This is the season of the first fogs and dull days, which, in Venice, have the incredible capacity of remaining fascinating. The city offers plenty of indoor activities -mostly cultural-, still, today the reflections of light are making everything shimmer despite the grey sky and I just need to stay outdoors and breathe in some fresh air. I have a huge amount of computer work to deal with this afternoon, so to clear my mind I seek peace and comfort and am escaping to the Dorsoduro district.
Before heading towards the Zattere, I quickly stop to buy some green tea in Calle del Traghetto, close to Rialto, at Peter's Tea House. I love this little shop (it used to be in Santi Apostoli, but it has moved here now), one of the few with a very high quality and broad assortment of teas and coffees, not to mention the tea cosies (the only place in Venice that has them!), tea pots and cups, both in British and Japanese style, just beautiful! I like it here because when you choose your tea you entertain a small conversation, answer questions and get to smell different varieties to see which is the most suited for you and this time I purchased a Japanese Sencha organic green tea, fresh and with a nice scent of sea and wilderness. From here, then, I went straight to Zattere via Campo Santo Stefano and Academia Bridge.
Well, the view from Zattere was amazing as always. In summer we nickname Zattere "the desert", because there is no shade or whatsoever, but now this is perfect, the sun rays keep you lovely and warm while you can enjoy a relaxed walk. I stopped at El Chioschetto just to say hello to Tony, the owner (one of the biggest Inter Milan supporters, thus big friend of my husband) and then took the interiors crossing Calle del Vento (which means The street of Wind, and I'm sure you'll understand why!). Again, I passed by Campo Angelo Raffaele and paid a visit to the church with the same name. My mother has a fixation with this church and the story of Tobias.
It is, in fact, a little jewel and definitely not one of the most visited, famous especially for the organ door with the painting depicting the Story of Tobias attributed to Gianantonio Guardi. When my stomach began to rumble I crossed the bridge and went to Caco Nero. Take the time to note the wooden cross at the foot of the bridge. By the way, here I met an illustrious man, Enea (Aeneas), and was forced by him to stop and entertain a little exchange of courtesies until he decided he was too important for me and left me there on my own...
My stop at Caco Nero was very pleasant. I just love this place, quite quiet (even if it's literally 3 minutes from Santa Margherita, people are lazy), a little hipster -yes, let's admit it- with good food, a super cool atmosphere, lovely music and, most importantly, friendly, helpful and relaxed people (after 7 months of blogging, I am telling you that courtesy is my number 1 priority). I like it because I feel at ease, can stay there as long as I want and if I don't have my book, they have loads of super cool fashion, design and contemporary art magazines.
The food offer, then, is just great. A short menu (in Venice short means fresh, remember this!) that changes daily and lots of both sweet and savoury cakes. I had a salad and thought it was delicious, with baby spinach leaves, mushrooms, walnuts, parmesan, lemon, coriander and crunchy wholewheat bread crostini (12,00 euros in total). Finally a place that offers creative salads (I am so bored of the usual mixed lettuce with tomatoes and grated carrots, come on ... where in 2017!!!), soups and vegetables. It works mainly with locals, university students and professors from Monday to Friday at lunch time, so it's generally quiet and there is a nice positive vibe, really. I drank tea, but they also have craft beer and a well selected offer of wine by glass (try Vignalta).
When I was done, I went back via Calle Lunga San Barnaba, stopped to buy a couple of beers for Vito in a wine shop and, because I still had a little sweet craving to satisfy, went to Nono Colussi for a cream puff (well, it actually had eggnog). Oh my gosh... it was sooo good. This pastry shop opened in 1956 and continues to be run by Franco Colussi (the nonno), who was born in 1935, started to work in a pastry laboratory when he was 11 years old and opened his own at 21.
Dal Nono Colussi is renown for the Focaccia, a traditional dry Christmas cake that you can now find all year round, which is the most expensive in Venice (40,00 euros a kilo) but also among the best, if not the best. I think you should taste it, it really is a must have Venetian delicacy and if a big one is too much for you, try their mini ones for 2,50 to accompany with a coffee. Their creams are amazing too, like the jams and the savoury tarts. When you step in, it will be Marina, the granddaughter, to greet you; she wanted to learn the technique from her grandfather and continue the family business and I am very happy about this, a little gem in the Venetian sweet universe, where attention for quality and ingredients is a must and the artisanal production remains.
I was about to go home when I received a text from a friend, so I went back to Santa Margherita for a final coffee before closing myself in the house with no distractions... Campo Santa Margherita is full of bars, most of which offer more or less the same things at the same prices, thus...my criterion is the kindness of the people working behind the counter and my favourite spot is definitely Imagina Cafe. I can't remember their names, but the girl is the nicest person on earth, smart, witty and extremely helpful, with red hair and big brown eyes that speak their own language. I just had a coffee and gossiped a little before leaving.
It was time to go home so I left and took the long way, going back via Accademia, Calle XXII Marzo and Saint Mark's, where I stopped at Studium to buy a few books for our upcoming journey (yes, tomorrow we are leaving for Dublin! I am so happy!). If you are looking for books in English, French, Spanish and German, Studium is the best bookshop in the city, in fact it has a great selection of contemporary novels, essays and so on (not just classics).
At that point my social life for the day was basically finished, but if you have the chance spend a whole day in Dorsoduro and I recommend you go to the deeper areas, the less explored ones that, though, have a magic all of their own. From the Accademia Bridge, you could first go left and do the triangle of museums, then go back along the Zattere and from there take the inner streets and head towards Angelo Raffaele and Santa Marta. You will be surprised by the beauty that our very normal everyday life hides and I have a feeling you will end up preferring these quieter areas to the heart of the city.
Other places I like in Dorsoduro: