One of the things Dave and I enjoyed in Italy, especially in Venice, was al fresco dining. Many Venetian restaurants set up outdoor dining areas that feature tables with cloth covers, floral centerpieces, glassware, and so on. The outdoor dining areas are decorated as exquisitely as indoor dining rooms. Here's a photo of some people dining beside a small canal in Venice.
Next is a photo of Dave enjoying an iced, cold Coca Cola Light (i.e., Diet Coke) in a Venetian square.
Notice the lovely table setting. To be honest, it looks more inviting than my dining room table (from which I am typing this post) looks at the moment. I mentioned the iced, cold soda because that lunch was the only occasion on which we were served ice with our soda. Italians serve refrigerated beverages, but don't typically put ice in their drinks. From the time we boarded the Alitalia flight in Boston until we left Rome on a Delta airplane, this lunch was the only occasion on which we so much as glimpsed an ice cube. Of course, the ice was not the highlight of our meal. Like all of our meals in Italy, our lunch on this occasion was very tasty.
I snapped the next photo as we rode a water taxi through the Grand Canal. What a great place for a picnic!
Finally, here's Dave holding the picnic lunch we ate in Murano. I thought the box was much prettier than the ones I normally see in the USA, so I took a photo so that Domino's, Papa John's, Pizza Hut and the rest could see what the competition is doing and, hopefully, learn from them. As we ate this lunch (the only time all week that we shared a pizza), we sat on the steps of a bridge (like other fine diners) and watched the boats travel up and down the canal.
I guess I should explain why this was the only pizza we shared in Italy. Italian pizza is typically much lighter than American pizza - the crust is thinner and it is not smothered with heavy toppings as American pizzas tend to be. Therefore, one Italian typically consumes one pizza. Dave and I ate the Italian way for several lunches after this day, which freed me to experiment with different topping combinations. The one I enjoyed the most was the Pizza Campagnola - which had an amazing array of vegetables and delicious peppers (I suspect some of the peppers I had there are not readily available here, which is a shame).
So, there you have it: a glimpse of al fresco dining Italian style and a brief introduction to authentic Italian pizza.