On a recent trip to Venice, we caught up with our friend Giorgia, a Master of Wine, and the ideal person to know if you are wanting to extend your knowledge of this unique city - particularly when you can enjoy sampling local wine and ‘cicchetti’ (tapas) at the same time! Giorgia’s walking tours include visiting several ‘bacari’ (wine bars), or more, depending on how much time you have, and how many you want to visit. While walking between the various bars, you will also learn a lot about Venice in terms of its history, and its culinary delights. As someone who has lived in Venice all her life, Giorgia is passionate about sharing her love of the city, and there is very little that she doesn’t know! If you prefer to learn about wine and food from the comfort of your luxury Venice rental apartment, this can also easily be arranged.
It you are staying in Venice for longer than just a few days, you might also like to consider one of her Wine and Food Day Trips in the Veneto area. You can choose the Soave Wine Route which will take you through the Eastern hills of Verona, with its landscape dotted with castles, villas and ancient rural churches. A lunch based on local cuisine will be held in one of the typical restaurants of the area. Alternatively, there is a Prosecco Wine Route, where you can enjoy tastings at family-run small vineyards and, again a delicious lunch, as an introduction to the local specialties here. Or there is a Valpolicella Wine Route, again near Verona, in beautiful countryside of vineyards, cypresses and stone terraces. The historical wine-producing land north-west of Verona is the home of Valpolicella Classico, and a visit here will include lunch in a typical agriturismo. There is also a Collio Wine Route and a Colli Euganei and Riviera del Brenta Wine Route – please check with us for details.
A far too short a visit to the islands of Murano, Burano and Sant Erasmo also whetted out appetite to explore more next time – and again, if you are wanting to learn a lot in a short time, Giorgia is the ideal person to accompany you on one of her boat tours, an excellent way to discover these unique islands, their history, landscape and unique beauty. Murano’s reputation as a centre for glassmaking started in 1291 when the government, fearing the fire threat in a city of wooden buildings, ordered the glassmakers to move their foundries to this small island. It is possible to visit some of these authentic glass factories, and attend a master’s workshop, or simply just to look (and, very probably, be tempted to buy some items too!).
Burano island with its picturesque brightly coloured houses and iconic bell tower, reflected in the green waters of the canals here, and its peaceful ambience, is absolutely enchanting. You will see old ladies still embroidering the original Buranello lace, outside their homes or in the small squares, with balconies overflowing with flowers, while the local fishermen bring in their catch of the day. On the tour, there is also a visit the oldest fishermen cooperative in Europe to learn about the types of fish populating the waters here. The tour also includes a visit to Mariano Fortuny’s private showroom on Burano.
For those who don’t know already (which we didn’t!) Sant’Erasmo island is the second largest island in the Venice Lagoon after the main city of Venice, and the contrast between the two couldn’t be greater. Away from the tourist masses, Sant’Erasmo is a particularly tranquil and atmospheric island lying north of the Lido and around 5 kms north east of Venice, which has been supplying Venetians with fruit and vegetables for centuries. With fertile soil (a mix of sand and clay), vegetable farming is the main activity on the island, and a particular delicacy is apparently its Violet Artichoke, which we also spotted a day later in the Rialto fruit and vegetable market. The island also has many vineyards, and on a tour to Sant’Erasmo you will visit a charming winery that produces a delicious organic white wine. A Sant’Erasmo tour can also include a visit to the organic farm, I Sapori di Sant’Erasmo, where several projects of green tourism are developing. It is possible to purchase produce here to take back to your apartment. After traipsing the crowded streets of the city for several days, a visit to the islands with their authentic charm, and natural, friendly population who remain in touch with nature, is an incredibly therapeutic experience, which we highly recommend.
Recommended (tried and tested!) Bacari:
Enoteca Cantinone ‘Già Schiavi’, Ponte San Trovaso, Dorsoduro
Tel. 041 5230034
A family-run wine shop and bacaro, located just across from a gondola workshop. A really impressive choice of wine and cicchetti, including fresh fish, meats and cheeses, in a busy and friendly atmosphere.
Malvasia all’Adriatico Mar, Calle Crosera, 3771, Dorsoduro
Tel. +39 041 887 8118
Enjoy a glass of organic wine in the small and very friendly Adriatico Mar, either indoors, or on their small terrace. The cicchetti here is always fresh and prepared to order with local ingredients, depending on your tastes.
Recommended Authentic Family Restaurant:
A good find for lunch if you are exploring Dorsoduro, and its conveniently close to the Guggehneim Museum. It is a traditional and very friendly family-run Venetian restaurant, and we loved the delicious fresh pasta and salad, accompanied by a glass of local wine. Very reasonable prices too.
Address: Al Vecio Forner, Campo San Vio Dorsoduro 671/A, 30123, Venice
Tel. +39 041 528 0424
Where to Stay – a few of our favourite luxury apartments to rent:
Ca’Nova 1, 2 bedrooms, 4 people
This beautiful newly renovated apartment is one of three luxury rental apartments in a historic Palazzo, dating back to the 12th century. The Palazzo is exceptionally well-located, opposite the magnificent Baroque church of Santa Maria della Salute and the new Punta della Dogana museum which houses the Pinault contemporary art collection. There are views over the canal directly to the Santa Maria dell Salute from both the living room and master bedroom. apartment has recently been redecorated in a pure, classic Venetian style with a contemporary twist. Original features such as terrazzo floors and polished wooden doors offer the perfect backdrop to a palette inspired by the 18th century frescoes by Tiepolo, with bright splashes of colour in the design details.
Anice, 3 bedrooms, 6 people
Anice is the largest and most spectacular apartment in the historic Palazzo Morosini degli Spezieri in San Polo. The living room, with two french windows with balcony, overlooks the charming canal of St Agostin. Towering ceilings and stylish custom-made Italian furnishings make this apartment particularly special, with the interior design featuring beige walls and white beamed ceilings. A harmonious palette of muted greys and blues is used in the bedrooms to offset the neutral colours. The flooring is terrazzo marble, while furnishings and cushions are in hand-painted fabrics by Fortuny and Rubelli. Ornaments include Murano glass designer vases.
Campo Santa Margherita, 2 bedrooms, 4 people
This elegant and spacious, recently renovated apartment is in the popular Campo Santa Margherita, in the Dorsoduro district of Venice. Situated halfway between the impressive Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa Dei Frari and the Fondamenta Zattere, the promenade which fronts the Giudecca Canal, Campo Santa Margherita is a large piazza, surrounded of houses from the XIV and XV century. It is popular with both locals and tourists , with its bars, restaurants, small shops, and a small vegetable and fish market.
For more information about Giorgia's tours, please contact us.