UPDATE for 2019: The vegetarian restaurant mentioned has closed and now at the same address you will find Birreria Madonna Nera, a brewery offering grilled meat and salads.
Spring and Saturday, two beautifully sounding words that begin with the letter S! And this weekend both Vito and I were totally free and had nothing to do but enjoy our day. How wonderful! In this post, in fact, I'll be sharing what we did during our wanderings and introduce you to a local association.
We took it extremely easy and got out of the house at around 10 am. We walked along Riva degli Schiavoni, which at that time is already very busy. Once passed the Ca' di Dio bridge, the situation gets much better and relaxation can start! We were undecided whether to go to the beach or do something in the city, so we ended up doing a bit of both. We turned in Via Garibaldi, had a coffee at Hopera and then turned again in Viale Garibaldi.
From the gate you can see the proud figure of the patriot holding his rifle on the top of the round fountain and just below him, the lion. Normally, you would see a group of kids surrounding the fountain, all excited because of the turtles. At the end of the viale there is Caffè La Serra on the left and the Bochaleri garden on the right.
Bochaleri is also the name of the association of ceramists that organises courses for children and adults. Every once in a while they set up tables in the garden and people are welcomed to enter, touch the production with hands and learn more about materials and working techniques. The people are very friendly and the entrance is free. Feel free to wander around, nobody will push you to buy (although, let me warn you, you will want everything!).
Everything is beautiful. When we went there were two women: Giuliana Rolli, a ceramist from Rome long adopted by the lagoon, and Nadia of SVO Ceramica. They must both be hard workers, because the objects exposed were quite numerous and all so very tempting! Giuliana masters various techniques, but her most sold pieces remain the small bowls, plates, cups and saucers with stylised cats and other animals. Some time ago I bought two salt and pepper sets for two different friends, one with a black cat and the other with a gondola, but didn't know the lady lived here and was so nice. I also love the raku dishes and cups.
Nadia's production also impressed me (so much that in the end I ended up buying two gorgeous bowls from her...). Her work also includes earrings and other jewellery, which would really make a lovely gift. Both of them accept orders and can be contacted directly for further info. The garden has a lovely atmosphere, casual and easy-going, with people of all ages.
The Bochaleri, in fact, shares the space with the Gruppo Podistico Odeon, another association. This was born as a sport association, but what happened is simply that the members have grown old so now they don't practice sports anymore but rather than staying home, they meet up and organise occasional charity lunches or dinners.
Before leaving we met the owner of the house, a striped white and grey cat, and then took a vaporetto for Lido, where we had our usual lunch at Bio Sound System. It has become a sort of ritual, not only because Davide is a friend, the place is really handy to reach and the value for money very very good, but also because we really enjoy the food. This time, as a starter we shared some bruschette with tomato, garlic, oregano and olive oil. Simple, delicious and very flavoursome. To follow, Vito had melanzane alla parmigiana, while I had baked falafel with carrots, tzatziki and hummus. So good!
When we finished we wanted to see the sea and headed towards Blue Moon, at the end of Gran Viale. The bars and kiosks on the Lido have already opened for the summer season and there were lots of people enjoying drinks and ice-creams. On the shore, some children were busy building sand castles, while their parents were savouring those few moments of peace. We walked right, in the direction of the Hotel Excelsior, and sat on a rock for a while, leafing through the papers and hoping to get a little bit tanned too.
We would have stayed there forever, if it wasn't that we had friends over for dinner and needed to finish the shopping and get home in time to cook something decent. On our way back, I did find the time to stop at Magiche Voglie, my favourite ice-cream shop in the Gran Viale. Usually I go for the full experience and take their revisited version of panna in ghiaccio, served on a cone and topped with dark chocolate, but this time I only had a scoop of yogurt, not to spoil my appetite. As already mentioned, we went home, but if you have nothing planned my suggestions is stay in Lido, have your aperitif on the beach and then conclude your evening with a nice pizza. [For further suggestions on where to eat, you can refer to My Lido Food Guide]