Venissa: among vineyards in Venice!

28 04 2014

When thinking of vineyards, images of the hills usually pop up in your mind and the association with Venice adn its stone ground is unlikely.

Nevertheless, the Venetian islands are a fruitful environment for agriculture and in some of them this activity is still flourishing, like in the island of Sant’Erasmo, called the orchard of Venice, or Certosa.

In fact Venice, throughout the centuries, not only was a powerful maritime republic trading with the entire world but also a flowering garden with luxurious cultivation growing out of a microscopic, stingy, salt-laden area of land. Grape cultivation, in particular, dating back to the roman period, has always been conducted by the “Venetian farmers” who had to fight against the tides, salt water and buffeting wind. Historical documents talk also about vineyards  even in the area of Saint Mark’s Square and the Grand Canal.

Traces of Venice’s agricultural tradition can be found almost everywhere: in documents, in works of art, in place names, such as the islands of “San Francesco della Vigna” (Saint Francis of the Vineyards) and “Le Vignole”.  Some remains of the “walled vineyards” – vineyards enclosed among walls – can be found in different lagoon islands.

In the little  island of Mazzorbo, a few years ago one of these walled vineyard was restored and the growing of the local “Dorona” grapes was restarted. The Dorona, also known as the “Golden Grape”, is an ancient variety of Venice-native grape with yellow berries that was cultivated in the Venetian lagoon islands until 1400.
That’s part of the “Venissa” project and estate (see The estate includes the vineyard, a vegetable garden, a hostel and a top quality restaurant and the ensemble creates a real corner of peace and delight!

foto 3

Venissa restaurant & hostel

Venissa vineyards

Venissa vineyards

The restaurant cannot be defined cheap and the food portions are small compared to prices, but the quality is really high, the used ingredients are extremely fresh and their combination is really original. The result is a refined but simple cuisine, with strong aromas and lots of herbs, which pays particular attention to the products of the territory, some of which are grown in the estate. The service is also top-quality.

Venissa estate

Venissa estate

I had lunch there a couple of days ago, to celebrate my birthday, and, even if I was there with a girlfriend of mine, I found it very very romantic: eating among vineyards is really nice (and unusual for Venice) and the location is so quite and relaxing, even in the busiest and most turistic days.

In your tour there, do not miss to visit the near island of Burano, which is connected to Mazzorbo with a short bridge: it will enchant you with its colours!

Island of Burano

Island of Burano

Venissa Restaurant
Fondamenta Santa Caterina, 3
30170 Island of Mazzorbo
Ph. +39 041 5272281



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Bacaro Tour nr.2

23 03 2014

In my previous post titled “Bacaro Tour nr. 1“, I covered some of my favourites “bacari”, the places in Venice where you can have a wine of glass together with some “cicchetti”. As already explained, the “cicchetti” are the typical Venetian tapas, such as “polpette” (fried balls of meat/vegetable/tuna fish), crostini (small pieces of bread topped with stockfish cream or salami/cheese), “sarde in saor” (sardines marinated in oil, vinegar, onion and raisins).

The first tour was mainly located in the Dorsoduro District, while this second tour is dedicated to the Rialto area, ending up at Cannaregio.

The side of Rialto bridge where the market is sited is full of bacari. At happy hour time you can find hundreds of people standing outside with a glass of wine on their hands. In this area, one of the most famous and hystorical (it was born in 1462) bacaro is “Cantina Do Mori“. Located in the homonymous street, it’s not easy to find but the research is worth it. Here you can experience a real bite of Venetian life, eating the most authentic Venetian finger food and choosing among a large variety of wines. The place style is 100% Venetian, with a long wooden counter and no tables where to sit. Lots of copper pots hanging from the ceiling make it truly characteristic.

