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OROKO City Guide | A long weekend in Venice

Venice is one of the most alluring cities in the world. Historic shopfronts, winding waterways and bustling piazzas all form part of its charm. We want you to fall in love with the city like we have. To do so you must experience it like a local, getting to know the vibrant bacari culture, historic traditions and rich history. So, we are sharing just some of the ways you can explore the beautiful city on your next city break.

Experience bacari culture at All’Arco

Cicchetti, similar to Spanish tapas, are an inherent part of Venetian culture. Enjoyed in back-street wine bars known as bacari, locals gather to enjoy small bites and a glass of vino with friends. Not only is it the best way to sample traditional Venetian cuisine but it is also an insight into the local culture. When Rick Stein tells you All’Arco is a go-to place, you know it is a recommendation not to be missed. An authentic neighbourhood bacaro, All’Arco are the experts in seafood-themed cicchetti and the baccalà mantecato (whipped salt cod) is absolutely delicious.

Take a day trip to Burano Island

The colourful island of Burano is a must-visit when in Venice. Take the vaporetto to the island and explore the waterways lined with rainbow-coloured homes. Famed for its intricate handmade lace, it is the perfect opportunity to pick up some authentic handmade pieces. If you have time, the Lace Museum is worth a visit. The island’s true heritage is that of a fishing village, so expect delicious seafood. Trattoria Al Gatto Nero is one of the best on the island, serving tasty homemade pasta and seafood. Celebrated chef, Angela Hartnett, says that this cosy restaurant is where she found the perfect risotto, even better than her own.

Admire 360° views on T Fondaco dei Tedeschi’s rooftop

For fantastic views over Venice’s rooftops and waterways, head to the rooftop terrace of T Fondaco dei Tedeschi. Next to the Rialto Bridge, admire views directly over the famed Rialto Market. Venture to the luxury department store and make your way to the top to get some excellent photo opportunities. It is free to do so, but you will have to book a 15-minute timeslot in advance. Don’t skip exploring the department store while you’re there. Housed in a 16th-century trading hall, luxury brands are scattered through contemporary spaces and exhibitions are held regularly within the building. Afterwards, head to the nearby bar of al Mercà for tasty cicchetti.

Dine at Osteria alle Testiere

Venetians truly respect their local ingredients and it is home to an outstanding amount of seafood restaurants. Osteria alle Testiere is one of our favourites. A refined bacaro, it serves a range of seafood feasts freshly sourced from the market. It is especially renowned for its spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti with clams). Other highlights include marinated soft-shell crab, grilled razor clams and lagoon squid. Make sure to book in advance as it only seats a small number at a time, and it is an extremely popular spot.

Go to Rialto Market

Situated near All’Arco, Rialto Fish Market is a centuries-old market where shopkeepers and fishmongers sell fresh, local produce near the Grand Canal. Open five days a week, the market is a buzzing place frequented by Venetian locals. Browse the colourful stalls of the green market and head to the pescaria section, where fishmongers continue the historic traditions of setting up stalls with an array of seafood selections. We recommend going early to beat the crowds. Continue to the nearby Casa Del Parmigiano to browse the selections of artisanal cheese, cured meats and Italian olives.

Wander the side streets of Dorsoduro

Venice is the city made for wandering, stumbling upon quaint boutiques, basilicas and bacaris. The artsy neighbourhood of Dorsoduro is one of our favourites for aimlessly wandering. Start by admiring the Church of Santa Mario del Rosario before witnessing the mesmerizingly beautiful decorative ceilings of San Sebastiano Church. For an afternoon snack, stop at Cantine del Vino già Schiavi, a renowned tavern that serves delicious cicchetti. Afterwards, we recommend visiting the museum of Ca’Rezzonico. A marble-fronted palazzo on the Grand Canal, it is a wonderful example of 18th-century Venetian architecture and it holds an extensive collection of artworks.

Enjoy Afternoon Tea at The Gritti Terrace

The Gritti Terrace occupies one of the most unbeatable spots in all of Venice. Sitting on the Grand Canal overlooking the beautiful Santa Maria della Salute Basilica, you won’t find a more scenic setting for Afternoon Tea. Admire fantastic views as you sip on champagne and enjoy dainty sandwiches, decadent pastries and maybe even a beautiful sunset. The Gritti Palace also has an extensive cocktail selection if you simply wish to enjoy a drink on the terrace.

Enjoy Venetian pastries at Rosa Selva

Rosa Salva Bakery has been serving locals with decadent pastries for over a century. The family-run business offers endless sweet treats like cream puffs, pastries and tarts. There are three shops within the centre of Venice, each of which offers a cosy café where you can sit and enjoy a cappuccino with your Venetian pastry. During festivals, you will find the shop windows filled with festive pastries like the oh-so-delicious panettone.

Take a mask-making workshop at Ca’Macana

Venetian masks are a centuries-old tradition. Typically worn during the Carnival of Venice, masks were a way to hide the wearer’s identity and social status. Particularly enjoyable for families and groups, mask-making workshops are a fun activity in the city. At Ca’Macana, learn about their history and the classic method of making masks before learning how to paint them using a variety of techniques. After completing the workshop, visit the nearby Squero di San Trovaso, a 17th-century gondola boatyard, of which only three remain.

Visit St Mark’s Basilica

St Mark’s Basilica is undeniably Venice’s most famous landmark. The most famous of the city’s churches, it truly is a must-see, even if you need to face the large crowds. That said, there is a way to admire the basilica in all its glory. Those who choose to attend mass, of which there are many times through the day, can enter freely from the Porta dei Fiori. Attending mass can be a beautiful experience and though you can’t wander, you may appreciate the frescos and architecture without the discomfort of crowds. While sightseeing, admire other landmarks like Doge’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs.


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