italy

Venice Carnival Photography Workshops 2020 by Marco Secchi

Carnival in Venice

This year the Venice Carnival will begin on Saturday, 8 February and end Tuesday, 25 February.

The Venice Carnival is the most internationally known festival celebrated in Venice, Italy, as well as being one of the oldest. This congregation of masked people, called Venice Carnival, began in the 15th century, but the tradition can be traced back to the beginning of the 14th Century! During those years one of the first laws made by the Serenissima was that masks cannot be used around the city at night. Later, Venice Carnival attracted foreigners - including princes - from all over Europe, who came to enjoy the wild festivities while spending fortunes.

2012 Venice Carnival Atmosphere

2012 Venice Carnival Atmosphere

During the ten days of Carnival leading up to Mardi Gras, Venice is a hive of activity and entertainment, from improvised street entertainment to performances put on by the organizers. A central idea is chosen each year that is taken from various cultural or show-biz themes. Saint Mark’s Square remains the heart of Carnival, with its huge stage, although other events take place throughout the city, helping to avoid an excessive build-up of people in pedestrianized Venice.

During this period we will offer a Carnival Photo Walks where during the first hours we will take pictures of the Masks and Costumes in St Mark’s Square and then we will head after a coffee break for the Venice Tour. 4h Tour Price is €400 Max 3 people or 2 adults + 2 Teens  – Extra persons MAX 2  € 70 per person.

10 Things NOT To Do in Venice by Marco Secchi

In this article we’ll share with you what to do in Venice but it won’t include your standard itinerary. We are going to tell you how to see Venice in a different perspective, suggesting to you what you can avoid, that all the others normally do!

1. Don’t attempt to see all the sights – pick a few and see them well Even in shoulder season (late April/May), the crowds in Venice are so vast that it’s impossible to speed around the city – a pace that’s required for maximum sightseeing. Do yourself a favour: take the pressure off, pick a couple of must-sees and see them properly. Venice has history in spades and it’s best explored with an insider to take you through the stories that make up city’s history. For example, did you know that the copper horses at the top of St mark’s Basilica are replicas? The real ones, which are thought to be the oldest on earth at about 2,000 years old, are located inside the terrace. Life size, it’s hard to imagine how these four horses have moved over the centuries from Constantinople to Rome and Paris (where they sat on top of the Arc de Triomph after Napoleon stole them)

2. Don’t stare across at the Bridge of Sighs – Go INSIDE the bridge and stare out If only Venice could triple the size of the bridge opposite the famous Bridge of Sighs, the congestion along the waterfront in Venice would ease around 50%* (*random guestimate). But clearly, that’s never going to happen and in order to get a good look at the Bridge of Sighs you’re going to need to battle with the tour groups, selfie-stick wielding couples and people who are otherwise simply trying to squeeze by. But what bemuses me most about the fracas to get a shot in front of the Bridge of Sighs is that the whole significance of the bridge is the views it gives out over Venice. In case you didn’t know, the bridge is so named because prisoners inside the Doge Palace would walk through the interior of the bridge on the way to their execution in St Mark’s Square. The bridge and the tiny lattice gaps gave prisoners their very last view out over Venice before they died. And that last view is thought to have induced a final sigh at Venice’s beauty, hence the name: Bridge of Sighs

Alternative-Venice-Bridge-of-Sighs.jpg

3. Don’t pay tourist prices (+$5) for coffee – spend under $1.50, like the locals Sit yourself down for a mid-sightseeing coffee at Cafe Florian overlooking St Mark’s Square and you’ll be charged €6 for the music. We are not talking about a collection hat that comes around. I’m talking about an actual €6 cover charge. That’s in addition to your coffee price (€3 for an espresso, €5 for a cappuccino and €7 for filter coffee). Walk a few paces to the right of Cafe Florian and the coffee price plummets to €1.20 for an espresso. You have to shuffle in among the locals and drink your coffee standing (which is how the Italians do it anyway) but for a quick caffeine fix while still enjoying being in the square, this is a much better option.

4. Don’t take a Gondola ride – take an Electric Boat tour instead One of the biggest appeals of the City of Canals is the water and how everything is conducted on it. Deliveries are made, commutes occur, children travel to school and even ambulances take the form of a boat. Once upon a time, Gondola’s used to be nothing more than a reality of Venetian life. These days, with more tourists than locals, the gondolas exist largely for tourist purposes. Instead, take a tour with an Electric boat towards the smaller islands with Classic Boat Venice. The Southern Lagoon is defined by the long stretching islands of Lido and Pellestrina on the sea side. Some of the small islands like Poveglia and San Spirito are abandoned today but have fascinating histories. Others like San Clemente or Sacca Sessola are now exclusive hotel islands.

5. Ascend San Giorgio Maggiore for the best views in Venice Head over to the small island of San Giorigo Maggiore and climb the bell tower there instead (well, not climb – it’s actually a lift/elevator and there is no climbing option). By ascending the bell tower across the way, you get panoramic views across the whole of Venice island, including the famous campanile.

6. Don’t linger around San Marco – head to Canareggio for crowd-free Venice The few locals left in Venice’s historic centre tend to spend most of their time in the Canareggio district and if you make the effort to head away from the water and the highlights of San Marco, where most of the day trippers tend to linger, you’ll see the crowds thin significantly. As though another part of Venice has opened up, with a modern shopping street but also the history of the Jewish Ghetto, in Canareggio you can spend a few hours getting to know real Venice without the crowds.

7. Don’t play Russian Roulette with the food – take a food by the locals At the millennial Rialto Fish Market you will find the best fish and fresh fruit and vegetables. All the venetians go there to buy their food! Then around the city there are a lot of small local bakery or market where you can find fresh and tasty local products, like Baccalà Mantecato, or Sarde in Saor.

