Visiting Venice in winter, something Bunny and I have wanted to do for a decade, and Kenan gave us our chance. Extra bonus, the Cannaregio canal we stayed on was preparing for a carnival celebration for much of the time we were there. Even an unusual day of illness, Kenco is healthy like a bull, turned out well for us. My favorite place in Venice the Palazzo Cendon, where we were staying in a large room with a view of the canal, had room for us an extra night and gave us a discount on the originally quoted price. I will get to the Giotto at the Scrovegni Chapel in Padova another time.
Together we enjoyed twice, once for lunch and once for dinner, my and Claudio’s favorite place to eat in Venice ai promessi sposi. While it has become a bit more popular with foreigners it has thus far maintained its integrity They still do not serve coffee with milk, nor have the facility for hot water to be served (no tea). Espresso is the only coffee you will get there. They still serve a fabulous spaghetti al nero di seppia, and a terrific fegato a veneziana. Their fish starters are divine, featured a photo of the full octopus beast which Kenan was fascinated with.
House prosecco at Ai Promessi Sposi is fabulous, a ½ carafe is the perfect way to start the evening meal. Their Francia Corta by the glass is a real value and their nebbiolo is good too. Service is excellent and the atmosphere is simple and tasty. Hope this stays a go to restaurant in Venice for a lifetime.
Beyond eating, which we did mostly well, not always obvious in Venice, meandering through the streets of Venice on its own is divine. We did S Marco square at dusk, Rialto in full sunshine, and as many small alleys and small working canal facing streets as possible.
We caught a boat to Murano, quiet and peaceful in wintertime, we found a lovely little place that served us a tasty, warm cup of chamomile and a cookie – just what we needed to warm up. From there we went to the St. Michelle cemetery, damp, foggy, all the romance of Venice in winter! On the boat back we, ate sandwiches made from the abundant breakfast we had been served in our room.
Up for an evening adventure as well, we set out through the Ghetto and into the back streets of Cannaregio in search of a place suggested by our waitress from Spossi, and happened upon another place mentioned by Silvia at Cendon, her all-time favorite she said. Orient Experience was not what I expected on any level. Extraordinary ethnic food, at a fair price, in a simple, creative setting, with excellent service and with a terrific story to top it all off. In short, two Afghani refugees walked through Turkey, Syria, etc. to eventually get to Italy and they opened 2 restaurants in Venice serving food from the countries of their route. Their menu concept is simple, 2 selections = 9 E, 3 selections = 11 etc.. The walls are covered in a dialog in various languages simultaneously and Kenan was sitting directly across from a Turkish quote. The entire dialog, a series of quotes, are about the feeling of missing, of separation from one’s loved one, one’s home. It was overall a fabulous experience, food and culture both.
While Kenan was ill I wandered about and found myself in a Sicilian delight, Bacarretto by Marco. The wine was divine, the fried artichokes heavenly and the owner, a schoolteacher from Sicily was a pure delight. As I was there between real meal times, when all had gone but me he sat down and had a chat with me, and a glass of bio white from Sicily which tasted like sunshine. It was a highlight of my day to meet a soul so sincere, funny, and willing to share ideas and dreams. Marco will soon be a father, may his family's dreams guide him always, and may your feet guide you to his place while he still chooses to run it.
On our final day we were caught up in the festive mood and bought ourselves some simple masks, posing before we said farewell to Venice, for this time.
For fun, a collage of our Bunny moments to sign off...