• Nicoletta Fornaro

Wandering from Saint Mark's to Castello and discovering Salumeria, a new-and pretty cool-cicchet


Okay, okay, winter has not begun yet... but believe me, in Venice it is really cold right now! This week we had a perturbation from the Artic and the air is so freezing that whenever I take off my gloves to take a picture the blood in my hands stops circulating and the tips of my fingers become white. Still, things must get done and I have to oblige myself to go out and see people! Some weeks ago, my husband had told me of a new place opened by an acquaintance of his in Via Garibaldi and I was curious, so today this our destination.

The wine bar is called Salumeria, but let's start from the beginning. When I left my house, I took the long way because I wanted to pop by the Studium bookshop to see if the new Dream of Venice book had arrived, so after that I passed through Saint Mark's Square and walked along Riva deli Schiavoni. The sky kept changing, a moment the colours were bright and intense, the moment afterward they seemed to fade away. Although I jog these stones every morning, I still love to do this walk and -incredibly and unexpectedly- the city seems empty this week and I just have to take advantage of this.

Once past the Arsenale, I turned in Via Garibaldi and looked for the place. I knew where it was because the location is -as the name suggests- an old grocery shop and, in fact, the SALUMERIA sign is the original one! Beautiful! It had been closed for ages, some years ago a group of artists from Palermo (Sicily) held an exhibition there and it stayed open for a few months, but then nothing... now, finally, the place has been restored and is open to the public!

By the way, as soon as I walked in, I realised I knew the chef too! His name is Marco Ginapri and he has been working in the industry for ages (he also told me that he works as private home chef, so in case you want to have a different experience just write him or give him a call). Anyway, at Salumeria the focus is all on Venetianess, but in a truly authentic way. Beware, in fact, that the reference audience in Via Garibaldi are the locals! This street is really one of the few places in Venice where one can experience some moments of very normal everyday life! And this wine bar is really cool!!!!

Not just the design, which is contemporary, minimal, warm and welcoming all at the same time, but also the quality of the food! You don't know how happy I am I can finally have real quality cicchetti (and not just small sandwiches) to nibble on in this street! The wine offered by the glass is well selected, so with less than 10 euros I can easily enjoy something gourmet and fresh. Thank you guys!!!! I also think they did a great job in making this place cosy.

Being an ex grocery shop, there used to be lots of nails hanging from the wooden beams to expose the merchandise (in this case, it was meat). Now, instead, there are some beautiful photos (by the way, the one depicting Saint Mark's with high water, which was used for the 2017 Nikon album, is by Daniele Nalesso, a dear friend of mine, one of the best photographers in Venice, so kind that if I need anything he just lends me his equipment) and prints, a blackboard with the list of wine offered by the glass and some small mosaics. Lovely! But now let's discuss what is important: the food!

Well, the offer is great: fresh fish, cured meats, cheese, small sandwiches, a daily lasagna and some yummy vegetables! As previously mentioned, I was freezing so I immediately asked for a glass of red and was served a Pinot Noir Kossler. Then I opted for a mix of small nibbles. The first thing I tried was the roast potatoes and taggiasche olives skewer. Y U M !!!!! Potatoes, whether fried, boiled or baked , are always a certainty!

Then I went to the other room and sat down on a barrel, relaxing with my magazine and waiting for more. (Please note, there is no table service: it is a cicchetti place, so you are not charged the so-called coperto and just need to choose what you want and take it to your table). I tried the pumpkin in saor and loved it! I liked the bread with which it was served too, a sort of twisted loaf with both white and brown flours! When Marco came to check if everything was all right I complimented him, but he said that he wasn't happy because he normally prepares it in a different way and disagreed with me. But listen, I am the blogger and I'm telling you it was delicious it even in this temporary version!

To fill my tummy, I needed something else and opted for a delicious warm salad with potatoes, scallops and tardive radicchio from Treviso. It may not look good, but it was amazing! It was baked in an oven bag, so it kept all the flavours and was lovely and moist. Marco re-heated it a moment and when he opened the bag, the tempting perfume of the food was making my mouth water... I was in heaven! The only negative aspect is that it didn't last long, I was hungry and ate fast.

When I was done, I relaxed a few more minutes and exchanged a couple of words. The offer changes accordingly to the season, but -to give you an idea- the cicchetti range from 2 euros to 9 maximum (and that is the price of a fresh fish lasagna...which you could easily share with another person), the wine by glass too ranges from 2.50 to 6.00 euros, so I am really enthusiastic! They also organise mini events and soon there is going to be a champagne and oyster soiree, so I suppose I will have to go back and keep you posted!

The staff was very nice and I would have stayed there forever... but, you know, we all need to work and I seriously had to leave, so I drank a quick espresso and went back inwards via Arsenale.

If you have time, I suggest you walk all the way down Via Garibaldi and visit Sant'Anna first and then the beautiful San Pietro area, with its magnificent church and peaceful atmosphere. I had to go (but I'll take you there soon!), so I just took one of the most photographed calli in Venice, with its cute colourful bricks, the two wells and the red building, former seat of the communist party, famous worldwide for its vicinity with the "capitello votivo" (wayside shrine), and went towards the centre.

But a walk in Castello is definitely a must do thing in Venice, whether you are a visitor, a local or an ex-pat living here, so when you'll find yourself in Via Garibaldi and your stomach will start rumbling... I highly recommend trying Salumeria: kind and friendly staff, great offer of quality cicchetti and wine and excellent value for money!

Talk to you soon!

SALVMERIA Address: Castello 1769 (Via Garibaldi), 30122 Venezia

Phone: +39 041 5233971

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