8. Don’t go for a Bellini at Harry’s Bar – have a spritz with the locals Having a Bellini at Harry’s bar in Venice is a bit like taking a Gondola ride – for some people, they just have to do it. If you didn’t know, the Bellini was invented in Venice by the owner of Harry’s bar. If you don’t want to set yourself up for a Bellini, get on the Aperol Spritz. Perhaps the most popular aperitivo you will see in Venice (and the rest of Italy) the Aperol spritz is a cocktail made with a large measure of Apersol (similar to Campari but much sweeter), topped with Prosecco, chilled with ice and served with a slice of orange. Be warned, it’s hard to tell how potent this all-booze drink is and it has a tendency to evaporate (from your glass into your mouth).

9. Don’t order pizza – have risotto or seafood instead Did you know that there’s a law in Venice prohibiting wood-fired ovens? The rule makes sense given so much of the city is made of wood and we hardly want to see the Venice catch alight. In a country where food is highly regional, you’ll do your taste buds a favour if you stick to what’s local. So when in Venice, look out for risotto, polenta, seafood and tiramisu. If you’re brave enough, try the "sepe al nero" – cuttlefish served with ink.

10. Don’t sweat away your day in crowds – see Venice at night Finally, if all the day crowds want to make you jump into the lagoon, take some solace in the fact that once the night arrives, the city quietens considerably. St Mark’s Square seems to expand back to its grand size; the bridges are passable and the narrow streets are near empty and inviting.

DSC_1095 (3).JPG

20 Great Things to do in Venice 6/20 - Art by Marco Secchi

Tour the Venetian masters of art

Venice is a unique and precious repository of art. From the late Middle Ages until the mid 18th century, artists of the highest caliber left thier mark all over the city and works by Venice's grand masters Titian (c1488-1576), Tintoretto (c1518-94), Canaletto (1697-1768) and Tiepolo (1727-1804) can still be viewed in situ today. See Titian’s glorious 'Assumption' above the high altar at I Frari, Tintoretto's epic masterpiece 'Crucifixion' at Scuola Grande di San Rocco, and Tiepolo's monumental frescos at the Pietà and Ca’ Rezzonico.

For a one-stop-shop of Venice’s foremost artistic treasures, head for the Gallerie dell’Accademia.

VENICE, ITALY - NOVEMBER 23:  Two women admire two different paintings by Lorenzo Lotto at the press preview of Tribute to Lorenzo Lotto - The Hermitage Paintings at Accademia Gallery on November 23, 2011 in Venice, Italy. The exhibition which includes two very rare & never seen before paintings opens from the 24th November 2011 to 26th February 2012 in Italy. (Marco Secchi/Getty Images)

Tourist Tax in Venice by Marco Secchi

Visiting Venice will now cost an extra few Euros even if you don't stay overnight. The Italian city's council has approved a visitors' tax, brought in as part of the 2019 budget, which will target daytrippers and help to pay for essential services like rubbish collection and cleaning. Day tourists will be charged €3 for the rest of 2019, to double next year. Variations for high and low traffic days mean the tax will range from €3 to €10.

Anyone born in Venice, studying, living or working there will be exempt, as will children under six years old and people visiting family. Tourists will have to go to transport and tourism agencies to pay the tax. Although Venice has not stated how it will enforce the tax, anyone flouting it could face a fine of €450. Only about one-fifth of all visitors to the city spend at least one night in the historic centre. The iconic make-up of the city means maintenance and security costs are extremely high, and the mayor Luigi Brugnaro said the substantial costs have so far been paid "only by Venetians." According to city officials, maintaining public buildings in Venice costs a third more than it does on the mainland, with vital materials and equipment having to be brought in by boat and much of the cleaning done by hand.

 Venezia. 2016. OIC residential centre for old people. ©Simone Padovani





A visit to Burano by Marco Secchi

Any international magazines include Burano among the top 10 most colorful cities in the world

The colorful houses, the fishermen, the lace, the desserts and the fish dishes. The island of Burano leaves enchanted, it is a small pearl in the middle of the lagoon

DSCF8575.jpg


The inhabitants of Altino to escape the barbarian invasions, took refuge in the various islands of the lagoon, giving these the names of the six gates of the city: Murano, Mazzorbo, Burano, Torcello, Ammiana and Costanziaco, derived precisely from the names of the doors of Altino.

Since the time of the Republic of Venice, Burano with its modest population of about 8,000 people, was an island of poor people who lived mainly from fishing and agriculture. Thanks to the skill of the lace makers began to grow, to enrich themselves and expand the local crafts also in foreign countries.

Burano is very famous for its needle lace. However, there is also a production of Venetian masks and many inhabitants of the island work in nearby Murano, producing precious glass objects.

How to get to Burano

Public transportations

From Santa Lucia Railway Station
ACTV's lines (Venetian public transport company) that bring to "Fondamente Nove":

  • Lines 1 e N (Nocturne): get off at Ca' D'oro stop and proceed to Fondamente Nove (5 minutes) at the boarding for the 12 line, which connects Venice to Burano

  • Lines 4.2 e 5.2: get off at Fondamente Nove stop and go to the 12 line's boarding beyond Donà Bridge. This line connects Venice to Burano in about 40 minutes.

  • Line 3 (Murano Direct): get off at "Murano Faro" stop and take the waterbus to Burano at the 12 Boarding.

What to do in Burano

Capture the colour of Burano

If you’ve heard of Burano, or at the very least entered it into Google images, the one thing you’ll have taken away is the vibrancy of its buildings. Tangerine, teal, fuchsia, and lime houses line the canal and cobbled streets, but it’s not just for aesthetic reasons – the fishermen who first inhabited them picked bold colours to help them find their way back after a long day on the water in the thick fog that often descends upon the Lagoon, and some matched their boat colours to their house so if something happened to them the colour would indicate which door to knock on.

