Firstly, welcome to my readers and followers – both new and old friends – and many apologies to blog friends for my lack of comments over the last few weeks.
I am finding now I have time to comment that I cannot comment on the usual sites I visit. The open ID option on the drop down on blogger does not seem to be available – only the Google account – and I am locked out of this at the moment – has something changed in blogland?
So much news to tell. I will begin in beautiful Italy at the wedding in the park.
The wedding was amazing. We gathered beneath a canopy of trees in the tiny local park located off the main square by the town hall in Cornedo. It was a beautiful hot sunny day and we were glad of the dappled shade. The bride and groom arrived together in a classic white sports car and walked hand in hand along the carpeted path strewn with rose petals to the little ceremony area in the centre of a gravelled circle edged with canvas chairs for the guests.
The marriage was conducted in Italian and there was a lot of cheering and clapping throughout by the Italians. Afterwards we mingled and chatted amongst the guests, taking photos and admiring the dress and flowers then we drove up into the surrounding hills to this restaurant for the reception.
The views surrounding us were stunning and we relaxed outside on the terrace shaded by the large canvas parasols and ate delicious Italian style canapes from paper cones. Eventually we were called inside to the dining area and began the twelve course menu.
We grazed our way through one dish after another of the most wonderful Italian food – food for the Italians is very important and each dish is served and savoured separately with everyone taking breaks here and there between courses. Part way through the bride and groom played an Italian style Mr and Mrs game outdoors and we even had a walk up to the local church and back before returning to our seats to continue eating!
Afterwards, we danced outside in the twilight to live music and the groom joined the band to sing to his bride…so romantic. Their first dance ‘I want to be like you’ from The Jungle Book was certainly different and entertaining and set the scene for a great evening.
The next day we moved from countryside to city. Vicenza, is packed with history, artifacts and imposing buildings that once belonged to the wealthy merchants and nobles. Shopping here is certainly an experience – stylish shops and bars line the main thoroughfare. I was tempted to buy on a few occasions.
We spent our time exploring down the narrow winding streets where the grand ‘palatial’ buildings towered above us. The main square of the Piazza dei Signori is home to the recently restored Basilica Palladiana – this was a shopping mall in its time selling luxury goods.
Our apartment, Le Dimore del Conte, is housed within the 15th century Palazzo Sesso, the building immediately behind the statue above on the Piazza del Castello. To the right is the unfinished building Palazzo Porto started by Andrea Palladio, the 16th century architect, and originally commissioned as a replacement for the less grand Palazzo Sesso. Quite a curiosity, the building was never completed and remains in this part finished state today.
Life in Vicenza has a casual air about it. Plenty of time to read the paper, walk the dog or both at once! Plenty of time to sit and socialise and watch the world go by. The Italians certainly have balance in their lives between work and play.
After 3 days in Vicenza we moved on to stay in the old historical part of Mestre just outside Venice. Staying in Venice itself was unfortunately just too expensive for this trip but the tram is so easy to catch from Mestre and it takes you across the water in a matter of minutes.
If you have never been to Venice then add it to your list as a must – it is such a magical place – like entering onto a theatre set. It is, of course, essential to do the touristy spots such as St Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace but then move out to the less popular streets not far away and there are many hidden treats to be found that show aspects of the real daily life for Venetians.
On the last day we took a boat trip down the Grand Canal and out to Murano and Burano – fascinating Islands in the lagoon. Burano in particular is very interesting – it seemed a place that might be quite bleak in the winter and is maybe why the houses are painted such bright colours. They are fisherman’s homes so quite small in comparison with the affluent homes of their rich cousins in Venice itself and a much more down to earth place. The ladies here are quite proud of their lace making and entice you into their little shops dotted along the canal side to admire their handiwork and watch them at work.
After a whole week of sunshine and high temperatures this was the only time it rained – but the drizzle and the umbrellas only added to the atmosphere.
All too soon it was time to come home…back to the turbulent world of work!
More of my new in my next post.
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