In Cannaregio visiting the Gesuiti church and snacking at We Crociferi
On Friday I had a lovely mother and daughter meeting. By now you must be aware that I am retracing Tintoretto's steps, thus on the list of places to re-visit there was the Gesuiti church with his Assumption of the Virgin (1555). Mum asked me if we could go together, as she enjoys these moments so much, so I picked her up at the F.ta Nove stop and went with her, knowing that she would have invited me for lunch at the nearby We Crociferi eatery.
The church is located in the campo with the same name and was founded in the 12th century by the order of the Crociferi, eventually suppressed in 1656. It was then reconstructed in 1715 by the Jesuits and the richness of decorations is really impressive. I remember how surprised I felt the first time I walked in, so different from most Venetian churches, almost a celebration of the typical baroque plasticity. Of the many paintings inside, we just focused on Tintoretto's.
Located in the altar dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin on the left transept, the painting is dated 1555. It is said that initially the work had been commissioned to the ten years younger Paolo Veronese, but that Jacopo managed to convince the donors to give him the job saying that he would have painted it with Paolo's style and colours. So he got the job... anyway, I will confess that it is not one of my favourites, yes the colours are bright and soft, the scene dynamic and touching, still -but this is just my personal taste- it doesn't move me as much as other of his works (while in the same church, in the first altar on the left, I find Titian's Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence absolutely incredible).
After about one hour mum and I were feeling cold. Visiting churches, in fact, is a perfect summer activity, while in this very moment it's still freezing! Anyway, we were quite motivated and, if you ask me, in winter we need to force ourselves to do things, otherwise I would just stay home and do nothing. We chose to have a snack at the We Crociferi cafeteria, located just next door inside a former convent. I had already written about this place (see review), but it has been a while since I actually ate there. The location never fails to impress me: two stunning cloisters with beautiful columns, a stone well, red bricks on the wall and a small terrace on the canal. What more could we ask for?
In addition to this, there is wi fi and the prices of the cafeteria are excellent, so it's a great place for me to work! In the winter months, the above rooms are used as student accommodations, while in summer it's possible to book for a short holiday. I come here every week at least for a coffee, as I find it very relaxing. Mum says it exudes the kind of spiritual atmosphere one would associate and expect from a cloister. The indoor space is beautiful too, the counter of the bar and the small kitchen area are simple, minimal and modern and the products are all of very good quality. The selections of teas and coffees are organic and most products to eat are from Slow Food Presidia.
We sat in the bright side room, made even prettier by maps and old posters of past art exhibitions and/or movies. There are some small low tables with a sort of marble texture and two higher wooden tables with stools, with drops of coloured paint on the top. There weren't many people, so we sat on the more spacious tables and immediately asked for some green tea. Then mum had a sandwich while I had a salad. The offer includes gourmet sandwiches, a variety of salads and Italian cheese and cured meat platters; there's wine, beer, organic juices and some excellent fresh drinks like bergamot and camomile which I strongly suggest to try.
Mum's sandwich was with beef bresaola, rocket salad and a seasoned cheese I can't remember the name of and it was delicious (as you can imagine, I got to taste it too!). She absolutely adores toasted sandwiches, tramezzini or -anyway- anything served between two slices of bread and that you can hold in your hands. The portion was generous and the filling nice and tasty! With regard to myself, I am committing too many sins lately and my performance (I'm talking about running here) has gone a bit down, so I decided to stay light and order a vegan salad.
Well, it was really yummy, with grilled eggplants in olive oil, zucchini scapece, tomatoes, caramelised red onions and bread aside. In case you didn't know, zucchini alla scapece is a typical souther preparation in which the zucchini are sautéed in vinegar, delicious! I also appreciated the onions with their slightly acid sweetness, so good!
We relaxed for quite a while, chatting about life, future plans, usual problems and -mostly- about our men, complaining about everyone of them except my brother. I was showing mum the catalogue of Irene's Andessner exhibition held at the Caffè Florian in 2003, when she interpreted Venetian women literally becoming them. Anyway, I'll tell you more about this soon!
We enjoyed a second pot of tea and then we had to go. In total, for 4 teas, my salad and her sandwich we spent almost 25 euros, thus about 12,50 each. Personally, I think it's very good value for money, especially if we consider the beauty of the location, the quality of the ingredients and the fact that no one will ever hurry you to leave.
So, if you are in Cannaregio a great way to spend some time -whether morning or afternoon- is to pay a visit to the church and enjoy a cosy break in this stunning location! If you are here from spring to late autumn, I also suggest checking the We Crociferi event page, as they organise many free concerts and open door cinema evenings!
A presto ;-)
Address: Cannaregio, Salizada dei Spechieri, 4877, 30121 Venezia VE
Phone: (+39) 041 5286103 Map