TG Tips- Venice

Venice is my favourite place in the world bar none!

The main reason is, as I always explain to my tourists, that were you to drop Napoleon in modern day Paris or Caesar in Rome, they’d probably get hopelessly lost. Do the same with Marco Polo at just about any point in Venice and he could navigate his way down canals and calle (as Venetian streets are called) to the Corte del Million, only yards from where I write this and open his one time door. It’s a city that excells at both glory and melancholy at once. So here are my tips…


Ca’ Maddalena – Canareggio, Ponte Noris Calle Bandi. Finally! After all these years. I have THE place to recommend. Super friendly Elena and her mother run this B and B (with a flat with a little kitchenete too, from where I write this). Great location, clean, everything you need and prices no higher than the rest of Venice, and often much better. Email them on or through Cristina Apartments (Cristina is very friendly too)

Hotel Metropole – Riva degli Schiavoni 4149-30122. Now HERE is a hotel that really is worth each and every of it’s 5 stars! The Hotel Metropole is stunning from start to finish.

Now THIS is How You Get 5 Stars - Gorgeous

Now THIS is How You Get 5 Stars – Gorgeous

The Metropole, IS history; already on maps of Venice in the 1500s, Vivaldi gave lessons here, Freud, Proust and Thomas Mann all stayed here and since 1897 it has been listed as one of the best hotels in Venice. But what I love is that time has not stood still. The hotel oozes a wonderful – and not easy to achieve – fusion of the traditional as well as the modern with Eastern influences from Venice’s historic connections in that direction. Every room is different with incredible attention to detail. The MET Restaurant just received a Michelin Star, so on my next visit, that’s where I am headed. The staff, many of whom I have met, are wonderful and completely professional. The location, only three minutes from Piazza S Marco, also could not be bettered. Use this link to the website of the Hotel Metropole, to learn more and make a reservation. Sometimes you just have to treat yourself.

Food, Wine, Fish and All The Good Things In Life

Pronto Pesce – Pescheria Rialto San Polo 319. If, like me or many of ‘my tourists’, you visit the famous Rialto fishmarket and find yourself salivating, yet frustrated you can’t cook in your hotel, there is a chance to still taste typical ittican products. Bruno runs this great little fishdelicatessen (ready made or to heat fish dishes), so arm yourself with some plattic cutlery and make a great picnic on a century old bridge somewhere.

La Mela Verde – Gelateria Artigianale, Fondamenta de l’Osmarin. For years I felt embarrassed by the selection of truly poor gelato in Venice. For many of my groups, this was their first stop on the trip and it seemed incredible there was not one decent Gelateria in the whole city.

If You See This… You Are in The Right Place! Buon Appetito…

Then Davide opened La Mela Verde, as he felt the same, but as a Venetian, only stronger. Anyway, problem solved. Just find it and enjoy! Update from October 2012: Took my most recent adult group there. They ALL went back for seconds, I have never seen that. Delicious and their verdict after Sorrento, Rome, Florence and Assisi? This was THE best Gelateria on the whole trip!

Aciugheta – Campo SS. Filippo e Giacomo, Castello 4357. So, having found the Gelateria, it was time to research whether there was anywhere decent to eat near Saint Mark’s Square. Mission impossible without breaking the bank? The only thing I could think of was to watch and follow the Gondoliers as they started their lunch break. This stalking lead me to this restaurant, no more than five mins round the back of Saint Mark’s basilca. It has been my choice for lunch ever since. Great pasta and pizza (an unusual combination from the same place), wonderful fish and great appetisers too. Aciugheta

Gam-Gam – Sottoportico di Ghetto Vecchio, Cannaregio 1122. The old Jewish Ghetto has always been a favourite of mine to stroll around. There is still a Jewish community in Venice and as such several kosher bakeries, pizza places and restaurants. My favourite thanks to its falafal taster plate for only €9.80 (of October 2012) is Gam-Gam. This is also one of the easiest to find and very conveniently located close to the train station. Gam-Gam and Jewish Venice

Osteria Mascaron – Calle Longa Santa Maria Formosa 5225. I love the nearby square of Santa Maria Formosa. It is close to Saint Mark’s but has an refreshingly local feel. It is a great place to grab a spritz and then seek out Calle Longa to head towards a dining experience amongst the best Venice has to offer.

The ‘Mascaron’ in Campo Santa Maria Formosa Gives Its Name to The Nearby Osteria

A place for locals to eat for 200 years, the food is wonderful and one of the few central places to still find traditional Venetian dishes. Read the story of the evil eye of the Mascaron here Osteria Mascaron

Enoteca Cantinone “Gia Schiavi”, Dorso Duro, San Trovaso 992. Maybe the cheapest ‘spritz’ in town? Certainly great wines and snacks to accompany

Always full, the best place in Venice pre-dinner?