Cantina Do Mori

Cantina Do Mori

Now cross the Rialto Bridge on the opposite side and walk straight until Campo San Bortolomio (you should see the statue of Goldoni in the middle of the square). From here, take the “Sotoportego della Bissa” covered passage and walk straight. Cross a bridge and then take the first left (a pharmacy is on the corner). Pass the bridge called “Ponte delle Paste”, walk a few steps and you will have in front of you the bacaro “Al Portego, another meeting point for young people at happy hour time. This is a very small place (there are some tables but they’re reserved for the restaurant customers), but the offered selection of cicchetti is quite wide, as well as the wine choice. The service may not be the friendliest, but the place deserves a try.

Al Portego

Al Portego

Now go right and left, cross the bridge at the back of Malibran theatre, go straight across Corte Seconda del Milion, Sotoportego del Milion and Corte Prima del Milion. At the San Grisostomo church (with pink walls), turn right, cross the brigde (Ponte dei Giocattoli) and turn right again. Walk 200 meters and you’ll find, on your right, a small but delightful bacaro: Mondo Divino. This is definitely one of my favourite bacari in Venice (that’s why I dedicated an entire post to it). It used to be a butcher until 40 years ago and so, on the outside walls, you can still see the old shop signs and decorations with bovine images. A huge variety of delicious cicchetti, the largest I’ve found in Venice, combined with the humour and kindness of the owners, Andrea and Sabina, makes the perfect mix for an unforgettable aperitive or meal.

Mondo Divino

Mondo Divino

Going back to the Ponte dei Giocattoli bridge, go right and follow the signs towards the train station (ferrovia). At the feet of the fourth bridge, on your right, there’s the bacaroVecia Carbonera“, which owes its name (that means old coal deposit) to the coal shop sited here in the past. An interesting stop in your bacaro tour.

Heading north trough the near Campo Santa Fosca, you’ll soon reach the Fondamenta della Misericordia, where you can find one of the most famous bacaro in Venice: Il Paradiso Perduto. The street where it is located is one of the most lively and frequented by Venetian residents and it’s rich in restaurants and wine bars with tables facing the characteristic canal. Il Paradiso Perduto is not my favourite place – a little too messy and crowded for me – but you cannot miss it. Along with a good glass of wine and a good cicchetto, her people can often enjoy some live music too.

Il Paradiso Perduto

Il Paradiso Perduto


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Chic cicchetti

12 08 2013

When visiting Venice, you cannot skip to taste the “cicchetti” (read: chikkétti), the typical finger food and tapas served in the wine-bars (called bacari or chicchetterie or osterie).

The most popular cicchetti are the “polpette” (fried balls made of meat, tuna fish, aubergines or zucchini), the “crostini al baccalà mantecato” (bread with stockfish cream), the “sarde in saor” (sardines marinated in vinegar, onion and raisins) and the “alici marinate” (marinated anchovies).

The places which offer these Venetian specialities are usually “old and not sophisticated-style”, that means dark-wooden furniture, straw chairs or stools, stuff everywhere. In few words, minimalism is not their distinctive mark.

But things are changing also in Venice and modernity is slowly (very slowly) spreading in town!

So, if you would like to enjoy some cicchetti in a chic location, your wishes can come true: try “El Sbarlefo San Pantalon” (Calle San Pantalon) or “Vinus Venezia” (Dorsoduro 3961).

They are both located in the same area, near to Ca’ Foscari University headquartes and Campo Santa Margherita (Dorsoduro district).

Vinus Venezia is open since a couple of years yet, while El Sbarlefo opened a month ago (the owners run another homonymous bacaro near the Rialto bridge).


Vinus Venezia from outside

Both are furnished in a stylish way and combine tradition with modernity, genuineness with a certain classiness. And not only in the location but also in the food.


El Sbarlefo_inside


Together with traditional cicchetti they also offer original combinations of tastes, arousing your curiosity and hunger too.

Let’s repay their courage of detouring from the tradition path in Venice, where all seem to be stuck in the past!

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Unusual but good: welcome Prosciutteria Dok Dall’Ava!

20 06 2013

When I started living in Venice, I was happy for many reasons. One of these was fish.

Yes, fish. The king of the menu in Venetian restaurants. Light and healthy. The king of the diets!

Well, after 2 years, I can say that I’m completely fed up with fish!

