L.A. Centric - July/August 2012

Page 54

Summer Travel

Experiencing True Italy by Amalia Maloney

While recently traveling

from Venice to Tuscany, I made a point to stay at places that would give me the opportunity to experience the locals and culture of the area. After all, rather than just traveling Italy, I wanted to actually experience the country. No menus in English or long lines to see a castle, please.

From Milan I rode the train and will never forget my first view of Venice: arriving just at sunset, the lantern lights were softly bright and gave a golden glow to the buildings as it grew darker. The winding narrow pathways can’t really be called sidewalks; they are wonderfully too old and full of such character and life with their stone pavers and tall, ancient walls varying in color and style as I navigated myself and my bag off the water-taxi and took turns left and right, crossing over small arching bridges. I was glad that I

54 l.a. centric july/august 2012

mapped out the route to include as few bridges and stairs to mount as possible from the San Marco water-taxi stop to what came to be my Venetian home of Hotel Becher. If you have traveled there before or when you do visit, you will understand what I mean. Private water-taxis can be taken but are more expensive and the more common and affordable means of transportation, amongst visitors and locals alike, is the public water-taxis. A great attribute of the Hotel Becher is that from the main central station of Santa Lucia, you can take the public water-taxi to the San Marco dock, enjoying the scenic waterway as you pass under the famous Rialto and Academia bridges. From there, it is only a five minute walk with only one bridge that must be crossed just before your destination. If you take a private water-taxi or gondola, you can be dropped off directly at the small private dock of the hotel.

What I came to love the most about staying at the Hotel Becher was not only the quality of their three-star status or the beautiful Venetian-style dĂŠcor; it was also the service and comfortable atmosphere that easily existed there and in which I came to know the managers of the hotel. Hotel Becher and its modern-style sister hotel AD Place are managed by one family, Anna and Paolo and their two sons, Massimo and Alessandro. The central location of the Hotel Becher gave me convenient access to all of Venice, particularly Teatro La Fenice, which is the Opera House famous in Venice for its history, performances, and stunning Renaissance-style frescos. It is literally just down the main passageway from the hotel. Aside from the main public areas of the hotel, I enjoyed a well-decorated and comfortable room that had a picturesque window looking out directly onto the canal.