While in Venice We made a quick trip to Milan, about two hours away by train. It’s a very interesting city.

The Milan train station is what is called Fascist architecture done during the time of Mussolini. It was enormous with square shapes and sharp angles everywhere.

We took the metro from the train station to our hotel and this is what we saw when we came out of the station, the Duomo.

Next to the Duomo is this very gorgeous shopping mall, the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II, full of mostly high end shops.

One of the symbols of Italy on the floor there. I thought this was the most beautiful.

We got this shot from up above at a cafe called the Marchesi.

They were selling desserts for Valentine Day.

We had the very rich hot chocolate with whipped cream.

A Night at the Opera

One night we went to see The Barber of Seville at the famous la Fenice Opera House. It was, as expected, very beautiful and luxurious. Many people were really dressed up in long gowns and tuxedos. This being the Carnival season there were also many in costumes. The play is a silly one, a farce, but enjoyable even though opera is not my thing. The young maiden in the performance didn’t look that young to me, the old man had a wig on to make him look older than he was and everyone overacted like mad. It was fun.

The entrance.

The ceiling.

Isn’t it beautiful?

Not your usual seats.

At the end of the play this giant frame came down. I’m not sure why but it looked nice. To tell the truth I wasn’t that impressed with the stage setting as it seem very plain and simple. Maybe this is a play put on mainly for tourists and they don’t expend a lot of money for such productions. I still enjoyed it in my little critical fashion.

A Palazzo on the Grand Canal

The Grand Hotel of Venice is lined with huge mansions and you would love to see inside. With some of them this is possible as they have been made into museums. We visited one called Ca’Rezzonica and it was gorgeous as expected.

There were elegant stairs to the main level.

Sumptuous decorations although not much furniture remained. There were some chairs carved by a famous artist with slaves from Africa carved on the legs.

A red velvet throne against a red velvet wall should a Pope or royalty arrive. One of the Rezzonica family was in fact a pope.

I saw these two girls alone in one of rooms looking like it might have in the past.

I love this painting showing a couple ready for Carnival.

A view of a canal below from the third floor.


We made a a quick trip to nearby Verona by train in an hour and spent the night. I had no expectations when I went and ended up being totally charmed. It’s a lovely city full of interesting architecture, a lot of it Roman. It had once been under the rule of Venice and that influence is also here. It was once called the city of painting and many buildings do have remnants left of painted scenes on the sides. I would call it the city of balconies myself as they were everywhere. I do wonder is Shakespeare traveled here and got his idea.

The Roman Coliseum is right there in the middle of the Old City.

We went inside and climbed to the top. They still put on plays and events here, just no one killing wild animals.

Once a gateway into the city. It’s great that they left it here. Many of the streets were pedestrian only.

A Renaissance stairway. There was also a statue of Dante who was forced to leave Florence due to Catholic church disagreement with his writing but they took him in in Verona.

There were some wonderful churches in Verona full of painted walls and ceilings. This is a tomb of a wealthy person from Verona.

Another gorgeous church.

Romeo and Juliet

We made a trip to Verona by train which is a wonderful city packed with history and fabulous architecture. The tale by Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, is set in Verona and it perhaps based on two warring families there but there is no proof Romeo and Juliet were actual people. In gact I read that Shakespeare got the story from an Itslian poem which was actually set in Venice. Whio knows why he moved it to Verona? Some savie marketing person decided to find a home with a courtyard and a balcony and the rest is history. The courtyard was packed with mostly young romantic couples and there was a charge to go up to the balcony which I skipped.

This was on the walls leading to the courtuard.

The courtyard.

The balcony.

Juliet. The wall behind here is being covered by chewing gum for some reason.

A couple putting up a note and a lock.

A closeup. There were even bandaids. I’m old enough that I don’t understand graffiti and love locks and especially not gum but no body asked me.

A Venitian Bookstore

I am always on the lookout for interesting bookstores and found a quirky one, unexpected and decorated with humor called the Acqua Alta which means high water, something that occurs more and more in Venice. They mostly sell used bookd from what I could see and a few books in English but I didn’t find anything I wanted to read. Maurice found two though. The bookstore is said to be owned by a fun and flirtatious man but there were only a few young women working when we were there.

The entrance full of old, ruined books.

As you can see, it is very crowded with very narrow aisles.

Boats and old gondolas were used as book shelves of a sort.

And the fire exit leads right into the canal.