Learn to make lace

After fishing, lacemaking is Burano’s biggest money maker. The tradition dates back to the 1500s and was almost exclusively done at Scuola Merletti, or the Lace School, which is now a museum dedicated to the craft. What makes Burano lace different to other types of lace is the intricacy of the pattern and the delicate, gossamer-fine threads used. Only a handful of women do it in the traditional way these days, so the lace shops in the square are filled with replicas and even lace made in China, so check the label carefully. If it seems too cheap, it probably isn’t the real deal – Venetian lace is a luxury item that few can afford a lot of. Go to Dalla Lidia Merletti d'Arte for authentic Burano lace. Want to learn the art of Burano lace making? Martina Vidal Venezia is a Home Linen Atelier created by Martina and her brother Sergio as a concept store and teaching workshop, where you can sign up for an eight-hour introductory course. Price on request.

Prop up the leaning campanile of San Martino

Leaning Tower of Pisa? Been there, done that. Stand in the main square that surrounds the Church of San Martino in Burano and you can seemingly hold up the slanted ‘campanile’ without having to fight with hundreds of other visitors trying to get the same shot. Once you’ve got your picture, head inside and marvel at the architecture and Rococo art. Look out for the famous trio of St. Rocco, St. Sebastian and St. Antonio Abate by Jacopo Palma il Giovane and be sure to get close enough to the main altar to appreciate the ornate columns of French red marble and ancient oriental marble that encase it.

Eat fresh seafood – for half the price of Venice

Almost all of the fish in Rialto market in Venice is caught by the fisherman of Burano, so a visit to Burano itself means you can enjoy the much-lauded seafood straight from the source and without the premium the tourist hotspot demands. If you only have time for one restaurant during your trip, make it Al Gatto Nero. It’s a favourite of food bloggers – and chefs like Jamie Oliver – and has been serving a menu of fresh fish and pasta that changes daily since the 1960s. Pappardelle with langoustines and smoked ricotta is a must try, as is the John Dory and platter of razor clams, when they’re available. If you like your lunch with a side of art, book a table at Trattoria da Romano where you can enjoy traditional Venetian cuisine surrounded by more than 400 paintings from local and now-famous artists who paid for their meal with their work. It’s a favourite of Keith Richards and was once the haunt of Ernest Hemingway and Charlie Chaplin – look carefully at the menu for proof of their visits.

Satisfy your sweet tooth

After your fill of fish, find a pasticceria and hone in on the Bussolai Buranei or Venetian butter cookies. The delicious S-shaped biscuit is a local favourite steeped in history – they were originally made by fishermen’s wives for their husbands destined for long periods on the water because they would stay fresh all day – and they’re served in most cafés, alongside your espresso. At Panificio Pasticceria Palmisano Carmelina they’re flavoured with vanilla, lemon, or if you’re lucky, rum.

20 Great Things to do in Venice 3/20 - Ice Cream by Marco Secchi

Cool down with a delicious gelato

Most Venetians agree that some of the city’s best gelato is served in Boutique del Gelato, a tiny outlet on busy salizzada San Lio. Be prepared to be patient though, because there’s always a huge crowd waiting to be served. See it as quality assurance – it’s worth the wait.

Artisan Ice Cream: The Art of Making Gelato

Artisan Ice Cream: The Art of Making Gelato

At Alaska Gelateria-Sorbetteria Carlo Pistacchi is passionate about making ice-cream and experimenting with new flavours using only the freshest natural ingredients. Stick to tried and true choices such as hazelnut or yoghurt, or branch out to sample seasonally changing exotic flavours, such as artichoke, fennel, asparagus or ginger.

Will add my best Ice Cream parlours in Venice soon

Regata delle Befane January 6th by Marco Secchi

On the 6th of January will take place the traditional Befane Regatta.

This is a playful regatta between the old members of the city's oldest rowing company, the Bucintoro, which, disguised as "Befane", compete in the central stretch of the Grand Canal from S. Tomà to the Rialto Bridge.

The regatta has reached its 41st edition, 5 members of the Bucintoro will participate, the departure is scheduled at 11 am, the finish line is placed under the Rialto bridge, to which a huge stocking is hung.

 Venice, ITALY. 6 January, 2018. Participants dressed up as elderly women row on the Grand Canal during the 37th Befana Regata. � Stefano Mazzola/Awakening/Alamy Live News

20 Great Things to do in Venice 2/20 - St Mark's Square by Marco Secchi

See three major sights in one square

Landscapes Of Venice In The Snow

Landscapes Of Venice In The Snow

Standing in the middle of the magnificent piazza San Marco is an experience in itself: Napoleon referred to it as the ‘drawing room of Europe’, apt today as, at times, it appears that much of Europe’s population is crammed into this great square. But it's St Mark’s basilica (Basilica di San Marco), often seen as the living testimony of Venice’s links with Byzantium; Doge’s Palace, once Venice's political and judicial hub; and Torre dell’Orologio, a clock tower built between 1496 and 1506, that are, not just the square's, but some of the city's main attractions.

Christmas and Festive Season in Venice by Marco Secchi

What can you do if you are visiting Venice during Christmas time?

 VENICE, ITALY - DECEMBER 08:  Three gondoliers chat near a Christmas decorated Rialto Bridge on December 8, 2011 in Venice, Italy.



First of all, you can have a quiet walk in a less crowded city, with a magical mist and Christmas lights on the houses and on the canals. In St. Mark square you will find the Christmas Tree, and you can walk under the porticos of the Procuratie, where the ceilings are decorated with luminous rows that recall a cascade of snowflakes.In Calle XXIII Marzo, the street of the luxury shops, you can make shopping under luminaries that create a unique atmosphere with the ancient palaces.

Soak up the festive atmosphere by strolling through the streets and lingering in squares or churches to listen to choirs singing and the church bells ringing. On Christmas Day itself, the bells ring out all day from St Mark's Bell Tower.

