Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Treasure hunting in Venice or Away from the beaten path.

On the internet, there are tons of info about Venice. I don't want to add more general info, I want to tell you about my personal experience, I want to talk about what I've lived, what I saw, what I did and what YOU can do, after all, this posts are for you.

Caffè Florian.

Going to Venice, you have to visit the Piazza San Marco and when on the Piazza you have to visit the Caffe Florian. This exuberant caffè exists since 1720 with its walls and ceilings entirely covered with sceneries, portraits, flowers in very lively colors. Goldoni, Cassanova, Lord Byron, Alexandre Dumas, Wagner, Marcel Proust and many more are known to have frequented the Caffè, even worked on their book, play or opera here in this same place.

Caffè Florian, Venice; courtesy of S Ozonder
Caffè Florian, Venice; courtesy of S Ozonder

Italy and Venice is all about style and flair. How nice it must be to grow up surrounded by beauty. Even if you are poor, you are surrounded with beauty and are able to enjoy it. No wonder artists sensed the magic of this city and frequented this city.


Caffe Florian, Venice: entrance
Caffè Florian, Venice: entrance.

Everybody has it about the exorbitant prices of the Caffè; I know, I heard about it too, I visited the place and I said to myself: you should do it once, to experience consuming something in a world famous cafe; you do this once in your life and then.... you want to go back! believe me. The first time, we choose a place outside right next to the orchestra. It was a nice experience: sipping a coffee on the world's famous square in front of the world's famous coffee house. We payed 12.50€ extra to hear playing the orchestra and  payed more for the refreshments too ! I learned my lesson and this time I stayed inside, admired the paintings, the atmosphere and my order came on a big silver tray: my smoked salmon sandwich was delicious and I have never had a hot chocolate so thick I needed a spoon to drink it. And I payed way less then when I would have consummated this delicacies outside.

Silver tray with sandwich and hot chocolate at Florian's
Silver tray with sandwich and hot chocolate at Florian's

If you want a souvenir that you can use, like on your nightstand, get yourself this crystal carafe and drinking glass.

The Jewish ghetto and Campo dei Mori.

The Cannaregio area is an interesting place also.  You can visit the Jewish Ghetto, the only place with high buildings with 4 or 5 floors; Jewish people could only stay in a particular part of Venice, in the Cannareggio area and when their population grew, they only solution to expand was in the height. The entrance to the ghetto is a small doorway we passed by several times before we got it that this insignificant doorway was the entrance to the ghetto; here no palaces but simple high buildings; there are famous synagogues on the upper floors but we didn't visit them. Leave the ghetto and find the "Campo dei Mori". A corner house is decorated with statues of men wearing huge turbans. The story goes that 2 Greek brothers, merchants, lived there in the 12th century. To me, this story doesn't make sense since Greeks don't wear turbans; Muslims do, but Greeks are not Muslims. The small plain house of Tintoretto is in the same area.

Campo dei Mori

Campo dei Mori.

I copied these 2 pictures  from the internet.
Now you are in the neighborhood, have dinner at Il Paradiso Perdutto.

Campo Santa Margherita

We discovered this campo last year (2017). Here they sell fish and vegetables in the morning; locals, old and young, are sitting on benches, surveying the children playing, having a drink standing in front of a small wine bar

Campo San Margarita, Venice
Campo San Margarita, Venice

girls are walking their dogs, outfitted in Chanel.

Campo San Margarita, Venice, dogs
Campo San Margarita, Venice, fashionista doggies

there is also a hotel, at least very old looking from the outside.

Campo San Margarita, Venice, hotel
Campo San Margarita, Venice, entrance to hotel.

In a shop on the campo we asked for a good restaurant and were advised to go to Locanda Montin. A couple of houses before the restaurant, my eye was caught by a medallion, hanging in the window display.

plaster cast, displayed in Venice
Plaster cast, displayed in Venice near Antica Locanda Montin.

On closer look, there were similar items displayed. I got very excited: so beautiful alas! the shop was closed. Two shops down, I saw similar casts and this time, bingo: somebody was in the shop!!! Despite the closed sign, I knocked on the door; the owner was so courteous as to open the door and  I spoke out my interestest in the casts. He told us he was an architect, specialized in restoration and in his workshop, he and his team made casts of existing artefacts or drew smaller pictures of existing bas reliefs, then made a mold and produced the casts. Luckily the casts were for sale and a Venetian Lion in red terracotta, bi-colored angel heads  and chubby putti are now adorning the walls of my house. I have no business card but this office cum shop is a few houses away from (Antica Locanda Montin.) on Fondamenta Eremite; the locanda is at 1147.

Storm at sea

Since we arrived at the summer house, the weather has been bad and rough. On Monday night, it rained in the mountains, the river swelled and rushed all it encounterd on its path into the sea and the sea spitted it out on the shore before the house. The sea is bi-colored: brown from the mud and blue. The seagulls are excited and haven't been that numerous since a long time. Sadly the corpse of a young dog has been washed ashore, probably fell in the water and rushed to the sea and drowned on the way.

Bi-colored sea
Spring rains turn the sea to brown.
We haven't seen seagulls lately because of short sightedness: local fishers have been using trolls and now there is no fish left in the sea AND local factories and communities drain waste water in the sea and kill the small bit of fish that could grow. Seagulls have to follow a plowing farmer  inland and feed on earthworms instead of fish. Only education and sensibility can save the planet.

This is  a lot of information to digest; you'll have the remaining info in my next post with lots of pictures. Remember: as you visit the Piazza San Marco, take a break at Caffè Florian not on the square but inside the Caffè and admire the paintings and savor what ever you ordered.

The Jewish ghetto is worth visiting; it has a kosjer restaurant, there are synagogues, visit the Campo dei Mori and if you are hungry, have some seafood at Il paradiso perduto. If you are there between 6 and 8 pm, you might find a table but if you want to have diner after 8 pm, you should book your table in advance.

In Dorsuduro visit the Campo San Margharita, have a seat on a bench and sniff the atmosphere and go to Locanda Montin and watch out for the window with the plaster casts and get yourself an artful and most Venetian souvenir or give an original gift for your loved ones who stayed at home/behind.

Watch out for unusual and never taken pictures in my next post. Subscribe, so you never miss a post. Tell about your own experience in the comments section, please.

See you


  1. Ahhhh...although we went to Venice when it was raining, we loved it..and indeed The visit to cafe Florian stayed with us forever!! Definately a Must See place! Memories are coming back when reading this Blog! I wanna go back soon!!

  2. Thank you Fred for sharing. The whole of Venice wonderful!


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