Venice throws everything at the visitor – tottering ornate Gothic palazzi, metres of glittering gold mosaic, hours of meandering alleys for the romantic and pompous overpriced cafes for the extravagant. But some visitors remain just a little underwhelmed. Here are some of the greatest Venice cynics. A Moated Imprisonment of a Town Stinking canals, unstable… Read More “Streets full of water. Please advise”: Unimpressed Visitors to Venice
Chioggia lies south of Venice, protruding from the mainland, and is popularly known as ‘Little Venice’, due to its canals and bridges on a more modest scale than Venice. However, one risks a sharp retort or foul look from a Chioggiotto (person from Chioggia) if that diminutive title is uttered in their presence, as Chioggia’s… Read More Hidden Eateries: A Most Unusual Dinner in Chioggia
One year, post-final exam at university, I sat with friends on a wall of a college overlooking the Cam river, bustling with punting tourists. In between swigs from a bottle of cheap bubbly and various emotional outbursts regarding freedom, we found great entertainment in listening to the very creative ‘histories’ of Cambridge that the punt… Read More Hidden Venice: A City Built on Myth
It’s not just about what you see, it’s about how you see it. Starting in the grounds of the magnificent Villa Pisani, the Venice Marathon route passes some of the most elegant leisure palaces of the Venetian nobility along the Brenta River, including the aptly named Villa Malcontenta (discontent), and finishes with 14 tortuous bridges… Read More The Marathon: The Most Relaxing Way to Visit Venice?
Crunchy and tooth-wrenching on the outside, fluffy as a cloud inside, ciabatta is Italy’s most famous bread and Britain’s most middle-class sandwich foundation. With its mishapen, rustic appearance you could be fooled into thinking it has nestled beside the fresh buffalo mozzarella and tomatoes still dusted with soil on a farmer’s table since the Renaissance.… Read More Italy’s Challenge to the Baguette
In ‘City of Falling Angels’, Berendt writes about a period of La Serenissima when she was in her last golden moments. The ornate palazzi of the Canale Grande were either thrown open for dazzling parties where guests arrived in gondole and light spilled from the windows onto the dark water outside; or were beginning their inevitable decline… Read More Hidden Venice: How to be an (Almost) Exclusive Guest at a Palazzo on the Grand Canal
A sharp crisp morning hazy with mist matures into rich golden afternoon of enduring summer heat, now more cloying as the humidity of Autumn sets in. A light evening breeze brings the scent of roasting chestnuts and produce of market stalls evoke autumn colours before the leaves change – orange pumpkins, pale yellow marrows, deep… Read More Seasons of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness: How to Enjoy October in Italy
A flicker of yellow light from a lantern down an obscure alley, an illuminated painted name board reflecting in the still black water, a vibrant noisy crowd squeezed in a pokey dim interior with a low ceiling of wooden beams – this is the Venetian aperitivo in the traditional bacaro. Most travellers to Italy will… Read More Hidden Venice: Have an Aperitivo like a Venetian
Arquà Petrarca: The pearl of the Colli Euganei, Veneto This could more accurately be nicknamed ‘the city of flowers’, as all residents seem to have taken it upon themselves to adorn their window ledges with boxes of blooming, brightly coloured displays.