This week we went to Venice. We are very lucky to live so close, to have a chance to go there quite often, in different seasons, and we absolutely adore this place.
I know there are quite many people who don’t like it. And that’s sad. I think the only reason why it can happen is because of wrong circumstances. If you have too little time, if you go only where are crowds, if you don’t have anyone who could give you some advices about the place, it can happen. And quite easily. I was lucky to come to Venice for the first time with my husband. He lived there for 5 years and knows it really well. And despite all the crowds I saw in Venice on that day, it was the most peaceful place I ever visited. We escaped from crowds immediately and walked the streets as any other veneziano. No cars. Just tiny streets, water all around, beautiful bridges, passing boats… people living their everyday life… Yes, to see all that you have to know where to go. But you can discover all that as well, if you explore, if you don’t afraid to get lost (and you shouldn’t).
As Venice is almost always full of tourists (I mean touristic districts), for habitants it is quite a disturbance, but for restaurant owners, for gondolieri it is a way to earn money. So you should be careful. You have to discuss everything first, you can’t rely on their good will. If they feel they can earn more money on you – they will do it. I would never suggest you to eat in touristic districts! Especially on Piazza San Marco. It is not good and oh, so expensive! They don’t really care about the quality, because it doesn’t matter if you come back, there will be 100 other people at your place. The best way to enjoy restaurants on Piazza San Marco is to order a cup of coffee. Coffee is always good! Or glass of vine, though it will be overpriced as well!
The best place on Piazza San Marco is Caffè Florian! It is expensive, but the place is so beautiful and they make best hot chocolate ever! We love to go there if we visit Venice in winter.
In general when looking for a restaurant, you should look for a place where habitants go. Usually those restaurants don’t offer “touristic menu”, and in general they just look different and the atmosphere is like everybody knows everybody. If you are fish lover (as me) you should absolutely try sarde in saor and fritto misto! It is pretty simply to prepare at home as well, but oh, they just know how to make it really well!
And when visiting Venice the most important thing is to have plenty of time! It changes with each hour and the best experience in Venice you can have in very early morning, when the town is just slowly waking up… or in very late evening… I think the most romantic moment in my life was going on boat through Canal Grande at night… it was so special and the place was more magical than ever!