Written by – GIUSEPPE ORIGO

Translated by – CHIARA SCARFO’

Venice is proclaimed (and according to traditions) “the most beautiful city in the world”: a real miracle of engineering and architecture, artistic and historic center globally renowned, divine nest for lovers from all over the world and, last but not least, stimulating and fulfilling destination for every food and wine enthusiast’s stomach and palate.

Nevertheless, the “Serenissima” has her own dark side of the moon (and actually more than one): it’s expensive, too touristy, chaotic, difficult to visit because it’s twisted, populated by crooks who are eager to take advantage of unprepared tourists.

In the next few lines I’ll try to get to the heart of the matter without being too rhetorical or long-whined to give you some ideas and tricks to survive a brief (or better yet, long enough) stay and enjoy it as much as possible.

.

Duration of the stay: I’m not rich and I guess you aren’t either (considering that most of the readers of our magazine are young, if that’s not the case contact me at redazione@revolart.it so that we can make a deal about a bank transfer that supports your favorite portal), for the most part the trip to Venice was a gift for my lady: surely the idea got me the prize for originality (no, maybe not…), but in a nutshell I had to pay double for journey, accommodation and survival. In particular you’ll find the last one the heaviest on your balance sheet. But don’t give up hope: 3 days (provided that the first day you arrive early and the last one you leave after 6 pm) are more than enough to explore the city, enjoy its most important attractions, and have a little bit of time to chill out (KEY experience for any trip in my opinion).

.

TIP – The last day go to the station early in the morning and leave your baggage in the depository (you’ll get by spending 6 or 8 € for the whole day and you’ll avoid the trouble to go back to the hotel before you take the train).

.

Where to stay? Avoid searching for a hotel in the city (unless you are the famous tycoons I was talking about before) if you do not have nice kidneys or virgin sisters to sell. Typically, people search an accommodation in Mestre, with halved prices and connection to Venice with “dummy-approved” seal: with the train you leave from the station in Piazza Favretti and in 10/15 minutes top you’ll be in Venezia Santa Lucia (the prize is 1.20 € but valuable advice is not to buy them in the station’s ticket booth; instead go to the newsstands or tobacco shops, located inside and nearby the station, or to the ticket vending machines so that you will avoid useless lines).

Another efficient alternative that I want to suggest for the accommodation is searching for a place in the Lido di Venezia, a big island located in the lagoon in front of the city, reachable in 25/30 minutes by steamboat. Here the prices are the same ones you would find in Mestre (I recommend to consider the comfortable and convenient Reiter Hotel http://www.hotelreiter.com/) but with two significant advantages: first one is that the Lido is a nice and quiet place, with wonderful Liberty houses and excellent sea restaurants (I advise the Trattoria Africa: little expend for a great outcome, really fresh fish and humongous servings); the second one is that, to arrive at Venice, in the morning, it’s a lot better to take a suggestive boat ride and look at the lagoon while arriving directly in Piazza San Marco than to be stuck in laminated suppository on rails and reach the station.

Hostels? Well… it’s better to search a house on Airbnb (https://www.airbnb.it) and cross your fingers… but don’t be scared because this portal saved more than one of my trips!

.

Moving around the city: as soon as you leave the station look to your left and you’ll see a little white container that is the tourist information center: go there IMMIDIATELY and ignore everybody else that, during the short way, offers to be your driver/stretcher-bearer/mobility’s savior. Ask for information at the desk so that you can be directed to the most practical solution depending on the duration of your stay. TIP – for a 3-day stay (for young people and students) there is a pass for public transport and steamboats at the moderate price of 28 €: it’s really convenient and it’s valid for every mean of urban and public transport (from the steamboats to the infrequent buses).

.

What to visit no matter what: I’ll repeat myself saying that the best way to visit Venice is to get lost in it. Although some destinations are important to visit regardless of anything else, because skipping them would mean going home with irreconcilable regret.

.

