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Italy: By Amanda Lovett
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We made our way to a couple islands off the coast of Venice, to get there you must travel by the water bus. Murano, on the northeastern side of Venice, is an amazing place known for its glass and glass blowing. Although, when we were there, most of the glassblowing places were closed down for the day. There were a few shops open that were selling tourist items and one of which we hold dear to our heart. This  glassblowing shops specialty items were handcrafted names. Our way to commemorate our wedding anniversary was having a gondola with our last name of Lovett and a five for the fifth year. Thankfully, it lasted the trip and we were able to bring it home. Lido, is a very narrow island southeast of Venice. I wish we would’ve had more time to explore, but we rented a quadracycle and toured around the island, highly recommend it. In the center of the street we found beach restaurant Chiosoco Mojito and had to stop for a mojito. It does not have a website, but definitely worth stopping by.
Our trip to Venice was an amazing experience. We arrived July of 2014. This journey was way more than I could ever dream of. The reason being, is that when my husband proposed in Vegas at the Venetian Hotel he said, "One day, I would love to take you to the real Venice, maybe for our anniversary." Now, I didn’t really think that we would ever get to go, so I guess that’s the reason why I was so surprised. The Venetian doesn’t do Venice justice, but it was a fantastic way to propose.
After taking a water bus, we ventured through the small alleys to find our Airbnb. I must say, it was a challenge walking over the bridges and the cobblestone with so much luggage. As an American, we always pack for everything including, the kitchen sink. I should have known better, but this trip was long and we had to pack quite a few suitcases because we were doing multiple destinations stops. Once situated in our Airbnb we looked out the bedroom window and it was quite beautiful. The streets weren’t busy you could look down and see gondoliers going by singing a merry tune, locals walking the streets, and a church in the view with a beautiful steeple. It was a storybook experience.
We went out that night and met some really sweet friends from Florida, had dinner and just relax for a bit watching the World Cup football (soccer for all of my American readers) game at a pub with outdoor seating. Of course, you have to find somewhere to watch USA play football when your husband brings you to Venice. That was the least I could do. : ) It a round of 16, Belgium vs. USA. Unfortunately, we didn't win. The was a very close 2 to 1 game, but we cheered them on and had company.
The following day we walked around and saw the beautiful gondolas parked by the entryways, as if they were just there for a picture. All of the gondolas are orientate in decor and the water taxis while motorized are still beautiful in the own way. Looking through the windows at the pizzeria made my mouth water from the fragrant aromas and seeing the colorful toppings and golden crust. One thing that I interesting about Venice was there progressiveness towards catering to gluten intolerance. We were able to indulge in a proper Italian pizza and pasta.
We visited several cathedrals where we could see beautiful paintings from renaissance masters. Many of the paintings, I had studied in my architecture and art history class in college. It was amazing to actually walk in and be within arms reach and surprisingly there were only ropes that kept you away from just reaching out to touch them. That is when I realized just how much art is appreciated in Italy and in other places around the world. If you away from the main tourist locations there are cathedrals or churches with renaissance art that no one is viewing. I highly suggest getting off the beaten path and explore.