Italy - Venice soaking it all in - Cicchetti questions?
Jun 13, 11, 9:59 pm
Should I bother with a food tour of Venice or go about it on my own? I don't speak Italian and feel foolish pointing at things. At the same time I want to go where locals eat. Anyone have any suggestions for places to hang out while in Venice and soak it all in?
Jun 14, 11, 10:01 am
I was in Venice for the first time back in March, so here are my thoughts/observations:
- Venice is packed with tourists during the day, so be prepared to deal with other tourists just about anywhere you go in the city.
- Because Venice is so full of tourists, almost everyone speaks English. You shouldn't worry too much about language barriers.
- Your best bet for getting away from the tourists and into more of the "locals" area is to get away from St. Mark's Square and the Rialto Bridge. The closer you are to those areas and the paths between the two, the more touristy it is. The farther away from those areas you are, the more "authentic" your experience will be in my opinion.
- If you are staying in Venice, and not on the mainland, take advantage of the evenings and early mornings after the hoards have headed back to Mestre. It's a totally different city during those times.
We loved Venice. As long as you're prepared for the crowds and have your expectations in line, I think you'll fall in love with the city. I did. It's unlike anywhere else in the world. It's not the same as getting off the beaten path in Tuscany or the Cinque Terre, but it has a feel all its own.
Enjoy your trip!
Jun 20, 11, 3:02 pm
Just returned from Venice and loved it. Would have liked to stayed for a week instead of 3 days. The tour of the Jewish Ghetto was a highlight, if only because of the contrast between it and St. Mark's Square: one area built with love, the other built with the blood of the vanquished. We rented a flat 2 blocks from the Ca'D'oro stop. We bought the 48-hour pass for the vaparetto, but a transportation strike on the #1 killed our use of it.
We did the evening gondole ride and paid the premium for it. Just had to do it and it was worth it. Brought our own wine, bottle opener and glasses. But to your point...we ate 2 dinners about 6 blocks NE of that vaparetto stop and had great luck back in the neighborhoods.
My favorite meal was at Trattoria Storica http://www.trattoriastorica.it/ where I simply feasted. My first course consisted of 3 scallops served half-shell with baked pecorino and Parmesan cheese. That was outrageously fine. The 2nd course was simply to die for and it was my first foodgasm in years. It was thickly-cut slices of sopresso, oven-baked and drizzled with a balsamic glaze. The salt, vinegar and soft fatty bits inherent in the meat richly mixed to make my taste buds dance unexpectedly and elicit a moan of delight, The couple next to us looked askance until I dropped a slice of it on the fellow's plate and practically forced him to eat it. He loved it, too.