Tuesday

My Venice...part two

Brace yourself for a long one... Venice is one of those places you get lost in days are long and you find yourself incredibly busy...day two saw us (me) up at the crack of dawn through sheer excitement of my actual birthday finally coming round (I'm still a child at heart). Grumbles and a 'go back to bed' eventually were pushed aside and we were up and out into the gorgeous Venetian sun at the beautiful Piazza San Marco. Huge queues were already forming to head into the Basilica so we decided to go up the Campanile where you will have the most stunning view over Venice's terracotta roofs and the busy canal.
Afterwards we meandered along the canal past the Ponte dei Sospiri (the bridge of sighs) which is where prisoners were taken from the dungeons, across the bridge, to the courtroom to be sentenced to death. It is therefore said that they let out big sighs as they took their last look at beautiful Venice... Make sure the moment you see a break in the crowds to nestle through otherwise you'll miss the opportunity for a decent snap.

We then made our way towards the hub of Venice, the Rialto market where restaurateurs and locals gather to buy what they wish to serve that day to their guests. In 2011 there was a threat from the Venetian city officals to close it to make way for more cruise ships this was overthrown by locals, thankfully, and now the gold winged Lion of St Mark holding a tablet guards the area Stating 'Rialto No Se Toca' (don't mess with the Rialto). The fish here is some of the freshest I have ever seen and the market kept exceptionally clean - i.e. not in the slightest bit smelly!


More meandering towards lunch and more exploring down tiny back alleys and within what felt like our own personal city... no tourists, completely tranquil and utterly peaceful - heavenly... 
We ended up doing a full 360 and came to what is known as a bit of a Venetian legendary pit stop 'Cantina do Mori' 5 minutes from the Rialto and is thought to be the oldest Bacari in Venice. It is packed at peak times with a lively atmosphere, lowly lit, has huge copper polenta pans hanging from the ceiling and a bar full of wonderful wines, sandwiches and snacks... what's not to love? 6 Cicchetti and a glass each was astonishingly around the €9! This quickly became a twice daily pit stop over the next few days...


Here we tasted delicious artichoke hearts soaked in olive oil, veal arancini, prawn and courgette cicchetti, salt cod cicchetti and a simple aubergine and sun dried tomato 'on a stick'...all absolutely divine, especially washed down with a 'prosecco extra' and all under €3 each. 
Meandering round and past a highly recommended restaurant 'Osteria Enoteca ai Artisti' which was sadly fully booked and came across a charming rustic restaurant that seated probably no more than 14 at a push called Al Vecio Marangon which served up a daily changing menu full of fresh seafood and pastas, Mr D's sea food pasta and my octopus salad went down exceptionally well. 

Round the corner from here is the Gallerie dell'Academia which is well worth a visit to lose yourself for a couple of hours, see some stunning Venetian paintings, some familiar household names and walk off the previous lunch as the place is VAST. 
Home, snooze and out early doors to head to the infamous Harry's Bar 'the home of (eye-wateringly expensive) delicious Bellini's' which were created in 1948...the likes of Hemmingway, Charlie Chaplin and Orson Welles have signed the guest book, some several times. The old school charm is quite unexpected for me, it is a Venice must (even if an expensive must).  



After Harry's called for a couple of birthday Spritz's (naturally) before heading towards supper at Alle Testiere which is now firmly within my top ten best meals ever. Set in a gorgeous (tiny) room with an open kitchen and tables so close we were sat almost on top of the people next to us (apologies if you're reading this Georgia). It's wonderful, unassuming and served up incredible wines, mind blowing simple seafood dishes, faultless service and endless amount of limoncello 'for the birthday girl'... bliss... 


The wine cellar stocks some impressive names and we asked our charming waiter to suggest something local which he loved...He brought over a sulphite free wine which was around the €40 mark slightly salty in tasting but completely delicious...
We then feasted and shared starters of simple garlic and parsley razor clams (a must when here) one which I was reluctant to share...cooked to perfection, sweet, garlicy and covered in a really gorgeous olive oil - save your bread and mop the sauce up, you'll regret it if you don't!
A huge plates of mussels...

We decided on a secondi middle course and had to have a plate of the raved about home made pasta dishes. We (of course) chose the vongole with chilli and garlic...divine, full of these tiny sweet Caparosoli clams which are local to Venice...

And finally the most incredible plate of mixed grilled fish (for two, my portion below) prawns, baby octopus, bream, monkfish... it goes on. The menu changes here daily as they get whatever is freshest that morning from the market. I loved this dish, the simplicity of it was well and truly delicious!
(Another) glass of wine was ordered followed by a 'sod it let's have the whole bottle' due to it being incredibly drinkable and slipping down rather too well (whilst we finished an incredibly light hazelnut semifreddo pudding). An evening to put on my 'incredible memories' list and one to highly recommend to you all... 



Restaurants visited:

Alle Testiere - MUST book!

Address: Calle del Mondo Novo, 5801, 30122 Venezia, Italy
Cantina Do Mori - no bookings - no tables!
  1. Address: Sestiere San Polo, 429, 30125 Venezia, Italy

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