On my trip to Italy last month, I tried to do one sketch a day, and came pretty close to it. They aren’t exactly stunning works of art, but after not doing any drawing or painting for a year I was happy with them. Besides, a sketchbook makes for a great souvenir!
(I also took photos. They’ll get posted someday. Maybe.)
We flew into Milan and immediately took the train to Padua, where we walked around for four hours before enjoying Campari and Aperol spritzes on a piazza. We also had gelato and pizza because Italy. We ran across the 9/11 memorial (with a girder from one of the towers), got a bit lost, and got un-lost again. The next morning we saw the botanical garden, which has a palm planted in 1585 that inspired Goethe, and some very modern greenhouses. The hotel’s free breakfast was amazing–lots of pastries and cold cuts.
The next day we met up with the rest of the family in Venice, which looks like all the photos you’ve seen of it. We walked from Campo Santa Margarita near our Airbnb to the La Salute church, stopping for gelato twice because Italy. Dinner at Artblu involved Aperol spritz and gnocchi.
Then we had one full day in Venice. We walked to St. Mark’s Square and then to the Jewish ghetto. The Jewish history museum was interesting (and depressing–this is where the word “ghetto” comes from) and the synagogue we looked into was lovely.
That evening we had our obligatory gondola ride.
Friday we drove to Bardolino, a town on Lake Garda. It’s very touristy, but mostly German-speaking tourists. The American guidebooks barely knew it existed.
We had the best meal so far there. First, they brought us complimentary glasses of the local rose. Then we all decided to actually order first and second courses for once. I started with pasta with smoked salmon and zucchini ribbons in a cream sauce. That was followed by what turned out to be a salad of warm steak, fresh arugula and cherry tomatoes, Parmesan, and a wedge of lemon. We also had a local red wine. The other three adults had the mixed seafood grill which had too many legs for my taste (the octopus and white fish I tasted were delicious, though).
Despite being full we all decided dessert was a good idea. The tiramisus were nine cubic inches. It was amazing. And then, because we had not ingested enough, they brought us bottles of limoncello and Goccia Nera (licorice liqueur).
I did sketch the tiramisu but it looks like a drawing of a rectangle, so I didn’t bother to post it.
We had an afternoon in Verona, which is really emphasizing the Romeo & Juliet connection. The more interesting thing was the Roman arena. I’m pretty sure there was gelato in Verona, too.
In Milan, the main thing I wanted to see was the Duomo, a really fancy cathedral that looks like a fairy tale castle crossed with a seven-year-old’s idea of a wedding cake.
The best part there–other than the sculpture of the guy who got skinned and is wearing his skin as a cloak, which was clearly carved by someone who studied anatomy via dissection, which was illegal, yet this is in the cathedral–the other best part was you can climb 300 stairs up to the roof and walk among the spires where the frosting fairy threw up.
Then we wandered back toward our apartment via Sforza castle, a 14th century fortress where da Vinci lived for a time. Dinner included bacon and cheese risotto and a suspicious-looking Negroni.
We spent the whole next afternoon at the science and technology museum, housed in a former monastery. They have one long hall with models built from drawings in da Vinci’s notebooks, which were interesting to see. Plus some trains, planes, boats, and a submarine.
I can’t remember if we had gelato in Milan. I guess I’ll have to go back someday.