To discover Venice, as I said many times, you must get lost in its alleys, small squares, little bridges, get far way from San Marco, of its pigeon battles, tourist hordes.
Just go at random wherever your travel nose guides you, from the small alleyway to the minuscule church only known by the Venetians, to the library where you will meet the "nella ragazza " or "bello uomo" you dreamt such a long time, the café terraces where you will sip on your Italian coffee. Venetians are wonderful guides. Just follow them like I followed Giacomo Flaschi last year.
For breakfast it's the "CAFFE
ABBAZIA", Dorsoduro 128, which is THE place! Take a cappuccino, on the terrace, facing the sun, in front of the lateral façade of the Salute church. You will feel the ONLY inhabitant of Venice at that moment! And on Sunday mornings, as a bonus, the carillon of the Salute.
For your lunch aperitif, I discovered a small restaurant, VINI DA
PINTO, San Polo 367, just next to the Rialto market. Go at noon, when the fish sellers just closed their stalls and come here to have their aperitif, a small white wine and discuss soccer or politics. Sit down INSIDE, since the terrace is invaded by tourists!
BANCOGIRO is to the early vegetables and fruit what the Vini da Pinto is to the fish: "THE rendezvous" of the market professionals. Andrea, the owner, will receive you as his home guests in his small light wooden osteria. Here, everybody discusses with everybody. Standing at the counter or taking your glass and snacks outside. I advise you the "prosecco tocai", a delicious little white wine".
Now let's see for lunch. LA CANTINA would be ideal. It's on Strada Nuova, Cannareggio 3639. Oh, just a quick lunch, "sur le pouce "like they say in French. Antipasti-prosciutto, marinated artichokes, Gorgonzola, Parmesan and other cheeses served with an orange, very strong marmalade. All is served on wooden plates.
And what about teatime? Here is a good one, old fashioned decor like I adore, with young girls coming to buy their ice-creams, cute old ladies with old men, sitting, chatting, sipping their tea or espresso. The name? A L'ANTICO CAFFE ROSSA
SALVA, Castello 6779
In Italy it is often a habit to have a drink before going to dinner.
Before dinner let's have another drink or aperitif. LA CANTINONE GIA
SCHAVI, San Trovaso,
Dorsoduro, 992, is at a stone trhow from the Zattere, the haven for wine amateurs and artists. The owner has the trick to find the best Venetian wines and from 19.00 on, the place packs up as a high-speed train. When weather permits, you can sit on the stairs of the ponte San Trovaso, with your delicious glass of "fragolino" (a wine with a tiny small of strawberries). And you can buy a few bottles too!
Now it's time to go for dinner. Places, almost unknown by tourists, at least that 's what Giacomo pretends.
AL MASCARON, Calle Longha Santa Maria Formosa 5225 tel 0415225995. A typical Venetian trattoria with a rustic décor. Antipasti and desserts in the display window, large black and white pictures of Venice on the walls and long tables packed with Italians. Forget tourists, you won't find them, they don't know the place. The ambience is animated and the food delicious: coquilles saint-Jacques and vegetable antipasti, lobster spaghetti. …..
VINI DA GIGIO, Fondamenta San Felice, Cannareggio, 3628a tel 0415285140, is an address with all qualities. , starting with the waiters who serve you with this indefinable Italian melange of humour and elegance, The cuisine is typical Venetian: grilled calamari with polenta, excellent penne with crab and pumpkin raviolis, but also the best wine carte in Venice.
LA TRATTORIA CORTE SCONTA, calle del Pestrin Castello 3886 tel 0415227024, has the charm and simplicity of her owner, and a beautiful interior courtyard. It's here that the patronne enumerates every day her menus, changing dally, according to the freshness of the arrivals. All pasta are super fresh, home made and the prosecco frizzante comes from a local wine grower.
And why not a very chic restaurant where everything is made by the same family?
LA FIASCHETTERIA, where grand parents, sons and daughters, grand sons and grand daughters help in the kitchen, and where the mother is a wizard in patisseries: tiramisu, sorbetto al limone, honey perfetto, just surrounded by a chocolate fudge. Here is a place I would advise you to reserve!