Category Archives: Food and Drink

Romantic Venice

Paris, Rome, New York? Nah, surely the most romantic city has to be Venice. Away from the busy crowds and tourist traps, Venice is a quiet, mysterious city full of little nooks and crannies perfect for exploring with that special someone, unless you’re arguing over a map that is. Here are my top six romantic things to do in this beautiful city!

A Bird’s Eye View: The view from the Campanile in Saint Mark’s Square is stunning, and what could be more romantic than sharing that view with your loved one? Well, maybe a trip up the Campanile on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, as you have more chance of having it to yourselves!

Eastern Castello: I think Venice is most romantic away from the hoards of tourists and Gondoliers shouting ‘Gondole! Gondole!’ expectantly at every couple that walks by. You can quickly lose the crowds if you head to Eastern Castello along the Riva degli Shiavoni towards the Giardini Pubblici. You will undoubtedly have to battle with a few street sellers along the way, but the further you get away from Saint Mark’s the quieter it will be. This is a lovely place to walk!

A Moonlit Walk: I was going to try and avoid romantic clichés, but it really is very romantic having Saint Mark’s Square all to yourself, especially if you’ve been treated to a Grom ice cream on the way. After all the day-trippers have left and the Venetians are safely tucked up in bed, if you are lucky, you can have one of Venice’s most busy attractions all to yourselves.

Spritz: Venice is full of things to see and explore, but sometimes the best moments are spent just watching the world go by. So, despite it being a little cold in February, I would really recommend sharing a spritz in Campo San Margherita. It is particularly romantic as the sun sets! Sorry, back to the clichés.

The Lagoon Islands: ‘Gondole! Gondole!’ The romantic duty of every couple heading to Venice? Or, the extortionate rip-off of  tourists? I guess it is a matter of opinion! But as a lowly student, I was not prepared to hand over a months food budget for this experience, so I am not qualified to tell you. However, a trip on the vaporetto to Venice’s surrounding islands can be lots of fun and of course romantic. Head to Murano for the glass, Burano for the colourful houses, and even further, Torcello for the beautiful mosaics. For those who really want to seal the romance with a bit of commitment, try sitting on the ancient, stone chair found on Torcello, known as Attila’s Throne. Legend has it that those who do will be married within the year.

Dorsoduro: Fondamente Zattere al Ponte Longo is a lovely place to stroll, with beautiful views of the Giudecca and boats coming in and out of Venice.

Finally, my real tip for enjoying the romantic side of Venice is to explore and get lost. Abandon the map, there is only so far wrong you can go in this city before you hit water. There are so many little bits of Venice to explore and I think the most romantic thing is discovering them for yourself.

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Bologna: Christmas shopping and Bolognese

The last few weeks before the end of term are busy for the Venice students. However, if you manage to finish your final essay a little early (it is just about physically possible) and with the final free week, there is time to explore the Veneto and further. Bologna makes a perfect day trip, especially in the run up to Christmas, as it has beautiful festive lights and a Christmas market. Trains regularly depart to Bologna from Santa Lucia railway station and take between an hour and a half and two hours.

Famous for its Bolognese sauce, it is most definitely worth stopping for lunch. We headed to Ristorante Cesarina, a friendly restaurant that served delicious Bolognese and Lasagne. If you’re lucky, the waiter might even offer a sample of Balsamic glaze to try with bread (we must have looked like very hungry students). Don’t be tempted to buy it off the waiter though (we must have looked like very stupid students) as the price asked for, 15 euros, seemed a little steep when we saw the same bottle on sale in Billa for a few euros.

Head to the centre of the city for lots of shops, Christmas lights and a little Christmas market. The Christmas tree is Piazza Maggiore is beautiful!

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Make Mine a Spritz!

Entwined with Venice’s history, the Spritz has become a staple of Venetian life. The Spritz is comprised of white wine or Prosecco, a liqueur such as Campari or Aperol and sparkling mineral water over ice, commonly completed with a large green olive. Originating in Venice whilst it was under the Austrian Empire, this distinctive orange drink is now an unmistakable part of Venice’s bar culture.

So where is the best place to soak up the atmosphere whilst sipping on this Venetian classic? After lectures the Venetian students of Ca’ Foscari head to  Campo San Margherita, which by 5 o’clock is buzzing. On the south corner of the square you can find Margeret Duchamp, a small and friendly bar serving other cocktails along with the classic Spritz. Other bars are dotted about the square, in between restaurants and shops selling student books.

Head closer to San Marco and you will find you are fighting for space at the bar with tourists, rather than local students and Venetians. However, the draw of the luxurious watering holes of Venice can be too much to resist.  If making a visit to the famous Harry’s Bar you really should treat yourself to a Bellini, a snip at fifteen euros. However, this is still a pretty special place to sample a Spritz.

If you don’t want to pay a premium for your cocktail check out a couple of bars in Canneregio; the live music and friendly staff at Al Parlamento often draws a great crowd. Bar Sarpi, a tiny bar along Strada Nova, is another great place to pick up a Spritz. Closer to San Marco you can admire the quirky ceiling decoration of Bacaro Jazz whilst sipping on a Spritz.

Why not combine this Venetian classic with a spot of reading at one of Venice’s most beautiful libraries? The Querini Stampalia is home to an interesting collection of literature, a small gift shop and museum, as well as a little, but perfectly formed cafe and restaurant. The only library in Venice to open at weekends, pick up a Spritz one Saturday afternoon.

A visit to Venice isn’t complete unless you’ve tried this Venetian staple, so get yourself down to a local bar and try it for yourself!

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