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 Historical documents talk also about vineyards even in the area of Saint Mark’s Square and the Grand Canal.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 www.venissa.it). 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!
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.
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!
Fondamenta Santa Caterina, 3
30170 Island of Mazzorbo
Ph. +39 041 5272281
Visit my place at http://www.caamadi.it