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
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
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.