If your walk has left you chilly warm up with a hot chocolate in Caffè Florian on St Mark's Square.

Do you want to buy some typical food or some artisanal gift?

Take advantage of the Christmas Market in Strada Nova and Accademia area, maybe drinking a glass of Vin Brulè (typical winter hot wine) to warm up a little.

In Campo San Polo there is the ice skating rink, fun for adults and children.Are you classical music lovers?

If the answer is yes, the Venice Christmas season offers a variety of concerts. Many Venetian churches for Christmas o organize evening shows: from traditional Christmas songs to more modern tunes performed by international singers, in short, shows for all tastes.And you cannot miss the Santa Claus Run on 16th of December, starting from Campo San Giacometto, close to Rialto Bridge.

Venetians have their main Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve or “La Vigilia”. Families traditionally tuck into a fish dinner of several courses before heading to midnight mass. If you want to join them, services at St Mark's Basilica start at 11:30 p.m. and are conducted in English, French and German as well as Italian.

20 Great Things to do in Venice 1/20 - Gondola by Marco Secchi

So obvious. No trip to Venice would be complete without a punt down one of the city's picturesque canals in a traditional gondola. The Istituzione per la Conservazione della Gondola e Tutela del Gondoliere (Gondola Board; 041 528 5075, www.gondolavenezia.it) website has recommended itineraries. Prices below are for the hire of the gondola, for six passengers or less. You do not need to book a Gondola (in general will be much more expensive!!)

8am-7pm €80 for 30mins; €40 for each additional 15mins. 7pm-8am €100 for 40mins; €50 for each additional 15mins.

Photo By: Marco Secchi

Photo By: Marco Secchi

Restaurants in Venice....my favourites by Marco Secchi

 Venice Restaurants

This is not a traditional list of restaurants ...most of the places I mention are unlikely to see the light in a "regular" guide but are the places that for one reason or another myself, family or friends tend to use. There are two golden rules for eating well in Venice. First, don’t take pot luck: this is a tourist-trap city where a recommendation by a local, or a well-researched guide, is well worth heeding. Second, "the narrow the road the better the food" !You may have heard that Italy is a country that eats late, in Venice - despite the locals will go for dinner quite late particularly in summer – some of the restaurants serve lunch from noon and dinner from 6pm or earlier!

Venice Cannaregio
Venice Cannaregio

£ Restaurants

La Bottega ai Promessi Sposi

Though it’s well hidden, off the busy Strada Nuova, it’s easy to spot this restaurant: the locals spilling out into the calle, wine glass and cicchetto in hand, say it all. Whether you perch at the counter (the bar stools are hotly contested) or bag a table in the dark interior, you’ll eat excellent, unfussy fare – seafood and meat – served by a dedicated, enthusiastic team. The menu changes daily but generally manages to include some Venetian stalwarts. The ample choice of meat-free antipasti keeps vegetarians happy too.

Address: 4367 Cannaregio, calle dell’Oca Contact: 041 241 2747 Prices: Around €30/£25 a head for a full meal.

 Ristorante Diana

Good inexpensive lunch or dinner sitting on the side of a quiet canal in Cannaregio!

Address:2519 Cannaregio, fondamenta de la Misericordia , Venice, Italy Contact: 392 3623092 Prices: Around €13 For Fixed Price Menu

Trattoria La Misericordia

A nice restaurant. Lovely food, excellent service. Little extras such as the free aperitif and digestive and bruschetta made us feel very welcome. Lovely location, away from the crowds, next to a canal, on the way to the Jewish Ghetto

Address:2515 Cannaregio, fondamenta de la Misericordia , Venice, Italy Contact: 0418391729 Prices: Around €13 For Fixed Price Menu

Trattoria Chinellato

If you want a good and inexpensive lunch . First course and second course for about 12 euros/person including a cup of coffee or a dessert this is the place .And you will experience an atmosphere of a positive and good service in a flash !!! The lady who I think is the owner is talking all the time and I was so exciting watching how well all thing worked ...fast !! The food is good tasting . It is those small restaurants you shall visit to feel genuine Italian food and atmosphere. Staff and owners working here makes you feel welcome

Address: Centro Storico calle dei Albanesi No. 4227, Venice, ItalyContact: +39 0415236025 Prices: Around €13 for Fixed Price Menu

Al Nono Risorto

Don’t come here for peace and quiet, or refined service for that matter, but if you want good pizza served up in convivial surroundings – plus the bonus of a garden courtyard with outside tables – then this evergreen budget option certainly delivers . As well as all the pizzas there are a few pasta dishes and classic meaty main courses.

Address: Santa Croce 2338, Sotoportego di Siora Bettina. Contact: 041 524 1169. Prices: €20 should cover a starter, a pizza and a beer. Opening times: Noon-2.30pm, 7pm-11pm. Closed all day Wed, and Thu lunch. Reservations: Not usually necessary. Payment type: Cash only.

££ Restaurants

Antica Trattoria Bandierette Run by two sisters and relative husbands is a fantastic place. Specialty is fish, You can tell this is a place where the emphasis is on what is fresh and in-season. The menus had a moderate selection and you could tell they were typed up at home. Dishes ranged from €6-18. They have Set Menus from €13I had a wonderful Gnocchi and Capesante. I have never had such sweet, tender capesante in my life! The Frittura Mista is out of this world. Bandierette's food shows that you don't need a lot of ingredients or fancy presentation to enjoy good food. Start with a few quality items and let them shine through on their own with a simple preparation and you have a wonderful meal!

