It’s taken me a week to gather enough courage to face my Venice photos. It’s been a tough week back at work. Well, you know, a day at the spa would be difficult after four magnificent days in Venice. Four days of nothing but blue skies, good food and GE-LA-TO-yeah-BABY.

But I digress. Work hasn’t allowed me any “me time” (um, hi boss! not that I have any me time at work. much.) this week and so now at midnight on Friday night, I’ve finally gotten around to  sorting through the hundreds of photos we took so that I can share some here with you guys.

And now I’m craving gelato.

Anyway, focus. I didn’t know what to expect from Venice. I mean, Panu and I have done enough city trips to know what a city looks (and smells) like, but Venice is just something else all together. Isolated on a tiny island, the entire thing is covered by cobbled pathways and canals. No cars, not even any bikes. Just the pitter patter of tourist feet and lots, lots of gondolas casually drifting up and down the canals.

It’s a fairy tale city. Ancient, breath-taking and possibly very nearly sinking into the ocean. Everything about it is magical, from the way locals hang their colourful laundry out to dry…

… to their adorable door bells. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

And of course there is the age old art of glass blowing…

Venice is a city going under water though; San Marco Square which is bustling during the day flooded one night by the sheer force of the high evening tide.

This isn’t even with rain! I was disproportionately concerned. Disproportionate compared to the little boy who thought it was just The Best Thing In The World and splashed around in the giant puddle.

Anyway, before we left, I sought out the wisdom of the Twitterati for where to eat in Venice. I was inundated with recommendations, all of which I scribbled down because clearly I was going to get through about 18 restaurants in three and a half days. I was particularly keen to try Osteria alla Vedova because it’s heralded as the restaurant which inspired London’s Russell Norman of Polpo, Polpetto and Spuntino… BUT… let me just say right now, I got to like ONE RECOMMENDATION.

I’m sorry y’all who recommended stuff. I had all the intention of going to as many as I could but in the end? I wasn’t after anything fancy. All I wanted was some good pasta in tomato sauce. Ok and a little bit of vongole.

The one restaurant we managed to get to was Osteria Vecio Fritolin, recommended to me as having the best frito mista in all of Venice.

I like me a little fried stuff, and it was good. Light, unoily and super tasty. I also looked for the simplest pasta dish they had (because I was still craving pasta in tomato sauce) but their simplest dish was saffron spaghetti with zucchini & zucchini flowers. Pretty. And tasty.

But somehow when you want nasty simple pasta, that’s all you want.

frito mista served with polenta

saffron spaghetti with zucchini & zucchini flowers

fancy tiramisu

So before hitting up any of the remaining recommendations, I decided to take advantage of our hotel’s free wifi – by the way we loved our hotel. It had a private dock from the canal and our room opened onto our own terrace! – and check out the recs. Most of them were fancy Italian food and as much as I love that, I also wanted JUSTPLAINSIMPLEPASTA and so we decided to wander and eat at places which we thought looked good.

I know this is risky practice in a tourist trap like Venice, but we hit two jackpots!

The first was Osteria de Alberto, which we wandered past on Saturday night and vowed to come back to for lunch on Sunday.

Cosy and rustic and just inviting, I couldn’t wait to go back and it was totally worth it. And they also make good fried stuff! Incidentally, the linguilini al pesto was so fracking good I could have eaten three more of the same.

frittura di pesce

linguilini al pesto

coffee & Italian biscuits

Our other little find was Osteria Trattoria al  Nono Risorto. Another one which we wandered past – when? Friday night? I can’t remember – and the outdoor dining garden just screamed out to me. There is no better way to wile away a warm Italian evening.

This is where we had the best pizza diavola of the weekend (and we had a number of them) and also that amazing spaghetti con vongole e cozze at the very top of this post. Does that make you drool or what?

mozzarella & tomato

pizza diavola

spaghetti amatriciana

How do the Italians do al dente so perfectly?!

Ok, one last place I feel like I need to share with you guys is completely random, but don’t write it off! They say that eating near San Marco is a rip off right? But NO! We found this awesome little bar-sandwich-joint thing Bar Al Campanile and we actually ate something from here every single day, I shit you not, it was that good.

We were initially drawn in by these big fat luscious looking wraps that they had in their window, and bought one for a snack on our first day. Well, were we surprised. These are no ordinary wraps. They’re actually rolled up in pizza dough and spread with a pizza base sauce. So basically, it’s like A Rolled Up Slice Of PIZZA! YUM!!

Seriously this was probably the best thing I ate all weekend. And at €4.50, bargain.

Ok, I need to start wrapping this post up. But first, gelato. There is gelato everywhere in Venice. I’d read recommendations for a place called Grom, but they’re one of those places who keep their gelato covered so you can’t see it. What’s up with that? I like to see my gelato. But anyway, there’s certainly no lack of gelato from places where you can actually see what you’re buying.

