Monday, March 5, 2012

Venice, Italy (Accommodation & Dining)

We spent four days and three nights in Venice during September of 2011.

While planning our trip to Venice, I knew that I wanted us to stay somewhere centrally located near St. Mark's Square, however, this proved to be difficult as the lodging prices in Venice were outrageous compared to the other cities we visited in Italy. After reviewing dozens of options, I did something I normally don't do and opted to stay at a place that, at the time, had just a few ratings on Trip Advisor. I knew it was a risky decision but decided to select Gio and Gio Bed and Breakfast as our accommodation as they only charged 135 Euro per night, included breakfast, and were literally situated directly next to a canal. Fortunately, my risk paid off. Although the bed and breakfast was initially slightly confusing to find, once there, we figured out it was located only a ten minute walk from St. Mark's Square. Our room and the entire apartment were tastefully decorated and had a very homey and comfortable feeling. The hosts were very friendly and helpful. The only downfall was that the walls were paper thin so the slightest sound could be heard anywhere within the apartment. Other than that it was a great choice that I highly recommend!
Our room at Gio and Gio Bed and Breakfast.
Our room at Gio and Gio Bed and Breakfast.
Our bathroom at Gio and Gio Bed and Breakfast.
Our bathroom at Gio and Gio Bed and Breakfast.
Living room at Gio and Gio Bed and Breakfast.
Living room at Gio and Gio Bed and Breakfast.
Living room at Gio and Gio Bed and Breakfast.
View of the canal from the living room window of Gio and Gio Bed and Breakfast.
View of the canal from the living room window of Gio and Gio Bed and Breakfast.
View of the canal from the living room window of Gio and Gio Bed and Breakfast.

Let me preface by stating that experiencing quality dining in Venice requires research and planning. Do not expect to be able to find a decent or moderately-priced meal anywhere near St. Mark's Square. The restaurants tend to be touristy and very expensive. Unfortunately, I failed to do much pre-planning or research on restaurants in Venice so we didn't have the best of success. Below are the places we ended up eating at. I also have a brief write-up of a few places visited during our tour with Alessandro Schezzini in my Venice (Sightseeing) entry as well as B Restaurant alla Vecchia Pescheria (Murano) in my Islands of theVenetian Lagoon entry.

Snack Bar San Vidal:
This small restaurant with plenty of outdoor seating is located at the southern end of Campo Santo Stefano. The restaurant had cheap pizzas (around 6 Euro I believe) so we decided to stop in for a late dinner one evening. The pizzas were fine, nothing spectacular, but filled our bellies just fine.
Pizza from Snack Bar San Vidal.
Cicchetti Bars:
Instead of having a sit-down dinner our last evening in Venice, Shyawn suggested that we do some bar hopping through some of Venice's bacari. Although there are numerous bacari options all over Venice, we focused on the area to the west of the Rialto Bridge, near the Rialto Fish Market. Cicchetti bars serve small appetizer-sized snacks on trays that are easily viewed by the customers. They usually also serve a variety of house wine, usually 1 to 2 Euro a glass. The small snacks are very cheap, so you can try a variety and still not break the bank. We went to three cicchetti bars that evening, including Osteria Al Pesador and Osteria Bancogiro which are situated directly next to one another. All of the snacks we tried were very delicious.
Delicious cicchetti at Osteria Al Pesador.
Exterior of Osteria Al Pesador.
Cicchitti at Osteria Bancogiro.

Ristorante Da Raffaele:
This restaurant, located directly across from our bed and breakfast Gio and Gio, was situated right next to the canal. Luckily, since we arrived towards the latter part of lunch the waiter was able to sit us at one of the tables that overlooked the canal. Unfortunately, the canal-side location resulted in high menu prices and lackluster food. Shyawn ordered spaghetti with a white sauce while I chose gnocchi with a red sauce and mozzarella. The food was disappointing, but eating directly next to a canal in Venice with gondolas passing by was a very unique and fun experience. I would only recommend eating here if you are able to secure a canal-side table. Otherwise, forget it!

During lunch we saw a local Venetian taking his boat out of storage in the lower level of his home, which was fascinating to watch.
Shyawn's pasta dish from Ristorante Da Raffaele.
My gnocchi dish from Ristorante Da Raffaele.
Picture postcard setting of the canal from Ristorante Da Raffaele
At Ristorante Da Raffaele.
Shyawn at Ristorante Da Raffaele
These doors suddenly opened and we saw that it was the "garage" for a boat.
View of a boat backing into the canal from Ristorante Da Raffaele
The boat had to wait for passing gondolas before he finished backing out.
And he's out!
Trattoria Da Silvio:
This small restaurant is located within the Dorsoduro neighborhood of Venice. We happened upon it as we were walking to Ca Rezzonico. We probably should have tried one of the seafood dishes considering we were in Venice, but we both ended up ordering the penne con pesto as it was our last full day in Italy and we figured that an opportunity to eat Italian pesto wouldn't present itself again before we left. The pasta was decent and the prices were some of the most reasonable we paid while in Venice. Additionally, we both loved the restaurant's relaxing and peaceful garden setting. The crowds and tourists of Venice seemed far away from our little table.
Trattoria Da Silvio
Penne con Pesto from Trattoria Da Silvio.

1 comment:

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