Address: Barbaria delle Tole, Castello 6671 Phone: 041 522 06 19

Ristorante Riviera

This comfortable, intimate restaurant, with seating inside for 30, is just a few steps from the Accademia, facing the Giudecca canal right in front of the Mulino Stuky. Here you can savour the delights of Venetian cuisine presented with refinement and attention to detail, in a balance between tradition and innovation. Monica and Luca, the young owners, invite you to savor their specialties on the splendid terrace (seating for 50) at the Zattere from the very first sunny days of January Closed Monday Average price € 35.00 – 45.00 (excluding wine and drinks)

Address Dorsoduro 1473, Zattere Venice tel 041 5227621 fax 041 2447722

Ristorante Le Testiere

Bruno and Luca have been friends for years, sharing a love of good cooking and fine wine. After working in various historic restaurants in the city, Bruno set up the osteria in 1993 and Luca soon joined him. The antipasti, first and second courses are all exclusively of the freshest fish, preferably local, prepared with a dash of creativity and an eye to tradition. The use of spices and aromatic herbs from the lagoon islands and the littoral recall the ancient recipes of the Serenissima while also adding a touch of modernity. The sweets are all made on the premises with simple but tasty ingredients. The wine list offers about a hundred labels, mainly from small local winemakers. The menu changes several times … a day, so is spoken, immediately creating a magical synergy between host and guest. There are only 9 tables, which is perhaps the real secret of this small osteria just a few steps from St Mark’s and from Rialto.

Information Closed Sunday and Monday Average price € 45.00 (excluding wine and drinks)

Address Castello 5801 San Lio, Calle del Mondo Novo

Vini da Gigio Paolo and Laura, a brother-sister team, run this refined trattoria as if they've invited you to dinner in their home, while keeping the service professional. Deservedly popular with Venetians and visitors alike, it's one of the best values in the city. Indulge in pastas such as rigatoni with duck sauce and arugula-stuffed ravioli. Fish is well represented—try the sesame-encrusted tuna—but the meat dishes steal the show. The steak with red-pepper sauce and the tagliata di agnello (sautéed lamb fillet with a light, crusty coating) are both superb, and you'll never enjoy a better fegato alla veneziana (Venetian-style liver with onions). This is a place for wine connoisseurs, as the cellar is one of the best in the city. Come at lunch or for the second sitting in the evening, to avoid being rushed

Address: Fondamenta San Felice, Cannaregio 3628/A, Venice, 30121 | Map It Phone: 041/5285140 Website: www.vinidagigio.com Vaporetto: Vaporetto: Ca' d'Oro. Location: Cannaregio

Corte Sconta

The Corte Sconta is now an important point of reference on the Venetian restaurant scene. Quality and freshness are ensured by using strictly seasonal products, attentively served in a space more geared to function than to form. Try the antipasti, from clams with ginger, with gorgonzola or on their own, to baccalà mantecato and sardines in saor; savour the lightness of our own pasta made fresh daily combined with seafood and vegetables delivered every day; don’t miss the lightest, crunchiest mixed fried fish, and don’t forget the sweets (real temptations). Accompanied by a wine chosen from our interesting wine list, with limited mark-up, the entire meal will offer you a pleasant memory and another reason for coming back to Venice.

Information Closed Sunday and Monday Average price € 60.00 (excluding wine and drinks)

Address Castello 3886, Calle del Pestrin (Arsenale) Venice tel 041 5227024 fax 041 5227513

Anice Stellato

Anice Stellato sits as the Al Timon on a very nice canal in Cannaregio. Tops on my list of Venice fish restaurants is L'Anice Stellato in the Cannaregio on Fondamente de la Sensa. Using spices more familiar on far Eastern menus (Anice Stellato means "star anice" a major component of five-spice powder), the chef manages to bring the flavors together in a way that brings home the idea that you're sitting upon the western edge of a major old eastern trade route.

Anice Stellato Fondamenta de la Sensa, Cannaregio 3272 Venice, Italy Closed Mondays and Tuesdays Telephone: (+39) 041 720 744

Al Timon Nice, busy and trendy place on a canal in the Cannaregio area. For me due to prices and style does not qualify as a traditional Bacaro but more as a trendy restaurant. At the same time do not expect a formal restaurant! Food and Wine are good, and you are right on the water!

Fondamenta Ormesini | 2754, 30121 Venice, Italy

Trattoria Altanella

President François Mitterrand of France used to eat here whenever he was in Venice. But the real draw at this sweet and cozy trattoria, which has been in the same family for 104 years, is the delicious homemade gnocchi, served with tomatoes or nero di sepia (squid ink). Address Calle delle Erbe, 268, Giudecca, Venice, 30133 Phone 39-041-522-7780 Cuisine Venetian Seafood Price Average meal per person 40€ ($51) without wine

La Zucca

This alternative trattoria in San Polo (5) has been going for years, but time has eroded none of its charm, value for money, or culinary bravura. The interior, with its slanted oak panneling, comes on a little like a designer Alpine chalet, but the bottle-lined shelves and paper placemats are pure Venetian bacaro. Unusually for Venice, the menu features as much meat and game as fish, and it also includes several vegetarian options, such as the sformato (a pastry-less quiche) of potatoes and broccoli with smoked ricotta. Service is laid-back but friendly. The few outside tables are sought-after.

Address: Santa Croce 1762, Ponte del Megio. Contact: 041 524 1570; www.lazucca.itPrices: €35 a head with house wine. Opening times: Mon-Sat, 12.30-2.30pm, 7pm-10.30pm. Closed Sun. Reservations: Recommended. Payment type: Cards accepted.

£££ Restaurants

Gran Caffè Quadri

Marcel Proust used to bring his mother to Quadri (2) for lunch, and the French wordsmith would no doubt feel quite at home today in these classically plush surroundings, with their extraordinary view over St Mark’s Square. Since the recent advent of the Alajmo brothers from Padua, however, Proust might be surprised at what he found on the plate.

