What’s So Special About Venice?

From Women Writers, Women’s Books:

What is so special about Venice?

One question writers are always asked is where we get our ideas from. Sometimes it isn’t possible to define this. A tiny germ of an idea turns into something bigger: an overheard snatch of conversation turns into a full-blown mystery. An afternoon trip to Ellis Island sparked my whole Molly Murphy series. But in the case of THE VENICE SKETCHBOOK I can tell you exactly what created the story for me.

The first thing is Venice itself. Who wouldn’t want to write about that magical city, where the marble palaces seem to float above the water, where a gondolier’s song echoes up from the canals. Spending a summer doing research in Venice was an absolute treat, rekindling all my memories of past vacations in that city.

I have a life-long love of Venice that started in my childhood. When I was a teenager my parents rented a little villa just outside the city of Venice. Every day we’d drive across the causeway, park and my parents would give us some money.

“See you at five o’clock,” they’d say and we were free to wander the city on our own. We’d explore back alleys, climb trees in the Giardini, swim at the Lido and check out every gelato stand in the city. We got to know our way around really well, in fact when I went back again for the first time, taking my daughter who had just graduated from high school, I’d stop and say, “If you go through this little tunnel, I think you’ll come out…”

“Mom,” she’d say. “That’s someone’s back yard. You can’t…:

But I went through and yes—we came out to exactly the place I was heading.

. . . .

A few years ago I was thinking about my aunt and wondered why it was always Venice at Easter, not Rome or another Italian city. And an improbable thought entered my head. What if it was not just the city and the Easter celebrations that attracted her. What if she met someone there? A sort of ‘same time, next year’. What if she had another life that none of us knew about?

Link to the rest at Women Writers, Women’s Books

Mrs. PG and PG were having a conversation at lunch the other day about some of their enjoyable vacation trips.

For the record, we are not great travelers, but have been able to take some very nice trips to various locales in past years.

If PG had to chose his most favorite city in the world, it would have to be Florence.

In part, his choice is influenced by a wonderful woman who operated an unpretentious bed and breakfast not far from the train station where PG and Mrs. PG enjoyed some wonderful visits. She was wonderfully friendly and kind and her breakfasts always tasted marvelous due in no small part to our conversations with her, her two sons and a daughter-in-law-to-be.

She was also very helpful for us when we wanted to go somewhere we hadn’t visited before, giving us detailed instructions from memory, including the bus numbers, stops for transfers (with what we should look for to know when the stop was near) and other things we might want to see in the vicinity of our destination, including restaurants. She would offer to pack us a lunch if we were traveling to a distant attraction where she couldn’t give us first-hand advice about the local restaurants.

Our hostess’s suggestions lead us to a great many Florentine destinations we would have been unlikely to discover using only a guidebook and warned us away from a couple which didn’t meet her standards.

Without going on for too long, Florence was the birthplace of the Renaissance and its history includes some of the most creative and amazing people ever to populate the planet. Plus, the Florentine trading families generated lots of money to fund artists, architects and workers and they built with marble and other stone that was durable and difficult to destroy.

So, Florence is #1, but Venice is #2.