"There are no rules in Italy. There need to be rules in Italy."

When in NYC at the beginning of this trip, I was at a bar I frequently visit and happened to run into a guy I briefly dated.  I didn't notice him until about 20 minutes later and I'm pretty positive that based on the way his seat was faced, he saw me walk in but pretended not to.  Regardless, when we got to chatting, he (being an Italian aficionado merely through the restaurant world), abruptly corrected me when I told him that we were stopping in Padova, a town about 30 minutes outside of Venice.

"It's pronounced Pahhh-duu-aahhh."    

"It's what?" I asked, slightly confused.   

"It's Pahhh-duu-ahhh." He puckered the word a-matter-a-factly.   

"Oh, ok..." internally rolling my eyes at every worldly American that needs to order a cwah-sont. 

He seemed less interested in the why or who or what I was going there for but in my mind I was thinking....we're gonna see Springsteen mothaf***a! 

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The man waiting for us at the Venice airport was everything you'd want your Italian driver to be: short and grey haired, very poor English, a warm smile, kind eyes, and the first sign that the men there know how to dress themselves.  

The three of us piled into his black stick shift Mercedes caravan -which he drove like a Porsche- and dropped us off at the Sheraton, Padova.  We had about 1 hour until we had to head to a shuttle bus for the concert, 10 minutes of which I used to try to make myself look slightly less disheveled.

The concert was held at a soccer stadium and the first noticeable difference between the American way of doing things and the Italian was trying to navigate our ticket window.  To make a long story short, we luckily had enough Euros to cover the cost of our reserved tickets and were left with a measly 50 to cover what would be the first solid food we'd have all day, my 2 beer minimum requirement and a cab ride back from the bus to the hotel later that night. 

 

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When showed to our section of red seats we were told to just "sit anywhere."  So to the front row we went.  My mom held our spots as my sister and I scoured for food (one booth for the entire half stadium btw!!)  After talking with a Toronto groupie couple, we figured out that a meal ticket was needed and a line didn't exist.  About 30 minutes later we made way back to our row as our mom was chatting with a very charming Italian man.   

Luca turned out to live in New York- has for years- and even lived in Los Angeles.  He hilariously pointed out many differences between the two cultures, some of which were apparent at the concert (no security check, a scary amount of people allowed on the field, cops there purely to take pictures of each other), and then he said something that set the tone for the rest of the trip....can you guess??

"There are no rules in Italy.  There need to be rules in Italy."  He smiled, dropped and shook his head.  We laughed. 

 

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My mom and sister are going to kill me for putting up the above picture.  We were so greasy gross.

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The concert was pretty epic and especially fun to see abroad.  As soon as Bruce said "Hello, PADOVA," I thought that if The Boss calls it Puh-doh-va, then so would I.

The next morning we were off to Venezia!  We actually only spent the day there but all agreed that it was a satisfying amount.  The thing about Venice...is that it really is amazing.  You'll never see anything like it-- totally blows Vegas out of the water- but has also become extremely commercialized.  It's definitely a city that thrives on tourism. 

 

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You also have to seek out great food...not one of those Italian towns that just has great restaurants around every corner; but every corner does indeed have something special.

 

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Some street shots...

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We actually spent the day with no map, just meandering our way through, but made sure to go to Piazza San Marco...it was kind of meh compared to whatever expectations we had.

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Chimere was a gem of a store we stumbled upon on the edge of town.  The owner below had just opened 3 weeks prior and...well, how darling is she??  My mom bought one of her gorgeous bowls.

Last but not least, below is one of my favorite pictures I took of the whole trip.  Looks like it could be from decades ago, a quality that I hope Italy never loses.  

Still to come...Florence (I & II) and Rome. 

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