Address: 121 San Marco, Piazza San Marco. Contact: 00 39 041 522 2105, www.caffequadri.itPrices: Expect to pay at least €150 a head for three courses, without wine. Opening times: 12.30-2.30pm, 7.30-10.30pm Tue-Sun. Closed Mon. Reservations: Essential. Payment type: Cards accepted

Osteria di Santa Marina

Wherea beer costs more or less 18 but where the quality of food and service is reliably high, whether you are a regular or just passing through. On a pretty square a short wiggle north of the Rialto, the Osteria does what might be described as “Creative Venetian” cuisine (sea bass ravioli in mussel and clam broth ) – nothing too fancy, but with an edge of refinement that lifts it well above the uninspiring Venetian norm. The outside tables are lovely, but on sticky summer days the air-conditioned interior can be a better option.

Address: Castello 5911, Campo di Santa Marina. Contact: 041 528 5239 Prices: €70/90 a head with a decent bottle. Opening times: Mon, 8pm-11pm; Tue-Sat, noon-2.30pm, 8pm-11pm. Closed Sunday. Reservations: Recommended. Payment type: Cards accepted.

OUTSIDE VENICE

The Al Gatto Nero restaurant was opened in 1965 when the current owner, Ruggero Bovo, took over an old, popular osteria on the island of Burano. Ruggero and his wife, Lucia, then gradually transformed the old meeting place into a restaurant recommended by the most authoritative restaurant guides, presenting simple dishes but with a focus on quality and local lagoon products. The wine list is entrusted to their son Massimiliano, who has created a fine selection of wines to magnificently accompany every dish.

Information Closed on Moday Average price € 40.00 – 60.00 (excluding wine and drinks)

Address Via Giudecca 88, Burano Venezia tel 041 730120 fax 041 735570

The Befana in Venice by Marco Secchi

Every child of Italian heritage has heard of La Befana, a character in Italian folklore who delivers presents to children throughout Italy. It is believed that the legend of La Befana may have originated in Rome, then spread as a tradition to the rest of Italy.Some believe her name is derived from the word Epiphany, but others say La Befana descended Roman goddess named Strina.

In folklore, Befana visits all the children of Italy on the eve of the 6th of January (the Epiphany) to fill their socks with candy and presents if they are good or a lump of coal or dark candy if they are bad. Because she is a good housekeeper, she will sweep the floor before she leaves. The child's family typically leaves a small glass of wine and a plate with a few morsels of food for La Befana.She is usually portrayed as an old lady riding a broomstick through the air wearing a black shawl and is covered in soot because she enters the children's houses through the chimney. She is often smiling and carries a bag or hamper filled with candy, gifts, or both.

Christian legend has it that La Befana was approached by the magi (the biblical three kings) a few days before Christ's birth. They asked for directions to where the baby Jesus was, but she did not know. She provided them with shelter for a night, as she was considered the best housekeeper in the village with the most pleasant home. They invited her to join them on the journey to find the baby Jesus, but she declined, stating she was too busy with her housework. Later, La Befana had a change of heart, and tried to search out the astrologers and Jesus. That night she was not able to find them, so to this day, La Befana is searching for the baby Jesus. She leaves all the good children toys and candy, while the bad children get coal or bags of ashes.

Venice  Regata della Befana at Arzana..***Agreed Fee's Apply To All Image Use***.Marco Secchi /Xianpix.tel +44 (0)207 1939846.tel +39 02 400 47313. e-mail sales@xianpix.com.www.marcosecchi.com (Marco Secchi)

Another Christian legend takes a slightly darker tone. La Befana was an ordinary woman with a child whom she greatly loved. However, her child died, and her grief maddened her. Upon hearing news of Jesus' birth, she set out to see him, delusional that he was her son. She eventually met Jesus and presented him with gifts to make him happy. The infant Jesus was delighted, and he gave La Befana a gift in return; she would be the mother of every child in Italy.

Italians believe that if one sees La Befana one will receive a thump from her broomstick because she doesn't wish to be seen. This aspect of the tradition may be designed to keep children in their beds while parents are distributing candy (or coal) and sweeping the floor on Epiphany Eve.

Traditionally, all Italian children may expect to find a lump of "coal" in their stockings (actually rock candy made black with caramel coloring), as every child has been at least occasionally bad during the year.

How to Find an Address in Venice by Marco Secchi

Italy's Venice is a city with many sights to see, but finding these sights can be difficult if you're not familiar with the town's address system. The city was built to make sense to those using the canals, not those on foot. You're bound to get lost at least once as you wander the streets searching for hidden gems of the city.

A map may tell you the name of alleys and squares, but a typical Venetian address is simply: San Marco 1323. Venice is split into districts called sestieri, and each building in a sestiere is numbered in one long consecutive sequence. Venice's random and informal street names are not officially part of an address, although many businesses will helpfully provide one. To pin-point a location therefore, you don't just need the brief official address, you also need a street/square name and also some helpful geographical pointer, e.g. a nearby church.

Even street names are far from straightforward. Most have evolved to describe an established location and mean descriptive things like 'Alley of the carpenters' or 'Courtyard with a well'. Consequently there are often several places with the same or similar names. If you are locating a street, you will require the name of the sestiere as well (what's more, sometimes there is more than one place with the same name in one sestiere). And even armed with official address, and street name, your task still isn't simple.

The next confusion is that sometimes one place may have more than one name. Even one name may have different versions - many streets in Venice are known both by their dialect name and by the Italianised version. Either of these may appear on maps. This is why you'll see many variations of placenames such as Fondamenta Nove (even throughout this website).

Streetsigns are not always easy to spot in narrow lanes. They may offer one or more variations on the name (o means 'or'), and they are often joined on the walls by signs identifying the parish (parocchia) and any adjacent canal (rio) or bridge (ponte).