Oh man, I wore the same thing every day.

Did we eat anything bad? Yeah, there was this one thing 😉 We noticed that the Venetians had a penchant for putting as much green colouring as humanly possibly into pistachio cookies, and set out to find the more radioactively green one we could find. Found one! It tasted awful.

Anyway, I have lots more to share but I think I’ll leave it there. Venice is seriously a gorgeous city, it doesn’t stink like everyone said it would – well, maybe don’t go in the height of summer and you’ll be mesmerised by its romance and beauty. And while you’re there, don’t forget to try a spritz, the official cocktail of Venice.


20 Thoughts on “Venice, Italy: fairy tale, breath taking & delicious

  1. Ngawww… You’re making me want to go back to Venice now! We went back in 2009 and I was super hyped up for it because it was one of the cities I was dying to see (I have a love for venetian masks you see). But sadly we were kind of disappointed 🙁 but I’d so go back still with a different game plan.

    I had the BEST cannoli here, can’t remember too well where it was but it was so good!

    We didn’t have the best food here (or in Italy as a matter of fact – that’s so sad) Maybe I’ll have to pick up your reccomendations and the other one for the next time..

  2. Looks like such a superb trip. I really, really want to go to Venice now. Yes, right NOW. Love that you are eating an ice cream in every pic!

  3. Seems like everyone I know went to Venice this month! Beautiful food photos: last time I went we overdid the venetian glass-we bought these beautiful murano lamps: i love the islands too reminds me of hong kong. =)

  4. Phuoc: I think we were lucky cos there are loads of places which looked super touristy – the first day we went to one which was average! But otherwise had really good food!

    Greedy Diva: Have you not been yet? You MUST go! it’s so lovely! I think maybe it does stink in summer though when it’s super warm hehe, I can imagine it with all the open waterways and idiot tourists chucking endless rubbish into the canals..

    Jingan: Wow, I didn’t buy anything! Well not for me, but some cute stuff for my family 🙂

  5. You’re so lucky, I’ve wanted to go to Venice for years but my husband went 3 times before we met and has never wanted to go back. Looks like you had a fabulous time and how great the weather was kind to you as I often think of Venice being a bit gloomy and wet.

  6. Gorgeous photos Catty!! I’ve always wanted to go to Venice! And, Wow that cookie certainly IS green!

  7. Oh sooo jealous – went to Venice only once aged 14, and just remember totally crushing on all the carabinieri police in their leather boots and uniforms… You were lucky to eat well though, Venice is the one place that even Italians say you eat badly – think you did really well to stick to divey places where the locals go!

  8. Pingback: Pope Benedict XVI visits Venice | Arezzo Jewelry

  9. Sarah: Aww shame! He should definitely take you back on a trip… maybe when Ted’s older as all the steps up and down the numerous bridges are totally not pram friendly!

    Maria: LOL that cookie was monster. And yes, it’s amazing, and I’m sure you guys will get a chance to go one day! Enroute to Finland?

    Zoe: Ahhhh the police were rather dashing! As were some of the younger, hotter gondola guys 😉

  10. Dreamy. Love both the food and Venice photos, but I have to say, your first photo of the seafood pasta (particularly the mussels) is exceptionally transfixing.

  11. Oh my… all of that glorious food! And now I just have to have pasta for dinner. I know it will pale in comparison but how could I not?

  12. So glad that you got to try Vechio Fritolin. It was one of my favourites, but then again, I have a very long list of favourites for Venice.

    Grom is a new Ice Cream chain that just found itself in Venice last year. But for a chain, the gelato is really good. Another great Gelato place is Nico in Dorsoduro.

    Anyone need any other Venice recs, just get in touch.

  13. Marie: I know, that’s why it’s up there. It just makes me want to take a bite out of the screen/camera!!

    Lorraine: ahh I’m sure your pasta was awesome! I need to learn how to get al dente just right!

    May: Yeah Vecio Fritolin was great! Grom was full of people but I just dont like not being able to see my gelato!

  14. FUN! I need to get to Venice before it sinks!

  15. It is true that in Italy, the simplest food always tastes best. I love the look of that outdoor dining area!! Must try to go back before it sinks..

  16. I love italian food and Venice is an awesome place really beautiful.

  17. Totally love this post. I just got lost in Italy with the food. It was food heaven. Your pics just took me back for a visit! Thanks……I love your blog too!

    • Thank you! Yeah aside from asian food I think I love Italian food best.. it’s so simple yet so delicious! I wish I had another trip lined up for Italy, I never got to Florence 🙁

  18. Lisa Grimes on June 17, 2011 at 9:05 pm said:

    I just literally copied and pasted these restaurants — thank you!!!

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