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 Historical documents talk also about vineyards  even in the area of Saint Mark’s Square and the Grand Canal.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!

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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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Living Venice as locals

19 04 2012

When visiting a foreign city, it often happens to think of what the local people life is like.

That’ why tourist offers more and more include special experiences which allow tourists to live the cities as residents.

Living Venice as locals cannot leave out a wine&food experience. Venice is of course about art, architecture and culture, but also Venetian culinary tradition has its deep roots.

Then, what’s better than going shopping at the local market and afterwards cooking in Venetian style and eating what you bought and prepared?

If this sounds good to you, you should join one of the classes of Enrica Rocca.

Known as the “cooking countness”, Enrica Rocca has transformed her passion for wine and food into a job being able to create unconventional courses on cuisine and wine tasting. As the Financial Times described her “Rocca’s cooking, as her temperament, is joyous, expansive and cultured”. On food Enrica’s philosophy is simple: it’s about flavour and quality of ingredients.

During the course “Rialto Market and Cooking experience”, Enrica takes the attendants to the Rialto market and teaches them how to select the best and freshest ingredients.

Rialto Market

After a break with wine and “cicchetti” (typical Venetian tapas) at a “bacaro” (typical Venetian wine bar), people go to Enrica’s beautiful kitchen, where she shares with them her secrets while cooking the food they previously bought. Enrica’s cooking methods follow the Venetian tradition also adding a touch of creativity.

Enrica Rocca's cooking class

A new way of experiencing Venice!

If you’re interested in similar but cheapest classes, have  a look at