If you're spending a long time in Venice or are just very interested in the city's structure, there is a good book called Calli, Campielli e Canali which provides extremely large scale street plans, along with property numbers. It covers Venice and the lagoon islands, and enables you to locate any address in the city, as well as providing some background information in Italian and English on landmarks and principal buildings. You can buy it in most bookshops in Venice. Sadly, it's rather too bulky to carry around as you explore.

What the names mean

Here are some of the most common titles for places in Venice: Calle - a lane or alley Campo - public open space (irregularly-shaped and less formal than a 'piazza'). Campo means field, and once these were rough-surfaced in earth or grass, and used for burials. They are still the hubs of their neighbourhoods. Campiello - a small square or courtyard. Corte - courtyard. Fondamenta - canalside walkway. Piazza - public square. There is only one in Venice, Piazza San Marco. Ponte - bridge. Piscina - filled-in pool of water. Ruga - significant lane, generally one which used to contain shops. Ramo - branch off a more important thoroughfare, whose name it takes. Rio - canal. Rio terrà or terà - filled-in canal, now a street. Salizzada - name given to the earliest streets to be paved. Sottoportego - covered passage under a building, often leading only to water.

Navigating Venice - theories, routes and landmarks

You can spend many idle moments in Venice evolving navigational theories. Landmarks are all-important, both major ones and private reminders. Routes between significant points are learned this way: e.g. ' left by the greengrocers, straight over the square with a tree in it, down the lane between the red house and the yellow house, left past the Renaissance doorway'. Even if you're the sort of person who has an excellent sense of direction, you'll still find that concentrating on a chain of landmarks is more effective in Venice than working from a mental map. If you're arriving for the first time and finding your hotel, make sure they give you simple, descriptive directions. Once you've found your base, memorise the route to the nearest major landmark or street (one that's marked on your map) - then you'll be able to find your way back. While route-finding and consulting maps, do bear in mind the Venetian rules of conduct; walk on the right and don't block streets.

There are certain through-routes in Venice - chains of lanes linking places together. At busy times of the day you'll see locals filing along these tortuous routes, striding down seeming dead-end alleys and darting around sharp corners. After a while you learn those of use to you, and create your own mental database of Venetian routes.

The only destinations signposted at all consistently are St. Mark's (San Marco), the Rialto, the railway station (Ferrovia) and the bus terminus (Piazzale Roma). Even these painted signs do sometimes falter, but generally they are reliable and can help you to head in the right direction. The ones to San Marco are the most suspect, as some signposted lanes can take you a long way round (something to do with shopkeepers wanting passing trade, perhaps?).

My Favorite Maps are here

20 Things to do in Venice - 14/20 Getting Lost in Venice by Marco Secchi

Sign to San Marco and Rialto
Sign to San Marco and Rialto

There is nothing, I repeat nothing, that is as important when you’re visiting Venice than just wandering aimlessly through its streets and alleys. If you only had 3-4 hours in the city, I’d recommend that you do this before you set foot inside a single museum or attraction – it’s that critical to enjoying your visit. By wandering (especially if you point yourself in the exact opposite of the direction where the herd is going) you can find Venice’s many charming and often-empty squares and streets, which goes a long way toward helping you appreciate the city. I’d almost say you could ignore basically everything else on this list and just stroll around without a map… But although I might not go that far (again, unless you’ve only got 4 hours or less), I do consider the sentence “get lost in Venice” an order, not a suggestion.

But really, the point of Venice – for me, anyway – is to wander its maze-like alleyways and bridges, getting thoroughly lost and then finding your way back to something familiar. It’s about accidentally finding a gondola workshop where the men are working their lathes into the groove of the boats outside in the sun. It’s about seeing a market boat (rather than a brick-and-mortar store) selling Venice’s few residents their vegetables and fish. And it’s quite a challenge to do any of that in a day-trip, or by staying close to the Piazza San Marco.

Fondaco Benetton or dei Tedeschi by Marco Secchi

Former trading house of the German merchants

If you look along the canal from the Rialto Bridge, you will see the remarkable Fondaco dei Tedeschi on the right-hand side. The trading house was built in 1228 and is one of the oldest buildings in Venice.

 (Marco Secchi)

The building in its present form dates from the 16th century and was built entirely according to the Venetian architectural tradition. Even from a distance you can see the five large gates at the canal side which allowed merchant ships to be loaded and unloaded easily. The 4-floor building contains some 160 rooms – including 80 bedrooms and numerous magazines. It is perfectly designed for its function as a trading house on the Rialto. Unfortunately, only fragments survive from the magnificent facade which was once decorated with frescoes by Giorgione and Titian. It used to house the General Post Office of Venice. Now sold (once again ) to the Benetton Family this is the proposed transformation...

Does Venice really need a new departments store...?? Does it really need such a transformation on an iconic building?

20 Great Things to do in Venice 13/20 – Eat seafood you've never seen before by Marco Secchi

Images from Venice  - Fotografie di Venezia...***Agreed Fee's Apply To All Image Use***.Marco Secchi /Xianpix.tel +44 (0)207 1939846.tel +39 02 400 47313. e-mail sales@xianpix.com.www.marcosecchi.com (Marco Secchi)The lagoon city has a long and glorious culinary tradition based on fresh seafood. A writhing, glistening variety of sea creatures swims from the stalls of the Rialto and Chioggia markets into local kitchens. Going with the flow of la cucina veneta requires a certain spirit of open minded experimentation. Not everybody has eaten granseola (spider crab) before, or garusoli (sea snails) or canoce (mantis shrimps), but Venice is definitely the place to try these marine curios.

