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May 6, 2010

Way back in the 1980’s I lived in San Francisco and was involved in the town’s exciting experimental theatre scene. It was around then that I met Anne Block at a wild workshop in a warehouse south of Market. Twenty years later, we’ve reconnected and discovered that we’ve both been pursuing our passion for Italian travel.

Anne has created a fantastic Los Angeles based tour company called Take My Mother Please*—that provides customized itineraries to  individuals or group travelers who want to explore  Los Angeles, Egypt, Paris, Italy, or other places in Europe.  She brings an infectious enthusiasm to whatever she does, constantly snooping out unusual spots, to give travelers an authentic experience of a place.

She’s so much fun to be with, that I wish I’d been along with her on her last trip to Venice. Instead, I’ll live vicariously…

When I was there last September for the Biennale one of my favorite things to do was to take the #2 vaporretto  from Piazzale Roma and go all the way around the beautiful “back side” of Venice by way of the Canale della Giudecca (instead of through the Canale Grande).

This offers the experience of being out on the open waters of the lagoon with stops that criss-cross from Giudecca to Dorsoduro, showing a lovely, quieter part of “La Serenissima.”
The #2 will take you all the way to the Giardini stop, where you can wander through the Biennale Gardens with its various international art “pavilions,”  each in a different architectural style.

The Venice Biennale International Exposition of Art is over 100 years old, dating from the beginning of the 1900’s. It is the most important contemporary art exposition in the world and takes place in the odd numbered years. But the garden and grounds are also a delight to visit during the even numbered years when there is no exposition.

Walking back along the water toward the center of the city is a treat as well; you can stroll along the wide via Garibaldi and stop for a delicious seafood lunch at a great neighborhood spot, Hostaria all’Ombra (041-523-1179).

Or walk a bit farther, crossing over the bridge at the Arsenale vaporetto stop, then turning away from the water into the Campiello della Pescaria to have a truly splendid meal at Ristorante Al Covo (041-522-3812).

Grazie Anne–I’m making plans for Biennale 2011!

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