Italy, the inspiration behind Ristorante Pizza is home to many of the world’s most beautiful old cities. Venice (the home of romantic dinners for two) is probably one of the most amazing places in the world. Once an extremely wealthy, powerful, independent republic (for over 1 100 years) that ruled over countries as far away as Crete and Croatia, the city boasts astonishing architectural masterpieces, canals and fine food, which makes for a non-stop adventure.
Built On Tree Trunks
The city rests on logs – the trunks of cedarwood trees, because of their water repellent properties. Elaborate and ornate structures were erected on 118 islands – which explains the 177 canals that crisscross its layout. There are 400 footbridges over the channels which make for a labyrinth in which one can easily get lost. And yet, only four bridges carry the millions of visitors over the main waterway, the Grand Canal.
There Are No Cars – Non Ci Sono Auto!
While their counterparts in the rest of Europe were using horse-drawn carts, the Venetians used an iconic boat – the gondola. There are now only 400 of these left, whereas there were over 10 000 back in the 16th century. Back then, wealthy people had their own, bespoke, gondolas complete with ‘drivers’. These boats were elaborately painted and decorated until a law was introduced that the exterior of gondolas could only be black. That’s why so many are elaborately decorated on the inside.
These days gondoliers have to undergo 400 hours of training and a long apprenticeship. They are required to memorise historical facts and landmarks. But, only 3 or 4 new gondoliers are allowed new licences each year.
Thought Your Driveway Is Narrow?
There are many narrow walkways, but none as thin as Calle Varisco. It is a mere 53 cm wide. A bit of a squeeze …
Masking Your Movement
The city is synonymous with masks. These face coverings, much more decorative than those we are wearing for self-protection against the dreaded virus, can still be bought at tourist shops. But back then, the masks served a more specific purpose. In those puritanical times, they were worn to conceal an illicit lover’s identity – or even a smuggler carrying booty.
The Rialto Bridge Market
This famous trading ground has been in operation since 1097. During the Venetian Empire, it was one of the largest and most important ‘shopping centres’ in the world. Selling everything from gold, precious stones, jewellery, cloth and every known type of food – including the early versions of pizza – it was one of the most powerful establishments in its time – and it’s still working today!
TOP TastyMoments TIP: Simply chop up some lettuce, tomato, onion and a bit of feta cheese and drizzle with salad dressing to compliment your romantic pizza meal tonight.
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