20 Great Things to do in Venice 12/20 – Tour of Venice by Marco Secchi

A Venice tour has been a sought-after experience since the golden age of travel, when people set off on Grand Tours of the European continent. Its lasting allure is a testament to just how unique and unforgettable Venice is - as you look for a Venice tour to suit you, make sure it includes these elements:In addition to providing a deeper experience of the most famous sights, allows you to relax and enjoy your surroundings without the stress of needing to arrange all the varied elements of your trip. And in a city as labyrinthine as Venice, it can help to have a little added guidance so that exploring on your own is truly a pleasant experience.VENICE, ITALY - DECEMBER 17: Gondolas covered with snow rest in Bacino Orseolo on December 17, 2010 in Venice, Italy. Snow has fallen across much of Europe today and is expected to continue over the weekend, causing traffic chaos and disrupting Christmas deliveries. (Marco Secchi)* Art. Venice is a work of art in its own right, but the visual delights ensconced within the city's many museums should not be missed. You'll find plenty of classical treasures, as in the collection at the palazzo Ca'Rezzonico, but the Venetian art scene is as welcoming to modernity as it is to classicism - as evidenced by the Venice Biennale festival. A Venice Tour allows you to see works that run the gamut of styles and periods in the famous Peggy Guggenheim collection.

* Architecture. The fading grandeur of Venice's canal houses makes for an intriguing atmosphere everywhere you go in the city, but there are also some standout structures that shouldn't be missed. Perhaps foremost among them is the Basilica di San Marco, which is beautiful outside and nothing short of breathtaking inside. San Marco's glittering Byzantine mosaics bring Venice's history to life in stunning visuals. Also on the docket should be the legendary Bridge of Sighs and the marble halls of the Scuola Grand di San Rocco, decorated by one of Venice's most famous residents, Tintoretto.

* Wine. Italy and wine production are inextricably linked - and for good reason. On your Venice tour, you have a unique opportunity to taste the lighter side (in color, not taste) of Italy's wines. Tauck's Culturious experience takes you to visit makers of pinot grigio, Prosecco and grappa in the Veneto region, giving you insight into the cultivation, production and enjoyment of these white-grape-based beverages.

* Food. The food culture of Italy is incredibly varied and often fiercely regional. A well-planned Venice tour takes you to exceptional trattorias and cafes where the splendors of Venetian cuisine - particularly its seafood - are yours for the tasting. And don't miss the opportunity to stroll through the city's fresh food markets to see the quality and diversity of ingredients used in local dishes.

One of the Tour I recommend is here

Bigoli in Salsa by Marco Secchi

For this dish, the pasta is all important. Originally made with duck eggs and buckwheat flour (these days, wholewheat flour and chicken eggs), Why is the pasta so important? Every pasta in Italy is shaped to serve a purpose, and in this case the pasta has a spaghetti-like length Final Touches Are Put  To Boats And Costumes A...and shape, but with a coarse rather than smooth exterior. The texture of this pasta allows more sauce to ‘stick’ to the pasta, so the pasta is generally used when you have a pasta sauce with a gravy-like consistency.The following recipe come from Vini da Gigio ....but this is another story....

Ingredients (serves 2) 250g Bigoli pasta 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 8 anchovy fillets or Sarde 1 medium red onion, chopped finely 1 good bunch of Italian parsley, chopped finely Salt and pepper

Directions 1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil for the pasta. Add a tablespoon of good salt. 2. In a large sauté pan over low-medium heat, add the olive oil, the anchovies and the onion. 3. Stir the mix, helping to break down the anchovies. This should take around 10 minutes. 4. When you have a thick gravy, the sauce is ready, so put your pasta on. 5. When the pasta is al dente, drain it and add it to the sauce. Mix through most of the parsley and serve. Add a little parsley on top to make it pretty. Season and add more olive oil if you wish and enjoy with a medium to full bodied white wine.

20 Great Things to do in Venice 9/20 – Tour the Lagoon by Marco Secchi

If you're spending more than a few days in Venice, take time to visit the islands of the Venetian Lagoon. Explore the famous islands of  - Murano, Burano and Torcello - on a half-day or full day excursion. You'll see  glass-blowing display on Murano, shop for lace on Burano, be lost in the wonderful colours of Burano and visit Venice's first church on the tranquil island of Torcello. This tour is a great introduction to the magical islands of the Venetian lagoonBurano Venice  Colours and lights of Burano...HOW TO LICENCE THIS PICTURE: please contact us via e-mail at sales@xianpix.com or call our offices in Milan at (+39) 02 400 47313 or London   +44 (0)207 1939846 for prices and terms of copyright. First Use Only ,Editorial Use Only, All repros payable, No Archiving.© MARCO SECCHI (Marco Secchi)

You'll reach the islands on water buses operated by ACTV, the Venice public-transportation company best place will be from Fte Nove. Allow a full day for the entire excursion, or half a day if you skip one of them.

ACTV's lagoon water buses can be crowded during peak season, on weekends, or if local groups of senior citizens or schoolchildren are travelling between the islands. If crowds bother you, or if you're unwilling to stand on a moving boat when seats aren't available, consider one of these alternatives:

  • Take an escorted tour of Murano, Burano, and Torcello. This half-day tour is more expensive than a tour by public transportation, but it's worth considering if your schedule is tighter than your budget. The trip is offered by Viator, our sightseeing-tour partner.
  • Hire a water taxi by the half-day or day, which could easily cost several hundred euros. If you want the services of a private guide, try a customized lagoon itinerary from WalksInsideVenice or the Venice Tourist Guides Association and let the guide arrange transportation.

Tips:

  • Organized tours don't give you much time on the islands, so we'd recommend traveling independently unless you're in a hurry or have limited mobility.
  • Instead of buying individual tickets for the boat trips between the islands, buy a 12-hour to 7-day  tourist card at any Hellovenezia or ACTV ticket booth. (See our Vaporetto Fares article.) Or order the tourist office's Venice Connected pass before you leave home, if you can figure out the byzantine pricing scheme.
  •  If you have access to the Internet during your trip, you can check boat schedules at the official ACTV Web site.