“CLASSIC ITALY” OR HOW I RELAXED IN ITALY
A trip to Italy was a real miracle for me, a dream come true. I fell in love with this country at first sight – the way you can fall in love with a person. Therefore, it is very difficult to talk about your feelings – involuntarily repeated in each sentence empty and faceless words “beautiful”, “wonderful” and “amazing”. But still I will try …
It all started with the fact that my young man and I came to a travel agency and bought a ticket to Italy. Our tour was called “Classical Italy” and included visiting Venice, Padua, Florence, Rome and San Marino. We traveled in a group of 17 people, accompanied by a guide Tamara and a very charming Italian driver Pierrot.
We were brought from Ancona airport to the small town of Kavardzere, near Venice. Many in our group were unhappy that they would have to spend two nights “in some village”. But I was very glad that my acquaintance with Italy did not begin with the bustling Florence or Rome, but with this small and very Italian town. We never visited the city center, so Kavardzere remained in my memory a couple of narrow streets, St. Giuseppe’s Cathedral in the square of the same name and our hotel. It was not even a hotel, but something like a private guesthouse with a very nice Signora hostess. It seems that there were no tenants besides us, but every evening men of different ages gathered in the restaurant – had dinner, drank wine and spoke a surprisingly beautiful language. They were exactly as I imagined Italians – beautiful, black-haired, funny and very expressive. Probably, it should be said right away that I liked the inhabitants of Italy most of all. These are amazing people, they are very different from Russians. They are very friendly, sincere. Very often there is debate about whether Italians are really as temperamental as is commonly believed, or is this nothing more than a myth. For some reason, many contrast the temperament of the Italians with their politeness. The Italians are really very polite, but this does not prevent them from vigorously expressing their emotions (more often positive than negative), gesturing, talking loudly and generally creating a lot of noise around themselves.
Early the next morning, our driver Pierrot drove us to Venice. It was quite cold and drizzled with a small rain. With my wonderful mood, of course, the sea was knee-deep, but still it was a little disappointing that Italy meets us with such weather.
“If any of you believes in prayers,” our guide Tamara said, “then pray to St. Mark for good weather.” Because St. Mark is the patron saint of Venice.
And the prayers helped! When we sailed from the continental part of Venice to the island, the sun came out and shone all day.
Venice fascinated me. After an excursion with a visit to the main attractions (St. Mark’s Square, Doge’s Palace), we began wandering aimlessly through the narrow streets leading to cozy squares filled with sunlight. Interestingly, in Venice there is only one square, called the word “piazza” – it is piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square). This emphasizes its special status in the eyes of the Venetians. The remaining squares are called “campo” – which translates as “meadow”. And they really look like small lawns, from which the streets scatter in different directions – not “Via”, as in other cities, but “Calle”, that is, “Narrow streets”.
Of course, once in Venice, we could not deny ourselves the pleasure of riding a gondola. Venetian gondoliers are generally a separate song. They seem to be specially selected for their appearance – almost all of them are tall, handsome, beautiful, and even dressed in snow-white shirts – well, just a sight for sore eyes! .. Our gondolier was, however, not so young and beautiful, but he was very cool, everything time he hummed something and built funny faces. We were told in advance that for some money you can hire a person who will sail in your gondola and sing songs. And we really met one such gondola: in addition to the gondolier and two passengers, two men still sailed in it: one played the accordion, and the other stood and sang “About salt mio”. All this gave the impression of a slight frenzy …
The prices for a gondola ride are about the same – 80 euros for half an hour, 100 – for 45 minutes. Fortunately, 6 people can get into one gondola (but no more!), So our group was divided into “sixes” and each paid approximately 13 euros each. Maybe it wasn’t as romantic as riding together with a loved one, but everyone was satisfied.
I have repeatedly read (before my trip) that in Italy there are very few and very poor English speakers. I don’t know what about those Italians who are not connected with the tourism business, but if we talk about sellers, receptionists or waiters, then this is not true! They also speak English (of course, not brilliantly, but they can quite talk about their own product) and even – in Russian (!!!).