  • Peggy Guggenheim Collection[Dorsoduro]: The Peggy Guggenheim Collection location houses the personal art collection of Peggy Guggenheim (1898–1979), ex-wife of the artist Max Ernst and nephew of the tycoon Salomon R. Guggenheim. The palace was actually residence of the famous collector. A collection that might be one of my favorites worldwide articulated with surprising agility and grace from the American Modernism to the Italian Futurism, from the most famous cubism (Picasso just to mention one) to surrealism, abstract expressionism and pure abstract. An actual rain of incredible works: Picasso, Salvador Dalí, René Magritte, Brâncuși, Vasily Kandinsky, Marcel Duchamp, Marc Chagall, Umberto Boccioni, William Congdon, Conrad Marca-Relli e Jackson Pollock, Lucio Fontana, Afro Basaldella and many others. The contrasting division between the artistic avant-garde from the 20th century and a city that has mostly remained unchanged in the last 500 years makes this destination a real dream that occasionally results incredible. Honorable mention for the garden, that is a great setting for a moment of relax and reflection (or a cigarette break, that is another excellent option) and, be sure to check out the temporary exhibitions because they often reserve good surprises (currently ongoing, until the 19th September, Imagine, of which you can read here http://www.guggenheim-venice.it/exhibitions/imagine/imagine.html).
PEGGY GUGGENHEIM COLLECTION, VENEZIA - 2010 SPAZI MUSEALI INTERNI

PEGGY GUGGENHEIM COLLECTION, VENEZIA – 2010

  • Gallerie dell’Accademia[Campo della Carità]: it’s absolutely worth it if you spend an afternoon to take a look on the most complete and breathtaking collection of Venetian art (from XIV to XVIII century) of the world. After an immersion in the sacred icons, form of art that, personally, I’ve always loved, you are literally thrown into a journey through the works of Giorgione, Tintoretto, Tiziano, Bellini, Veronese e Carpaccio: a concentration not only of art but not also the history of the Serenissima. A set-up of exquisite and experienced workmanship installed in the incredible rooms in the Santa Maria della Carità complex (that since 1750 hosts the Accademia). It’s free for the students, a little bit pricey (15€, but it’s worth the price) for everybody else.

  • San Marco – the Cathedral, adjacent to the Palazzo Ducale (that is worth a visit), was completed in 1617. A unique architecture in the overview of the Italian sacred, closer to byzantine forms (similar to those we find in the Ravenna area) more than to the Italian regulation of the sacred (either Romanesque or Gothic). A masterpiece of architecture and mosaic (these will leave you literally speechless once you access inside). The expense of 5€ is worth to visit the Loggia dei Cavalli; you will understand why just after you’ll be up there and look at the amazing view of the piazza. TIP – make sure to be there by 8:30 am and don’t be discouraged if you find a large group of Japanese people already in line.
v1

San Marco

 

 

  • The Islands You will reach them with a regular steamboat, leaving from Piazza San Marco. Murano is a little bit boring but it is worth a 20-minute visit to observe the glass-blowing process. And that’s it. Burano, on the other hand, is a lot nicer: the refined little houses and the lively streets are the perfect setting for beautiful photos and a quiet walk. Forget about eating a decent meal there, just wait until you’re back in the city. The lace… is just lace, who cares?

 

Burano

Burano

 —

  • The Ghettothis may be one of the best areas to get lost into, in fact it was the first Jewish ghetto in Europe, it’s located in the Sestriere (the quarters in which Venice is divided) di Cannareggio and it’s the place where the Jewish community is based. You’ll also find some nice cafes or bacari (Venetian inns), but probably the most pleasant will be the possibility to have a quiet stroll in a place with less chaos and tourists. It’s close to the station so you should visit it the afternoon of your last day.

Eating and drinking: In Venice you eat and drink really well, with just some precautions (if you want to avoid the money drain). DON’T SEAT, unless you find it really necessary, not even for a coffee (At the historic Caffè Vergnano, near to the Rialto, I paid 8€ for two coffees, they had a little bit of whipped cream on top and drank in a characteristic environment… but it’s still 8€ for two blasted coffees) but take the perspective to eat on the go: that’s the only way you’ll be able to taste the best things the Serenissima has to offer, that is bacari and tramezzino sandwiches.

