Venice is one of the most visited cities in the world. It’s beautiful, it’s magic, it’s perfect for lovers, but also for those who want to keep fit (with all those bridges and power walking, there’s no need to go to the gym!); it’s perfect also for those who couldn’t care less about keeping fit (hello, aperitivo!).
Today we will let you discover the unusual Venice: forget the gondola ride, Piazza San Marco and Ponte di Rialto, we will make you discover tiny shops, the “bacari” and the most incredible views.
As many of you know, Venice is full of small taverns and bars, called “bacaro” in Venetian dialect. This is where you can appreciate the true Venetian people; it is a well-known fact that they are made of half bitter Campari and half “cichetti”, the venetian version of Spanish tapas. It’s mostly meatballs and salted codfish in every possible way (on canapés in a creamy form or fried in sticks), hard-boiled eggs, artichokes, and fried fish. All this should be accompanied by “a shadow”, a glass of wine that is, possibly prosecco – a still white or a red wine is fine too, Venetians don’t really mind as long as it’s wine. You should also try the typical Venetian drink, the “spritz” (well, it’s typical also in Trieste). Spritz here is not considered a cocktail, so it will not cost you ten euros and, more importantly, it’s made by people who know what they’re doing – and it’s made with love. They make the typical Venetian version with Select, a liquor that tastes halfway between Aperol and Campari; the second option is with bitter; Aperol is for suckers.
To try out all this goodness, here are top 3 addresses.
Dalla Vedova – Ca d’Oro, Cannareggio 3912 Closed on Sundays. Campari does not exist here, so don’t piss off the owners asking for it. Meatballs here are a must.
Rosa Salva – Sestiere San Marco 950 This is one of the two most famous pastry shops in Venice (the other one is called Tonolo). Besides pastries, here you will find any kind of “tramezzino” sandwiches. “Tramezzino” sandwiches are born here, in the triangle among Treviso, Venezia and Mestre, so trust us. You won’t find any rolls here, the true shape is a triangle.
Da Lele – Campo dei Tolentini Lele is a landmark in Venice, especially for those who live around Iuav, the University of Architecture and Visual Arts. Don’t miss the mini-sandwiches with great combinations of ingredients and very low prices (same applies for wines and spritz). It’s just a few steps away from Piazzale Roma.
Strolling around Venice you will find tons of little shops. Most of them will sell two things: Murano glass and masks. However, they are not all the same and, above all, they don’t sell only this kind of things. You will also find many leather shops, selling all exactly the same stuff. This just to say that in Venice there is a microcosm of its own, denying the myth of product diversification. We suggest wandering around the city; you will come across stunning bookshops, glass-makers selling incredibly light glass balloons, toy shops where everything is tiny, or Beatles-themed; art galleries and authentic Venetian hobby modeling shops.
Libreria Acqua Alta – Calle lunga di Santa Maria Formosa 5176
Bambolandia – San Polo 1462
At some point, walking across the fifteenth bridge and after walking ten kilometers, you’ll see the nth gondola packed with Chinese tourists (or Asian anyway – together with Indians and Americans they seem the only customers of gondoliers), you will ask yourself, just like The Catcher in the Rye, “Where do gondolas go when they break? Where are they built?”. There is a place for this, and that place is called “squero” in Venetian. One of the most beautiful, and easy to reach, is between Ponte dell’Accademia (one of the three bridges over Canal Grande, entirely made of wood, perfect for selfies and beautiful pictures like the one you see on the cover) and Campo Santa Margherita (a beautiful meeting point for students; very lively, full of “bacari”, obviously. Renato’s shop used to be here, a beloved bar with incredible meatballs; we are all so sad it closed). So between a church and a small residential area, there is this group of wooden cabins, they look almost like mountain logdes. This is where broken gondolas get fixed; the view and the atmosphere are incredible.
Squero di San Trovaso – Fondamenta Bonlini 1097
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