.All Trips / Europe / Italy

A visit to the fascinating Frari Church, Venice

05 Frari Church, Venice (8)

One of the great places to explore when visiting Venice is the Franciscan church of Santa Maria dei Frari (St. Mary of the Friars, commonly known as the Frari Church).  
As with many things in Venice, the Frari Church is an old building.  The church was originally constructed between 1236 and 1338, then rebuilt in Gothic style two centuries later.   It’s considered a minor basilica and is dedicated to the Assumption of St. Mary, Mother of Jesus.

Exterior, Frari Church, Venice

Exterior, Frari Church, Venice

While the church is well known for its spacious architecture, it is best known for the many fine monuments and terrific works of Venetian Renaissance art it displays.  This beautiful art is still situated exactly where the artists knew it would be placed and where it …

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.All Trips / Europe / Food / Italy

The Art of the Almond


Marzipan is popular treat, especially in Europe, made of ground almonds (almond meal) mixed with sugar or honey — sometimes with added almond oil.  It is often molded into the shape of fruit and vegetables and tinted with food coloring, as seen in these window displays in Venice.  I though these little pieces of marzipan quite beautiful and tried a piece — tasty but heavy, not really my style.  

Besides being shaped to look like fruit, marzipan can also rolled flat and used an icing layer for fruitcakes and the like, and sometimes is used as a baking ingredient, as in a German “stollen”.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)

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“Pic of the Week”, November 20, 2015. The Venetian, Las Vegas

60 Las Vegas 2015. Venetian and Palazzo resorts (12)

Las Vegas is often described as the “Disneyland for adults”.  Like Disneyland, the city does a great job of creating a variety of illusions and immersing you into them.  Unlike Disney there’s emphasis on adult entertainment in the form of gambling, alcohol and much more if that’s what you’re looking for (we weren’t).

I especially enjoyed our visit to the Venetian, a resort that tries to recreate the atmosphere of Venice, Italy.   From the winged lion of Venice, to canals and gondolas, to enjoying excellent coffee and gelato on St. Mark’s Square, one might argue that it’s the next best thing to being there.  It was fun, anyway.

Here’s some of that looks like.

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“Pic of the Week”, January 17, 2014. The “back streets” of Venice, Italy

2014 002 Jan 10a

As much as possible I like to take some time on my travels to explore the less-touristed regions of the popular cities I visit.  In some cities you need to be very aware of your own personal safety when leaving major areas, so be cautious in doing so.  In other cities, like Venice, it’s very easy to explore on your own.  Being an island, you can wander at will and even if you’re lost, it won’t take you but a few minutes to get somewhere that will be familiar to you.

While we think of Venice as an island, it really is an amalgamation of hundreds of smaller islands into a larger island community, with lots of canals and bridges connecting …

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.All Trips / Europe / Italy

La Dolce Vita (Part 5) Venezia (Venice)

La Dolce Vita 5) Venezia (Venice)

So it was finally our time to visit the legendary travel destination of Venice.  With increasing excitement we journeyed from Florence through Tuscany and finally over the long bridge to this island city.  I usually try not to have ‘great expectations’ about big name travel destinations because I’ve often been disappointed by them; fortunately this was not the case with Venice.  When we walked out of the train station it seemed that we were walking onto another beautiful planet named “Ocean”, not “Earth”.  The sky was a mesmerizing blue color and there were no roads or cars — just boats cruising along the calm waterways of the Grand Canal, past elegant old buildings.  If there’d been …

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