Longtime reader Kathy, who is no stranger to sharing her cat related travel experiences with us (her last trip was to the Kattenstoet Cat Festival in Belgium), writes that she recently returned from Venice where the streets were lined with lions.
She explains, "The three of us had a short break in Venice this summer. It was wonderful - exactly as I had pictured it from photos and films. It was very crowded so we didn't see many of the sights but we did wander around a lot, got lost and ate loads of pizza and ice cream.
The symbol of the city is a winged lion and you could see lions (winged and otherwise) everywhere. We also took a photo of two real live Venetian cats! There was a third one but she got away before the I could click.
Venice is a very touristy place and the shops consist mostly of Murano glass stores next to mask shops. Many of the masks are of cats or lions and there are also the most adorable marionettes of cat couples dressed in gorgeous flowing gowns and suits adorned with glitter andfeathers. I asked why there are so many cat masks but few cats in the streets and was told that most cats in Venice are indoor cats."
Cinque Terre Cat
Italy does appear to be a cat crazy country. Another reader, Tanya, reported on her Italian vacation experience last year, saying: "I went there last summer and was overwhelmed by all the cat stuff for sale and of course all the adorable cats! I saw the most cats in Rome, Cinque Terre and Venice. People in the towns seem to be quite fond of the cats and take care of them. In at least two of the restaurants I had dinner at, a cat wandered in and rubbed up against my leg. I collected cat postcards wherever I went and managed to find a wine stopper with a cat on top that looked just like my Precious.
Marina cat in Vernazza one of the Cinque Terre towns. This kitty hung out near where the fishermen brought their boats and bounty back. This same kitty wandered into the restaurant I had dinner at and was sucking up to patrons to get more fish. The waitress said she is a regular called "Narina" (sp) meaning "small black"
Italy is the most amazing place I've ever been. Definitely a place worth checking out for so many different reasons, but being surrounded by cats was a pleasant surprise."
largo di torre argentina
Of course, you needn't prowl the streets looking for felines to photograph on your trip. If you find yourself in Rome, just take a stroll to the famous Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary, located amongst the ruins. The no-kill shelter is home to 250 "feline friends" who are cared for seven days a week by volunteers from different countries. The sanctuary is open every day from noon to 6 p.m., and visitors are always welcome to meet the cats, browse the gift shop, or sponsor a cat to help support the colony.
Know of any cat-themed travel destinations, or have any cool kitty vacation pics to share? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!