On the way to lunch we stumbled upon the Basilica dei Santi Maria e Donato at the foot of a bridge. This centuries-old church with its striking Byzantine-style architecture and hexagonal apse reminded me of the churches of Greece.
I followed the soft-sandstone-colored brick walls around to the somewhat hidden entrance and went inside. A woman was sweeping the foyer. I lit a candle for Jan and dropped several coins into the donation box as I picked up a prayer card on my way out. High on an outside wall I noticed a plaque stating the church had been erected in the 7th century and reconstructed in the 12th century.
(Travel tip: taking photos of signs and plaques and picking up business cards of restaurants and hotels is invaluable in reconstructing your trip. Information such as this saves hours of post-trip research.)
A few shaded outdoor tables sitting on the edge of the canal had called to us from the other side. Now across the bridge, I was especially encouraged when I saw that the menu for Trattoria Valmarana was written only in Italian.
A waiter showed us to a perfect table next to the canal where we enjoyed a very delicious lunch. I fell in love with the colorful wine carafe made of Murano glass. Even the bread was brought on a piece of Murano glass: a vivid blue glass dish in the shape of a boat.
The table next to us was occupied by two Italian couples and I watched with interest what and how they ordered. Their choices looked enticing, but then so were ours. After our tasty lunch, we hurried back to pick up our napkin rings.
They were ready, although the glass-blower had left. We told the clerk to please give our thanks to the artist and tell him we thought they turned out beautifully. It was then time to catch a vaporetto back and before long, our magical city came into view.