Bolzano

On our way back to Innsbruck from Venice, we stopped in a beautiful small city, Bolzano. Their history includes some time as a part of Austria so many of the people still speak German. Our bellies were rumbling so our first stop in Bolzano (called Bozen by the German speakers) was to the Stadt Caffe Città. We sat outside and watched those strolling through the main piazza which happened to be hosting a festival of flowers. We got a couple glasses of chilled white wine and ordered some tasty bruschetta – we were not ready to say goodbye to the fresh mozzarella and cherry tomatoes. After lunch we participated in one of the Italians’ favorite activities – passeggiata or strolling. We walked through the town, enjoying the mixture of Italian and Austrian cultures. On our way to the car, we decided to take some Italy back with us. We bought a few bottles of wine and even a couple basil plants.

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Murano

Venice has a few other islands that are just a short boat ride away. Reini and I hopped on the water bus and made our way over to the glassmakers’ island, Murano. The story is that the glassmakers were all banished to Murano in the 1200s because their craft was feared to burn down Venice’s wooden buildings. Now this island is jam packed with glass making and glass selling shops. Artists have huge creations in their windows and sparkling glass chandeliers hanging from their ceilings. There’s even a cool display in the middle of one of their courtyards. Most of the pieces were way out of our price range, but I ended up buying a picture frame and Reini bought a coveted glass egg. We mostly just enjoyed the magnificent window shopping offered on this special little island.