Gita Italiana 2010: Six Memories of Venice

Today’s stop on the Gita Italiana takes us to Venice with Robin of My Mélange. Welcome Robin!


Venice will always hold the honor of  being the first city I visited in Italy. One could say that Venice is partially responsible for my falling in love with Italy. It certainly started the ball rolling. I remember that magical moment as I caught my first glimpse of the Piazza San Marco in Venice from the Alilaguna as it sailed along the jade waters, on a bright, sunny day. It’s an indelible memory. One that I hold very dear.

But it isn’t the only memory I have of Venice. There are many. I thought I’d share six other things that I remember about Venice that put a smile on my face whenever I think of them.  Hopefully they paint a vivid picture of what it’s like to spend time in one of the most unique cities in Italy.

Photo © Robin Locker Lacey

Photo © Robin Locker Lacey

1. Traversing the tiny footbridges and getting lost in the maze of calle, especially at night. Wandering with no particular place to go is one of the best ways to discover the real Venice.

2. The lovely gelato shop owner who not only had the best gelato, which we enjoyed no less than twice a day, but who holds the honor of being the very first Italian to ever say ‘Ciao‘ to me.

3. The manager of the tiny B&B where we stayed, who was a dead-ringer for Hank Azaria’s character, Agador (Spartacus), in the movie ‘The Bird Cage.’ He was delightful and each morning he served us warm cornetti filled with peach preserves alongside the best cappuccino, prepared with his tiny Bialetti.

4. Taking a mid-afternoon nap while listening to the beautiful sound of piano and violin wafting into the windows of our room, from the Music Conservatory across our canal.

5. The quiet. The lack of cars and scooters. I enjoyed hearing every footstep, every clip-clop of a stiletto heel. It was lovely being lulled to sleep every night by the sound of lapping water and the occasional boat that would slowly make its way passed our open window.

6. Our dinner at Ai Cugnai, a family joint, where the laundry dangled precariously above our heads and where the entertaining owner was more of a draw than the food. We watched her sip wine from other diners’ glasses and present dishes from the kitchen to everyone in the dining room before serving them. She spoke not a word of English and at the end of dinner, she pinched my cheeks and told me to call her mamma. Priceless!

Photo © Robin Locker Lacey

Photo © Robin Locker Lacey


Robin Locker Lacey is an Italy and France travel consultant, freelance travel writer and photographer who hopes to one day realize her dream of living La Dolce Vita in her beloved Italy. Her passion for European culture and lifestyle is featured on her site, My Mélange, which includes travel essays, photos, recipes, restaurant and hotel recommendations, ideas on how to live La Dolce Vita from abroad and travel tips–she is the self-professed Queen of the Carry-On bag and *will* convince you to convert. She is addicted to social media – you can follow her on Twitter @MyMelange.


Grazie mille Robin!

Domani . . . Mount Etna in Sicilia!

10 Beans of Wisdom to “Gita Italiana 2010: Six Memories of Venice”
  1. Gil

    Beautiful pictures! Definitely from areas of Venice I never visited and/or climbed up to. My biggest memory is climbing up and down more bridges in two days than I ever did in my life.

    Haha, that sounds about right, Gil 😉

  2. 08.27.2010

    Ah Venezia <3

    Thanks for rekindling the memories 🙂

    Thanks for reading Keren!

  3. 08.27.2010

    Great series Michelle! I’m really enjoying it.

    So happy to hear it, Rosemary!

  4. 08.27.2010

    Thanks for having me Michelle! Can’t *ever* say enough about Venice. 😉 Must get back there soon……

    Thank *you* Robin 🙂

  5. 08.27.2010

    Venice is my favorite European city! A few years ago I bought some wind chimes that sound like church bells, just so I can hear those lovely sounds daily.
    (Tiny spelling correction: it’s Trattoria ai Cugnai.)

    Thanks Colleen!

  6. 08.28.2010

    Robin, I love how you savor the memory of the first time you saw Venice–it’s an unforgettable life moment for any of us who’s traveled there. I remember seeing this place I’d seen in paintings and postcards emerging from the fog the first time I approached it on the ride in from the airport…
    Thanks for this story. I’ll have to get to ai Cugnai the next time I’m there.

    Michelle, thanks so much for this beautiful series!

    Thanks so much for reading, Susan!

  7. 08.28.2010

    Venice is amazing, even the crowds of tourists can’t ruin the atmosphere.

    Where is this gelato shop you’re talking about?

    If Robin doesn’t get back here to answer, you might check out her site for more info 🙂

  8. 08.28.2010

    For various reasons, Venice is not my favorite spot in Italy, but you’ve managed to bring up points that do, in fact, make it wonderful. Brava! I especially agree with point 1 – it’s a fabulous place to get lost. 😉

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jen 🙂

  9. laura

    love how you took me back. please share the name of the B&B

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks for reading, Laura; you’ll have to ask Robin at My Melange for that B&B name — have fun perusing her site as well as there’s LOTS more Venice where this came from 🙂



Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake