Venice of the 3 “C”: Culture, Carnival, Cuisine
As we have already seen in previous articles, Verona can be perfect as a starting point for fabulous day trips. There are choices for all tastes: for those who prefer the quiet of the lake and for the adventurous mountain, for lovers of good wine and local cuisine and for lovers of the great cities of Venetian art. The last time we guided you step by step in your perfect outing from Verona to Padua. Today we will take you to the discovery of one of the most romantic and visited cities in the world, Venice, and to tell it we will use a formula, that of the 3 “C”: Culture, Carnival, Cuisine. Are you curious to find out what is it? So, let’s start now!
Venice is a lagoon city built on water. No cars or buses, therefore; the historical centre, made up of 121 islands, turns completely on foot, in a continuous movement up and down the 436 bridges and the hundreds of small lanes that here takes the name of “calli”. Only comfortable shoes then! And remember to bring a small umbrella or a k-way with you because in Venice the weather can change very quickly.
If you choose to reach Venice by car from Verona, we advise you to leave it in one of the Piazzale Roma car parks, very close to the Venezia Santa Lucia train station. If, however, you prefer to opt for the train, the best solution is the Quick Regionals that leave every hour from the station of Verona Porta Nuova; they have the same price as regular regional trains, but the number of stops is much lower.
How can we not love Venice?! Exhibitions, festivals, museums, theatres, libraries, rare collections, … the atmosphere of culture that you breathe in this city, where the buildings themselves become real works of art, it is something hard to describe and above all unique in the world. In general, we can say that there are 2 ways to discover the culture of Venice: from a traditional tourist or an unconventional tourist. If you are in the first case or if this is your first visit to Venice, here are the 5 steps not to be missed:
- The Gallerie dell’Accademia: a rich overview of the history of Venetian and Venetian art, including some works by Bellini, Giorgione, Tiziano, Tiepolo and Canaletto, not to mention the famous Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci.
- The Rialto Bridge: the most famous bridge in Venice, always crowded with sellers and tourists, but with a breath-taking view. Inevitably here a photo-souvenir under the white arches, with the background of the Grand Canal in the centre and on the sides the most prestigious Venetian palaces.
- Piazza San Marco with the homonymous Basilica: together they represent the very symbol of Venice. Piazza San Marco, the only square in the city, can leave still breathless even those who know Venice for many years and the same can be said of the Basilica, in Romanesque-Byzantine and Gothic style, also called Chiesa D’Oro for the 283 precious objects contained inside that make up the Treasure of San Marco. Between the Basilica of San Marco and the pier, it is impossible not to notice the architectural masterpiece of Venetian gothic of Palazzo Ducale, originally the seat of the Doge, the highest office of the Venetian Republic.
- The Bridge of Sighs: the bridge that connected Palazzo Ducale to the prisons. The name recalls the sighs of the prisoners, frightened by the idea of seeing the light of the sun perhaps for the last time.
- The Basilica dei Frari: with its 102 meters in length and 17 monumental altars, is the largest church in the city and contains many works of art, including the famous Assumption of Titian.
For you, however, a tourist who hate the clichés or veteran of Venice that you want to discover a different side of the city, we have thought of 5 different stops that can really do for you:
- Murano kilns: some kilns, located on the island of Murano, where you can watch the masters of blown glass at work and discover all the secrets.
- The Squero di San Trovaso: one of the oldest Venetian squares, dating back to the sixteenth century, and one of the very few still in operation. In this yard you can still see how the most famous Venetian boats are built and repaired, the gondolas.
- The ancient forts: a system of fortification works, begun in the thirteenth century, aimed at protecting Venice and its lagoon.
- Casino Venier: a place of fun and debauchery for the 18th century Venetian nobility, where you can still find all the peepholes and secret passages that allow you to observe what is happening in the other rooms without being seen.
- Unusual and less touristic museums: among these we recommend the Jewish Museum, dedicated to Jewish holidays and to objects of ritual use, the Glass Museum on the island of Murano, with some finds that date back to the first century. d. C., and the Lace Museum in the island of Burano, where you can also see the skilled lace masters at work.
What is the best time of the year to fully experience the Venetian cultural atmosphere? Without a doubt the Carnival. The Venice Carnival is one of the oldest in Italy and on the podium of the best known in the world. Born in the period of the Late Middle Ages, when the Doge used to give the people two months of festivities to better endure poverty and social patterns, Carnival soon became a real institution. During this time of year, every identity, gender difference and social convention skipped. The word “mask“, in fact, went both to indicate literally the action of wearing a fake beard and moustache and to define with a nickname woman who disguised themselves as men and vice versa.
Nowadays, the Carnival lasts about 2 weeks and is a very evocative and elegant party, which attracts tourists from all over the world for its uniqueness. Every year this event has a specific theme and the fantastic traditional costumes sported by masks make Venice even more magical. Among concerts, fashion shows and theatrical performances, you’ll be spoiled for choice with dozens of public events scheduled, as well as fascinating masked balls in prestigious palaces to relive the mysteries and splendours of the past.
The highlight of the menu in Venetian cuisine is undoubtedly the starter. Walking through Venice you will notice many typical taverns, called ‘bacari’, with whole counters filled with a thousand different types of ‘cicchetti’ (appetizers), to be accompanied with a nice ‘ombra de vin‘ (glass of wine). Among the most typical ‘cicchetti’, you can taste soppressa or moscardini with polenta, crab meatballs, egg with anchovies and the famous creamed cod (fish cooked in milk and transformed into mousse).
Among the first and second courses stand out the fish dishes, including spaghetti with clams, cuttlefish or wet eels, scampi alla busara (with chilli and cherry tomatoes) and polenta and schie (small grey shrimps typical of the Venetian lagoon), beyond to some poor cooking dishes that, thanks to their long tradition, are served not only by small taverns but also by the most famous restaurants: ‘pasta e fasoi’ (pasta with beans), almost “venerated” in Venice, and ‘risi e bisi’ (risotto with green peas), eaten even by the Doges on the day of the patron saint (April 25).
Tradition and culture that also contaminate the kitchen, this has always been Venice. And so, the Bellini (white peach puree and Prosecco), one of the most famous cocktails in the world, originated in this city, invented by the head-barman of the Harry’s Bar in Venice inspired by a painting by Giovanni Bellini, and the Carpaccio, very thin slices of raw meat, born from the intense colours of Vittore Carpaccio‘s paintings.
Did you enjoy our out-of-town tour itinerary from Verona to Venice? Then click on the “Book” button and discover all the advantages of booking a stay of several nights in one of the structures of the International Europe Hotel group.