Saturday, February 7, 2015

Gondolas in Venice

Think of Venice and your mind’s eye immediately sees...gondolas! For centuries, gondolas were the chief means of transportation around the canals of Venice. Then, along came boats with motors - so much faster, making today’s gondolas far fewer and primarily a romantic experience for tourists.

Until the early 20th century, gondolas were fitted with a “felze” or small cabin to protect passengers from the weather and for privacy, as well. The windows could be closed with louvered shutters – the original “venetian blinds.” 

In centuries past, gondolas were painted flamboyant colors. Today’s gondolas are painted black due to a 16th century decree attempting to stop nobles from trying to outdo each other with colors and ornamentation. Today's gondolas may be black, but still try to outdo each other in design and shiny brass adornments.

A gondola ride in Italy is wonderful, but find a gondolier who also sings and…Heaven!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Sicilian Garlic Lady

The Sicilian garlic lady sits focused on her job of braiding garlic despite all the busyness crowding the open air market around her.
Drive through small Italian towns on weekends and it’s easy to find these open air markets, or what we call “farmers’ markets,” bursting with amazing foods and goods of every kind. Locals check out every booth looking for the best buys while chatting with neighbors.

Individual vendors fill their tables with tempting items such as homemade cheeses, dried and fresh sausages of every kind, marinated olives and mushrooms, cookies, cakes, plump homegrown produce and beautiful crusty loaves of bread and foccaccia.

Italians take home sacks filled with staples for the week. We tourists take home memories of aromas, visions, and local Italian market ambience that stay with us forever.