Always full, the best place in Venice pre-dinner?

Wonderful blend of locals and tourists alike pre-dinner when they prepared delicious selections of cheap anti-pasti, which have won them prizes even! Worth tracking down.

Taverna Al Remer, Cannaregio 5701. Wow, not simple to find, but my goodness is it worth it. Go if nothing else for ‘Happy Hour’, everyday from 17.30 for two hours. €5.00 for a drink (includes delicious cocktails) and a good old-fashioned eat as much as you can aperitvo table; pasta, risotto and nibbles. Only found it thanks to two Venetian friends. Directions on their website.

Feel A Million Dollars Moment

Hotel Danieli, Public Bar – San Marco, Riva degli Schiavoni. This is my treat and has been for 12 years. But it doesn’t come cheap. A Rum and Coke is around €23. But, and it’s a big but, you can sip it in the 14th Century surroundings of the Palazzo Dandolo, the Duke of Venice whilst celebrity spotting.

Just Heaven - The Hotel Danieli, Venice

Just Heaven – The Hotel Danieli, Venice

The service is immaculate, led by Roberto the long-time head barman. I once had one of the most romantic and best dinners of my life on their rooftop. It’s one of those places people are a little afraid to enter, but once inside the welcome is wonderful and the atmosphere worth every euro! Hotel Danieli Venice

Things To Do In Venice

Sestante di Venezia – Even been to the Arsenale, let alone by night? Know what a Barcaro’ is? Thought of walking or even cycling tours in a city built on water? Here are true Venetians who LOVE their city and want to get away from the traditional way of simply joining hoards in Piazza San Marco.

Sustainable, Slow, Superb - Venice Tourism at its Best

Sustainable, Slow, Superb – Venice Tourism at its Best

I met Fabio and Alessandra, the founders of Sestante di Venezia recently and any future visit of mine, to this wonderful city will now be preceded by an email to check what they have organised for those dates…I won’t give too much away, but have a look at their website and see for yourself – here is TRULY Venice off the beaten path… Sestante di Venezia


Codex Venezia – Cannaregio 2778. I almost never buy art. This is largely as having no place to live, the only place to attach such purchases would be the inside of my suitcase. However times are changing and a morning stroll with not much to do, saw me stumble upon the studio of artist Nelson Kishi. You won’t find much about this Brazlian born, Japanese – Italian artist on the website, hopefully as he spends more time drawing. His perspectives are wonderful and my purchase has been met with approval and promised a corner at least in the future Florence abode. For lovers of Venice who want a reminder of this most beautiful of cities, try to find Codex and meet Nelson. Codex Venezia

I never buy art, but Codex Venezia is the exception

Ca’ del Sol – Castello 4964

Often my groups ask me for recommendations for where to buy masks when in Venice; that is an easy question; Ca del Sol. By FAR the best place I have found. They are nice, actually let you touch and take photos. If you are really keen, you can even book into demonstrations and mark painting lessons by the maestro himself, in his workshop just across the canal.

Best Venice Mask Shop?

Best Venice Mask Shop?

They have such a vast variety and range, from the cheap white – paint yourself (what a great idea I always say) to the large, elaborate, extravagant, Venetian party pieces. Have a preview at their website Ca del Sol.

The Weird and Wonderful

Gianni Basso, Stampatore in Venezia – Canareggio, F. Nove, Calle del Fumo. If you do nothing else in Venice, trust me and seek this place out. There’s no email, website and barely a phone (he will show you when you get there). ‘If you want Venice, come here, if you’re happy in Taiwan, stay on the other side of the bridge he says’, pointing to the end of his street.

The process…

I’m actually not going to tell you more except that Hugh Grant, Angelina Jolie and a whole host of intellectuals, poets and scientists travel to Venice JUST to visit Gianni. GO. Someone very special just bought me an ‘early birthday present’ from here. Hard to imagine a better gift.

4 Responses to “TG Tips- Venice”

  1. Hi! We made it to Venice and are checking your blog for eating Suggestions. The traditional Venetian near Santa Maria is drawing our interest! Is there a particular place you recommend?

    • Hi Paula and Neil. Sorry I was away yesterday. Hope you found The Mascaron I mentioned above. That’s a great pace near Santa Maria Formosa. If still in the area and have any other questions, I am now back. Hope you enjoy my favourite city in the world…

  2. Please, please tell me where to get a cup of tea in Venice – there is no in-room facilities at our very swish hotel and we need at least 3 cups a day to keep going!

    • Hi Angela… the BEST place is the wonderful Tea Ceremony at the splendid Hotel Metropole… Otherwise I love the Danieli… you pay for both, but the surroundings and attention to detail as well as escape from the crowds, makes it all worth it… 😉

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