At this point plan B was taken, that is to avoid the most frequented areas of Venice heading towards the Sestiere Cannaregio: the sestieri are six, city in the city, small worlds suspended in time that have preserved their identity. Among the most authentic and “Venetian”, the Cannaregio that develops between the Grand Canal and the Fondamenta Nuove, overlooking the lagoon, from where you board the islands.
Beyond Venice: the lagoon and the islands
We chose, for our lunch break and to celebrate all together Michele’s birthday, a place frequented by the inhabitants of the city, therefore less touristy and more authentic: the Trattoria da Bepi già cinquantaquattro (Cannaregio, 4550 – +39 041 5285031), not far from the busy Piazza dei Santi Apostoli, but in a quiet and peaceful street.
But before settling down to taste the Venetian delights we reached the great Piazza di Santa Maria Formosa and from there one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world! Here the children gaped and rolled their eyes on the pile of books piled up everywhere, even in a gondola in the middle of the long, narrow room and in a bathtub. These are the Acqua Alta Bookstore (Castello 5176 / b), which, among unpublished texts, vintage postcards, old maps, magazines and newspapers of all kinds, offers its visitors the chance to look out over the canals from two exclusive points.
The first is the living room with the door that leads directly to the water and the second the terrace from which, climbing to the top of the high wall through a staircase formed by worn books and hardened by water, you can browse the gondolas that pass slowly on the canal.
On the way to our destination for lunch, we stopped to admire the refined Scuola Grande di San Marco whose delightful façade is the entrance to the Civil Hospital of Venice (we talked about it in the post https://www.cittameridiane.it/en/a-walk-around-venice-3/).
Are you curious to know what we ate? We wanted to taste only Venetian specialties, from sardines in saor to creamed baccalà as an appetizer accompanied, given the right time, from the castraure, the first tender artichokes spring, and the molèche, tender crabs caught during the period of excellent fried with polenta.
For the first course we were divided between bigoli with squid ink, with a typical dark color due to the ink of cuttlefish, and gnocchi with cuttlefish and potatoes, a very delicate goodness!
For the second time we did not make a mistake by taking a rich mixed fish fry and ending the tiramisu.
What else to add? We recommend this restaurant not only for the freshness of the ingredients and the goodness of the dishes but also and above all for the kindness of owner and collaborators, considerate with everyone but especially with dogs and children.
In the afternoon we decided to continue our tour to Burano, the most picturesque and fairytale island of the lagoon, which can be reached by motorboat passing in front of the unmistakable island of San Michele, which houses the cemetery and announces from afar with the its tall cypresses and the high terracotta walls.
Burano is a bright palette of colors, from red to green, from orange to blue, from pink to fuchsia: strolling through its colorful houses that are reflected in the canals puts joy. The hub of the island’s life is Piazza Baldassare Galuppi, dedicated to the composer who was born here in 1706, with the church of San Martino with a leaning bell tower.
On the same square overlooks the Museum of Lace, whose craftsmanship is the pride of Burano.
A little strung out we resumed the waterway on the lagoon to return to Venice, passing through Mazzorbo, the island with orchards and gardens, and Murano with its furnaces where still today produces the delicate and precious blown glass, which we reserve to visit next time.
At the end of the day, all to sleep in a house and a film set landscape: Villa Soranzo Conestabile in the center of Scorzè (via Roma, 1 – +39 041 445027 – firstname.lastname@example.org).
Even its story could inspire a film. It was the home of one of the most powerful Venetian families, heir to the Doge Giovanni Soranzo, built in the early 1500s, as evidenced by the Sansovino ceilings and frescoes.
Further on, the villa was enlarged and assumed its current neoclassical appearance, with its magnificent pincer staircase, Corinthian columns and stucco decorations. In the 19th century was commissioned to the architect Giuseppe Jappelli the beautiful English garden that still surrounds the luxuriant building that at the beginning of the 60s of the last century was transformed by the Martinelli family into a hotel de charme.
It seems to enter a private house and relive the ancient splendor of the Venetian aristocratic families and the atmospheres of past centuries, including fireplaces, period furniture, precious blown glass, carpets, paintings, frescoes and candelabra.
Breakfast is served in the large living room dominated by the large fireplace with the shelf full of colorful Murano glass vases: we will not easily forget the goodness of the radicchio cake prepared every morning by the chef.