Yes, completely. Because Venice restaurants offer more or less the same menu: spaghetti with clams or “nero di seppia” (cuttlefish ink), “sarde in saor” (sardines cooked with onions and raisins), “fritto di pesce” (fried fish). There are only a few places where you can findsomething different and without fish! Sooner or later, one gets tired of this restricted variety, especially one comining from the mainland like me.

So, when they opened the “Prosciutteria Dok Dall’Ava” (“prosciutteria” means “ham store”) I couldn’t restrain my infinite joy! And the menu, based mainly on ham and meat, was not the only reason why.

The place itself  is unusual for Venice as well: no “old-fashioned” furniture and “home-like” atmosphere in small and dark rooms, but a huge open space with a modern and “fresh” style.

Prosciutteria Dok Dall'Ava - Outside

Prosciutteria Dok Dall’Ava – Outside

My favourite feature of this restaurant is the large window which faces the church of San Luca. In the centre of Venice (you are not faraway from Saint Mark’s square), you will find any others like this.

When you reach the entrance you wonder how a place like this could have been created in Venice! It looks like an industrial loft right in the middle of a city stopped far even from pre-industrial age.

The specialty here is the delightful San Daniele ham so, as said before, the menu includes many dishes with ham (starters, salads and pasta) and other meat dishes. The quality of food is good, as well as the service.


San daniele ham with melon, tomatoes and mozzarella


Pasta with san Daniele ham

The price is quite fair, considering that you’re in the centre of Venice: it is one of the few places in the city where you can eat a pasta dissh that costs less than 10€!

Prosciutteria Dok Dall’Ava: Venice missed something like you!

Prosciutteria Dok Dall’Ava

San Marco 3989
Tel. 0039 041 29 60 764



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Are you in Rialto area and want to have lunch?

16 05 2013

If you are in the Rialto area, on the opposite side of Rialto market, and want to have luch, it’s not easy to avoid a rip-off (please keep away from the restaurants with pictures of dishes outside!).

Here’ s a small guide with our suggestions for lunch in places where you can sit down and have cicchetti (typical venetian tapas) or a quick lunch without spending a fortune.

Let’s start with my favourite: Osteria Al Portego. Out of the tourist mass flow, it’s not easy to find but it’s worth the effort.

To get here from Rialto, go to Campo San Bartolomio (at the feet of the bridge) and take “calle della Bissa”. Go straight, cross the bridge and then take the first left. Cross the bridge and go straight for a few meters and there you are!

It’s a very small place and courtesy is not their forte, but the variety and quality of cicchetti is high as well as the taste and freshness of food in the menu.

Osteria Al Portego: their wide selection of cicchetti

Osteria Al Portego: their wide selection of cicchetti

If you do not want to wait or fight for a place to sit, you’d rather go to “Osteria Alla Botte“. This a historical restaurant in Venice which moved to a new location some time ago. From Campo San Bortolomio, take the street at the corner of the Disney store (calle dei Stagneri) and then turn the first right. Walk a few steps on and you’ll find it on your left.

As said, the new location offers a lot of place to sit, considering the Venetian standards. The selection of cicchetti is good and so are the dishes of their menu, which includes typical Venetian specialities.

If you want to walk a little bit more, go along the shore on the Grand Canal (Riva del Fero e del Carbon). When you will be no more able to walk along the Canal, take the street on your left (Calle Cavalli). Soon, on your right, you’ll see the awning of the “Enoteca Al Volto“.


Enoteca Al Volto

Here you can enjoy a lot of tasty cicchetti (try the delicious stuffed squids) or an authentic Venetian meal. Ask the the Venetian owner to tell you some curiosities about Venice: you’ll taste a real bite of the city!

If you feel like walking still a little bit further, you can reach the “Osteria da Alberto“. This is near the hospital of Venice and here you can find a lot of locals eating or having a glass of wine.

Osteria Da Alberto

Osteria Da Alberto

The recipe is always the same: cicchetti, good wine, Venetian dishes, some funny words in Venetian dialect and a smile!

