Venissa’s Annalisa Florian shares her insider knowledge on wining and dining like a true Venetian, as well as must see artisan discoveries.
Best wine lists:
Osteria Ai Rusteghi, near the Rialto bridge, is a hidden gem. With courtyard seating and small but well curated Italian and international wine list, this is a perfect stop for fantastic artisanal charcuterie and a glass of wine whilst exploring the back streets of Venice.
Another fantastic spot for cicethi, formaggi and crudi is La Mascareta, run by the funniest “oste”, or host, of Venice: Mauro Lorenzon.
Best for lunch or dinner:
Quadri in Piazza San Marco
One of the more recent gems in the ever expanding Alajmo family empire, Quadri on San Marco Square is a historical institution that has been given a new lease of life. At the hand of star interior designer Philippe Starck, Quadri was given a makeover in 2018 and is now a beautiful contemporary and sumptuous space serving modern interpretations of traditional Venetian fair made with locally sourced produce from the Venetian lagoon.
This is the spot for really traditional Venetian cooking. Absolutely delicious, with a focus, again, on local produce. Start with traditionally prepared raw, boiled or cooked then marinated fish, continue with velvety creams, soups and homemade pastas matched with the seasonal fruits of Venetian gardens, and then come the second course of fried, grilled or baked fish.
An intimate (tiny) seafood restaurant where the menu changes daily depending on market availability. This is a popular spot for locals as well as artists when they descend upon Venice for the Biennale.
Exploring Venice’s artisan culture:
Venice is a bastion for artisanal craftsmanship, from the gold plating that adorns the angels of the Basilica di San Marco, to Murano glass blowing.
The Berta family are the last artisan Battiloro (goldbeater) still laboriously and passionately hammering gold plate by hand. Working out of Titian’s original workshop, the family produces the gold labels of Venissa’s bottles. Seeing them at work is breathtaking, with strength, patience, stamina and utmost precision required.
Another throwback to historical production techniques is the Orsoni Mosaic furnace which has been operating continuously since 1888 to produce 24 karat gold leaf mosaics and Venetian “smalti” in more than 3,500 colors.
A visit to the island of Murano – home of the world famous glassware – is a must.
Aristide Najean is a French-born Murano glass blower and artist who learned the art of glass making from the greatest in Murano. His works include sculptures and light installations and combine the tradition of Venetian glass blowing with modern art to great effect.
Carlo Moretti is an artist’s factory founded in 1958 by brothers Carlo and Giovanni Moretti, who have both passed away in recent years, after gaining worldwide fame for their Murano objects. A team of artists continue their legacy of avant garde, world class design.
Follow these visits with a charming rustic lunch at Ai Vetrai restaurant.
Another must see for those interested in design is the Tessitura Belilacqua, the most ancient factory of Venetian velvet and other textiles.
Explore the other islands of the Venetian lagoon by renting a bicycle to get around the Sant’Erasmo island – a nature lover’s paradise. Or take a stroll through the colourful fishermen houses of Burano, and visit the lace museum. The Gatto Nero restaurant is fabulous for delicious seafood.
Last, but certainly not least, pay a visit to Venissa’s vineyards on the Mazzorbo island with its fantastic Michelin star restaurant.