We have just returned from a Thurs – Sun birthday celebration (Pip) trip to Venice with our old friends RyanAir. One of the longer flights, at 2.5 hours. Although dearer than our usual European flights, it is still not overly expensive by NZ standards, costing us about $NZ280 per person return.
We were fortunate in our choice of AirBNB accommodation as it was in one of the less touristy parts of town but very close to the San Silvestro ferry stop on the Grand Canal and in any event only about 10 minutes walk from the Rialto bridge, so still quite central. It was a small apartment on Calle Sbianchesini, with two balconies, on the 2nd floor.
Right across the street (well, alley, really) from our entrance door was a bar/restaurant called Vineria All’ Amarone and it was superb, a real find. Just a few tables inside and a few outside. We ate there on our first evening, Pip having raw Swordfish Carpaccio and me the Prosciutto with parmesan cheese, such cheese as I have never tasted before, strong and gutsy. The maitre d’, who was the owner’s son, told us proudly that the best man at his wedding was from Auckland so we had an immediate rapport. His recommendation of Soave wine to accompany our meals was spot on – a local regional wine quite unlike anything we had tasted before but delicious.
We were so impressed that we went back the following night, this time with my London-based nephew Dave and his wife Amy, who were coincidentally in Venice celebrating Dave’s birthday. On the basis that you can never have too much of a good thing, we went back yet again for a late night drink (Limoncello (Pip) and Spritz (me)) after our concert on Saturday night.
This part of Venice is a maze of alleyways and squares, each square with at least one outdoor cafe. Just a few steps from our door in one direction was the square of the church of St Apollinaire:
On Sunday, before leaving, we had a last local lunch at another street cafe, the Pizzeria Antico Panificio: bruschetta, platter of cold meats and salmon pasta with a half carafe of house chianti. (Well, we had to skip our evening meal because of the plane flying time and much as we love RyanAir, we don’t go so far as to actually enjoy their extra-cost meals.) So this was our last view of the neighbourhood before picking up our bags from the apartment and catching the Vaporetto back to the Piazzale Roma from where we caught the direct airport bus.