent experience.
We returned to St. Mark and went up the Basilica. We got a nice aerial view of Venice.
We went on the Secret Itinerary tour in the Doge’s Palace (if you see the domed buildings, its in there) We learnt about Casa Nova’s grand escape, because the Secret tour is going through the prisons of the Doge’s Palace.
We learnt quite a bit about the life and times of the Doge, and the secret intelligence group he had, as we went into their quarters to see where they worked to seek information throughout Venice. We also got to see where and learn how people were tortured further up in the Prison section. On the bright side, after the tour is done, the tour’s price also includes entry into the Doge’s palace.
Afterwards, we end up in Venezia Caffe. I had some amaretto coffee and Josh had more spritz. We explored Salute/Accademia area. We didn’t go into the Guggenheim yet, but we will as this was the spot Josh proposed to me at! We ended up in Bar Autorimessa Venezia. It is a higher price point and very busy. The only thing I will miss is that coffee and bars will serve you chips and peanuts unconditionally if you order drinks. I came back here and forgot completely, and grimaced at having to order fries for a steep price. I miss Europe in many ways. Like cheap cheese… We stopped by a supermarket and got a picnic pack of cheese and meat for 6 euros, and it lasted us two days.
I also digged this Yogurt/Tea place called Hanjay. It’s your standard yogurt place, where you start with a cup and decorate the top of your yogurt. I mostly came here because the tea was take-out. Most places are sit down cafes, which I love, since it reduces waste. But I was also down with a cold in the first part of my trip, so having tea to sip as I wandered the streets was fantastic. It seems super modern in a very traditional city.
We wandered around, trying to find the historic Casino. We found this cheesy American restaurant. So many stereotypes haha! Check that eagle out. They serve steaks and burgers, but we didn’t go inside.
We also went into a beautiful little perfume shop.
We went to the Venice Casino and … it was really underwhelming. Like, a really pissy front girl was giving me a hard time throughout trying to check in, while the other two were nice. The rest was just boring slots, but on the bright side Josh won 60 euros so we went to have dinner. The dinner we had was a total tourist trap and terrible, so I’m not going to review them, so the lesson of the day is easy come easy go. Casinos are terrible, terrible places.
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