We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Venice Marathon 2014

Tomorrow is the big day, and Venice is ready. 

 7,000 runners from around the globe will participate in the 29th Venice Marathon. The weather forecast is sunny, 65 degrees, with no chance of rain.  Should be perfect for a 26 mile run. 

A temporary bridge across the Grand Canal was put into place yesterday, connecting Dogana Point on the Dorsoduro side of the canal to St. Mark's.  Spectacular to see without runners, I can only imagine how emotional it must be for runners to find themselves on the Grand Canal with such an 
incredible view.


 This afternoon, workers completed the finish line area which is located along Riva di Sette Martiri just before the entrance to the Public Gardens.  The TV camera trucks are in place, the reviewing stand and port-a-john have been set up, and even tents with cots so the runners can receive massages after crossing the finish line.
Last week, workers completed the last sections of  ramps on all the bridges between St. Mark's and the garden. The ones along the Zattere had been completed in the prior week. 

When I see the ramps going up every year, I know it won't be long before the marathon takes place. In prior years, the ramps have been left up for at least a month after the race, to give anyone (tourists and residents alike) with mobility issues a bit of a break.

This is the route map of the Venice Marathon, beginning out in the countryside, in Stra.  Twenty of the race's 26 miles are run outside of Venice, with the last 6 miles run from the cruise port to the public gardens.

While I was searching for a route map, I came across this interesting "fly-by" route of the Venice Marathon on You Tube. Click the link to view it, it's fun.

In previous years, I've taken a position along the Zattere just at the entrance point from the cruise port, so I could see the runners in the front of the pack as they hit this long stretch of sidewalk and make their way towards St. Mark's square and the last bit of running.  Last year the crowd was going nuts because an Italian runner was in the top contenders. He came in third, which is a very good showing considering the winners usually are runners from Kenya, and those guys are some very fast runners.

This year, I will be right by finish line, with camera in hand. My hairdresser, Simone, is running the race this year, I think I may be more excited about this than he is.  I bumped into him last night on the street in the vicinity of Rialto, so I had a last minute chance to wish him "Buona Fortuna"  He may need every little bit he can get. I probably should light a few candles for him right before race time, just to be sure to give him every last bit of help possible tomorrow. The poor guy injured his ankle a few weeks ago, and it's not good.    He informed me he is running tomorrow anyway, pain or no pain.

On your mark, get set.....

Friday, October 24, 2014

If it's Tuesday, it must be Mercatino Day on the Lido!

Recently I discovered the weekly market (mercatino) on the Lido.  While I love shopping at the Rialto market, this is something completely different. Vendors bring their trucks over to the Lido on the ferry boat early every Tuesday morning and set up outdoors along the lagoon.  Some of the trucks are designed to somehow magically unfold to become a shop, and other vendors set up tables alongside the truck and unpack everything onto the tables.  At the end of the morning ,every thing is packed back up again and the trucks leave the Lido.  It kind of reminds me of the circus coming to town!

There's no fish sold at the weekly mercatino, but there is plenty of just about everything else you can think of. It's become my go-to happy place now.  Besides the variety of merchandise to choose from, I am surrounded by only locals. No tour groups milling through the Lido mercatino!

I thought I'd give you a taste of what my Tuesday mornings are like.

I buy my fresh eggs from this guy now. I love that I can buy any number of eggs I want, even just one.  Large size eggs are 20 cents per egg. Well, 20 centesimi.

The linens truck sells towels, rugs, sheets, pillowcases, pillows.

There are several shoe stalls, with tables full of shoes for men, women and children.  Now you know where to find those green wellies at a good price if you need them when we have high water.

We're right smack in the middle of mushroom season here in Italy, and there has been a great selection to choose from at the mercatino. 


This is zucca (pumpkin), which is just about a staple in local vegetables. In Venice you will find pumpkin soup, pumpkin lasagna, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin with pasta, even roast pumpkin. It's all delicious, something you should add to your "must try" list next time you are here.
The olive guy is one of my favorite stalls. 

Tomatoes was the focus of this photo, but look at the view behind the tomatoes. It's the lagoon, looking back towards Venice.  Who gets to shop in a place like this?  It's heavenly.

One of the more popular stalls are the flower vendors.  They sell not only potted plants but also a huge variety of vegetable plants.  My shopping cart always has some new plants in it to bring home each week.

The rosticceria is another of my favorites.  I have a tough time not overspending when I get to this stall. He sells  roast chicken,  roast pork, turkey, chicken legs, sausage, lots of varieties of lasagnas, fried shrimp, fried calamari, roasted potatoes, bacala and tons of other things. Locals are queued up at this truck all morning long. waiting to take home their Tuesday lunch.
Yes, this is the sock truck. They just sell socks. Kids socks, mens socks, womens socks, winter socks, hunting socks.  Socks. I love it.

While Venice is overrun with trinket shops selling 2 Euro masks and 1 Euro glass souvenirs, a little bit of the old traditional Venice still exists, just a few minutes away on a vaporetto. Tuesdays are one of my favorite days of the week.