Friday, January 20, 2023

Venice, Italy | October, 2022

2022 was quite a year...I visited SIX countries, we finished a complete home renovation, and we bought a new car!

Throughout the year we took the following trips & travels:

Schur and Horan family trip to Costa Rica in January

Friends and family to Mexico in March and May

Shannon work trip to England in March

Just us to Bonaire in July

Visited friends in USA (NJ, GA, FL) in September and November

Shannon work trip to Italy in October (see below!)

It's hard to believe 2023 has even more in store...We have NINE countries already booked!

USA (FL + ??) in February (work trip for me)

Spain, France, Italy & Croatia in March for STEVE'S 50TH BIRTHDAY!!

Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao in May with Ron & Jean

Iceland in August with Schurs and Horans 

Now, onto Venice...

In October, I had the opportunity to visit Venice, Italy as part of our International Leadership Board meeting with work. Yeah, I went to Venice for work :) 

Sorry - There aren't many people pictures because I had to leave Steve at home.


My goodness. Venice is quite a place. A bucket list location for sure!

We stayed at the St. Regis, which was quite possibly the nicest hotel I've ever stayed at. While most hotels in Venice are particularly small, the St. Regis rooms were huge! 











Venice itself was gorgeous. This was my first time in Italy, so I was enamored by the architecture and old age of everything. 

Venice is a world of it's own. 

While I had essentially zero free time, I found a few minutes to walk to around, buy some pasta and visit St. Mark's Square. 
























We traveled well and we ate really really well. As you probably know, Venice doesn't have any roads, so everything is transported via water. Everything! It is made up of 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by over 400 bridges.














Instead of taking a regular ferry, we were transported via fancy water taxis. I called them water limos. They were so comfortable and so clean. 








Like I said, we traveled well...and ate very very very very well!

Let me first start off by saying, I love an Aperol Spritz, and to be in the land of the Aperol Spritz was a fairy tale! The Venetian's basically invented the drink, so it was incredibly popular and easy to find. We even had lunch at a place called Terrazza Aperol (more on that later).


Gio's was located within the St. Regis and offered a nice breakfast spread with beautiful views. We also enjoyed lunch here when we arrived. I had the fresh pasta with lobster.













On our first night, our core team enjoyed dinner at Guna. We sat outside and I ordered octopus, fresh agnolotti pasta, and tiramisu. They even served us limoncello at the end of the meal. 









Our formal events started the following night at the infamous Gritti Palace. 


Overlooking the Grand Canal in the heart of Venice, The Gritti Palace dates back to 1475. This noble palace and luxury 5-star hotel is a place of exceptional art and elegance that has retained its reassuringly intimate and familiar feel of a private residence. 

We hosted a cocktail dinner and enjoyed Cacio de Pepe, seafood risotto, and octopus among other delicious bites. I had an Aperol Spritz, of course!











The following day was busy busy busy. We started the day with organized tours. I was still prepping for the evening and next day events, so that's when I went on my quick walk around town. 

Following the tours, we had a private lunch at Terrazza Aperol. The host of our Venice events was Luca Garavoglia, chairman of Campari Group (the makers of Aperol!) so it made perfect sense to host us at a place where Aperol was EVERYWHERE!






We enjoyed an Aperol spritz with small bites, baccalĂ  mantecato (a traditional Venetian dish made from salt cod), amazing seafood gnocchi and tiramisu (of course!)














That night we had our first formal dinner at the Palazzo Pisani Moretta. Even though the menu said "informal" it was far from that. 

We had walkthroughs at all of the sites prior to the events, so it was incredible to see the transformation from an empty space to dinner for 60+.


Palazzo Pisani Moretta was built in the second half of the 15th Century by the Bembo family. The palace soon became the residence of a branch of the noble Pisani family and was renovated, modified and extended over the following centuries, finally taking on its current aspect in the 18th Century.









Dinner consisted of a beet risotto, veal cheek with potatoes and veggies, followed by a puff pastry dessert with Chantilly cream and fruit.






The next day, we had our main event. The International Leadership Board meeting took place at the Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista. 



Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista was founded in 1261, and is the second oldest Scuola (school) in Venice. It's an absolutely gorgeous space and definitely a unique place to have a meeting!






Lunch consisted of eggplant parmesan, chicken with vegetables, and tiramisu. 





Our final cocktail reception and dinner took place at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. This place was unbelievable!




The Scuola Grande di San Rocco is a lay confraternity founded in 1478 and the richest school of the city. It is the only one of the historic Scuole Grandi to have survived the fall of the republic.

Along the walls there are illustrations of episodes from the New and Old Testaments. 


It is a unique site, where over 60 paintings are preserved in their original setting in a building that has hardly undergone any alteration since its construction.









60 of us sat at one looooong table.

Dinner consisted of shrimp lasagna, sea bass and a berry tart.






And that's a wrap!! This is what happens when you travel to Venice for work! 

I can't wait to visit again in March during our Viking Mediterranean cruise for Steve's 50th birthday :)

Cin Cin! Ciao for now!