Venice is an island, so I guess you could say we’ve been on island time since arriving. But today, we took the vaporetto (water bus) to a couple of islands off of Venice: Cimitero di San Michele (Venice’s cemetery) and Murano (known for its glass-making).
You’d be forgiven for perhaps mistaking Cimitero for Gilligan’s Island from afar. However, its residents are in for a tour much longer than three hours.
As you can imagine, a city built entirely on the water—and very densely so—offers no room for mortal remains. So Venice has an entire “island of the dead.” The whole island of Cimitero is, as the name gives away, a cemetery. And a gorgeous one at that. As some of you know, I am a major fan of cemeteries (for the millions of untold stories they contain), and this one was worth the visit.
You might have heard of some of its residents: Ezra Pound, Igor Stravinsky and Serge Diaghilev. I hadn’t heard of the latter, but the ballet slippers hanging off his tombstone gave me enough of a clue to ask my ballet instructor-sister about him. In her words, he was “one of the greatest ballet dudes ever.”
Next stop (literally) was the island of Murano, famous for its glassblowing studios (not for manufacturing Nissan automobiles). This canal, Murano’s “main street,” was entirely lined by glass shops (and the occasional restaurant to feed hungry shoppers).
We soon became hungry shoppers ourselves, so we grabbed a canalside table for a picturesque and delicious lunch of cicchetti (small bites, Venice’s version of tapas). I tried sarde en saor (sweet and sour sardines with onions), a dish all the guidebooks called a Venetian specialty (good, but not something I’d feel compelled to order again).
Back on the “mainland,” we followed the advice of our travel guru Rick Steves, who suggests that gondola rides are a cliche worth the splurge. While the half-hour ride seemed to last five minutes, I’d have to agree with Signore Steves; we definitely made some lifelong memories during that short ride. As my father hinted at, watch for these photos in our Christmas card this year.
After a day in which my Fitbit tracked more than 20,000 steps (a personal record), we definitely earned some treats: the second of Molly’s daily gelatos, and a night out for mommy and daddy to enjoy some Italian birra artiginale (craft beer).