Bacaro Tour nr.1

30 04 2013

Sooner or later, in Venice it’s almost inevitable making a “bacaro tour”, that means walking around the city and stopping at the typical “bacari” (sort of wine-bars) to have a glass of wine and some “cicchetti”. The “cicchetti” are the typical Venetian tapas and finger-food, such as “polpette” (fried balls of meat/vegetable/tuna fish), crostini (small pieces of bread topped with stockfish cream or salami/cheese), “sarde in saor” (sardines marinated in oil, vinegar, onion and raisins).

A few days ago, some friends of mine came to visit me in Venice and we decided to make a “bacaro tour” in my favourite places to celebrate our birthdays, which all happen in April.

We weren’t able to reach all the places I like, so I’m going to write another post on the delicious “bacari” I will not mention in this review (by the way, I already wrote some posts exclusively dedicated to the bacari I love, like “Express cicchetti at MaiTardi Enobar” or “Not only cicchetti at Mondo DiVino“: read them!).

We started the tour from Campo Santa Margherita, which is the square where all university students gather to have an aperitif before dinner. The square is full of bars and “bacari”, but the best place for “cicchetti” is Bocon DiVino (a play on words which means both “a bite of wine” and “divine bite”). This place offers a wide variety of “cicchetti” in a very warm location with bricks on the wall and wooden barrels  used as tables.

We then moved to “Osteria Ai Pugni”, a real “institution” in Venice (if you come here at around 7.30 pm, you’ll hardly be able to walk among the mass of people crowded outside). Do not dare to ask for a glass of water or a non-alchoolic drink here! The Venetian staff will lanswer you back with the most “colorful” Venetian language!

Osteria Ai Pugni

Osteria Ai Pugni

Walking along the “Zattere” (the sunny walk along the Giudecca Canal, on the southern part of Venice, facing the Giudecca island), we then arrived at “Al Squero“, a small cosy “bacaro” sited just in front of the “Squero di San Trovaso”, the most famous “squero” inVenice (so it’s called the place where they build and repair the gondolas). Here the owner is a real expert of food and wine (ask him to explain in details what he’s serving to you) and offers an unusual selection of “cicchetti”  and wine labels. The speciality are the “crostini” (see above), which have very particular tastes (try the one with salty cheese and figs jam, you’ll fall in love with it!).

Osteria Al Squero

Osteria Al Squero

After a long walk, we reached the Rialto area, where the most famous “bacari” are sited. We chose one place which is quite isolated from the most frequented paths: Enoteca Al Volto. A large variety of “cicchetti” + an authentic Venetian owner entertaining the customers is the recipe of the success of this place. We were impressed by the delicious stuffed squids and by the curiosities about Venice the owner told us. Here you can also have a typical Venetian meal.

Enoteca Al Volto

Enoteca Al Volto

Osteria Da Simson: a fresh touch of Venice

27 10 2012

While I was going through one of the special itineraries that our guests at Ca’ Amadi will be provided with from November on, I happened to find a little nice restaurant in a really quiet place: Ostaria da Simson.

The Ostaria is located along the street called “Fondamenta Felzi”, near the famous gothic basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo. Just at the end of the Fondamenta, hidden behind a gate, you can find one of the most beautiful courtyard of Venice: Corte Botera. This area offers a real bite of Venetian life and so does the Ostaria.

The restaurant is really small – only 6 tables inside and 2 outside along the canal – but this works for a highly attentive service and a good quality food.

Ostaria Da Simson – Inside

The variety in the menu is not wide, but the used ingredients are extremely fresh, folowing the seasonality, and all is prepared expressly upon order. The menu offer changes very often and the food is tasty and genuine.

The dish I enjoyed at the Osteria Da Simson

Following the tradition of the typical Venetian osteria (the term “osteria” derives from “oste”, which is the person who serves wine), here you can find also a good selection of wines. The service is really friendly!

Ostaria Da Simson
Castello 6316, Fondamenta dei Felzi
Tel  0039 041 5226276


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