What to do in Venice ? There are so many things to do in Venice: sightseeing, taking a gondola ride, shopping. At the end of the day even the fittest tourists feel exhausted. That is when you should try one of the authentic Venice experiences: aperitivo and cicheti.
At the end of the day locals head to their favourite bàcari, the strong-holds of authenticity, small back-street bars that offer good wine and tasty snacks (“cicheti”). Venice is notorious for bad food served in overpriced restaurants by rude waiters. However, you will forget about those tourist traps as soon as you take a bite of cicchetti. The best way to experience the aperitivo and cicheti is to set on a bar crawl, or, as they say in Venice on “giro di ombre”.
Ombra, a small glass of simple Venetian wine, is served with a wide variety of snacks and each bar has their own selection.
La Cantina (Cannaregio, Calle San Felice, 3689, Campo San Felice) is known for its fantastic seafood snacks: oysters, raw salmon, tuna and sea bass bites are served with tomatoes. They also have a great choice of about 30 wines. Don’t expect to see a menu in English or any menu at all!
Alla Vedova Ca’ d’Oro (Cannaregio, Calle del Pistor, 3912, Ramo Ca’ d’Oro) is said to be the best place to gorge on delicious hot meatballs. If you want to have a full meal sit at one of the old-fashioned wooden tables. Otherwise just stay at the bar and wait your turn to grab piping hot, just off the stove pork polpetti (meatballs).
Bar ai Nomboli (San Polo, Calle dei Nomboli, 2117c) is one of the best places to have panini, small hot and cold sandwiches. Try the one with sword fish and you will not want to leave!
The tiny Bacaro Risorto (Castello 4700, Fondamenta Osmarin) is just a stone’s throw away from the San Marco Square. Only a couple of seats here but their fried baccalà and marinated fried sardines (“sarde in soar”) are absolutely to die for.
Cantina Do Mori (San Polo, Calle dei Do Mori, 429) is one of the oldest bacari in Venice and legend has it that Casanova himself frequented this establishment to fill up on wine and snacks before setting off to seduce another beauty. Try salted artichokes (“carciofi al sale”), raw meat bites or egg-plant with parmesan (“melanzane alla parmigiana”). The locals here are very fond of “Francobollo”, a little sandwich with salami, gorgonzola and radicchio.
The price of cicheti is absolutely non-Venetian: from 1-3 euro per piece, and for 15 euro you can have a plateful of local fresh food with one-two glasses of red wine. So here is the answer on what to do in Venice !
Photos from Flickr by: Renée Suen, Javier Lastras, Eric Parker.