Bacari: they are definitely the quintessence of the unbridled desires. You will find bacari in every city street, you’ll just have to ask. They’re nothing more than a bar that offers Spritz (at ridiculous prices, between 2€ and 4€ and still excellent) and “ombre di vino” (small glasses of wine of the house, trust that they are good, costing from 1€ to 2.50€) accompanied by some cicchetti. Cicchetti are the food of the gods: white or black bread canapes covered with everything you can think of (the typical one, that I suggest wholeheartedly, is the one with creamed salted codfish). TIP – Don’t be worried about not eating regularly following the meal’s hours but allow yourselves the luxury to transform your experience in Venice in an actual tour of bacari and cicchetterie (places where you can eat cicchetti) in which you’ll be able to try everything, stopping to every single one you’ll encounter during your way: you won’t regret it! At this point let me recommend the bacari I preferred:

  • Osteria al Squero[Via Trovaso, near to the Gallerie dell’Accademia]: it’s my absolute favorite considering the variety and the goodness of the cicchetti (they change every day and each one costs 1.20€) and the quality of the Spritz (even if this one is slightly more expensive than the one made in the near Al Bottegon). Go in, take something to drink (either a Spritz or some wine) and choose many cicchetti, then you eat sitting alongside of the canal. I suggest to privilege the fish, but everything is good so let your imagination guide you.
  • Al Bottegon [a few steps away from the Osteria al Squero]: I noticed that Venetian prefer this one to the one close by. To be honest, if I have to think about it extensively, I’m not sure… Here the Spritz is less expensive and the wine’s variety is wider but, culinary speaking, I preferred the other one. Anyways, nothing must be taken away from merit: even here the quality and the variety run the show, so I suggest to go to both of them, since they are so close to each other.
  • Bacareto da Lele[Campo dei Tolentini 183]: A Venetian institution and meeting point for young people and students. Ombre di vino for 0,60€ and sandwiches (dozens of different ones) for 1€: it’s the land of milk and honey!
  • Vino Vero[Fondamenta della Misericordia]: if it wasn’t for the fact that they play dirty with the fusion between Venetian and Tuscan cuisine, it’s probably this one that would get the prize for the best cicchetti. Incredibly great, disarming quality of cicchetti of insurmountable quality (divided in meat, fish and vegetarian). I highly recommend to try as many different types as you can, in particular when you can tell the difference of culinary realities (taste the one with chopped livers, you’ll find yourselves crying with joy). If you are unsure about the combination with the right wine glass, ask to the polite barmaid: she will enlighten you with her knowledge.
  • Osteria Bancogiro[Campo San Giacometto]: behind the Rialto and next to the already mentioned (and exorbitant) Caffè Vergnano. Do you want to play safe? A glass of Prosecco and raw scampi (2,50€ to taste the sea).
dav

Raw Scampi and Spritz (but with Prosecco is a whole another story)

 —

HONORABLE MENTION FOR THE BEST TRAMEZZINO IN VENICE (AND PROBABLY IN THE WORLD): Bar Alla Toletta [Dorsoduro, always close by to the Accademia, near to Al Squero and Al Bottegon] – welcome to the temple of the tramezzino! But, wait a second, what is a tramezzino? Don’t think that you know it, because in Venice the concept of tramezzino is very different meaning to the scarce sandwich that we dare to call with the same name: an actual heap of stuffing and seasoning around which two thin slices of white bread have only the purpose of nuclear membrane, existing just to keep together the nucleus of edible libido. Every flavor you can imagine (I ordered five of them, just to make sure). I advise you to try the one with crab and eggs, the one with creamed salted codfish, the one with horse meat strips, and for the bravest people, the spicy one. Go there and take all the time you need to
eat as much as possible (they only cost 1.50/2€ each: it boggles my mind!)

v3 - Copia

Strengthening of the concept of “tramezzino”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.