What an amazing day. It was last Friday, the day before the beginning of Carnival, the city still calm and the sky so clear it would have been a sin to stay home. To do myself some good and savour the last moments of peace before the storm, I decided to head to Cannaregio and simply wander around. Besides, it had been a while since my last time at sullaluna, that lovely teahouse and bookshop I have already told you about (see previous post), and I was kind of missing it.
When I arrived at Fondamenta della Misericordia, the sun was so hot that I took off my jacket. A man was sitting on the front steps of the Scuola Grande reading the papers, while the various osterie and restaurants along the fondamenta were about to open. My initial plan was to go as far as the ghetto and buy some almond biscuits at Panificio Giovanni Volpe (the only kosher bakery in Venice, highly recommended!), but then I got distracted taking pictures and completely forgot about it.
I turned right after the restaurant Rioba, crossed the bridge that leads to Campo Do Mori and turned right again to go towards the Abbazia. I don't know exactly what it is about that place that makes it so magical, but every time I go I remain enchanted and think it is an outstanding location for any sort of photoshoot. Anyway, before I was able to reach out for my camera, my phone rang. I didn't know the number and when I replied on the other side there was Carlo Mion, a journalist of the local newspaper La Nuova Venezia.
Mr Mion is a crime reporter based outside Venice, and a couple of years ago (in 2016, if I'm not mistaken) he started a weekly column dedicated to and called Venetians. Every week he features three stories of people who were either born or -anyway- live in Venice, a sort of story of Venice beyond tourism. So, he asked me if I was free on the same day to meet and a have a brief chat. How nice! We agreed to meet at 1 pm in front of the Scuola Grande, so considering I still had time, I proceeded with my explorations, until I started to feel hungry and went to sullaluna.
The place was bright and luminous as always, with its strong atmosphere of peace. What I love about that teahouse and bookshop is that its owners have opened it with the intention of doing something for the city. In fact, it organises a lot of workshops for the local children and it is clear from the high quality choices of both the ingredients and the books/educational activities that the target audience are families and all individuals looking for peace, relaxation, organic produce, good reads and even better company.
Most of the illustrated books are for children, then there are lots of inviting -and carefully selected- cookery books and biographies. I have to say that I bought quite a few presents here, but that day, though, I didn't want to buy a book, so I just brought a new supplement of La Repubblica called Live, about food, health and beauty. I don't know if I ever told you, but my husband has a fixation with newspapers. Even though he has no time to fully read them, he buys them everyday and at the weekend (thus, Friday, Saturday and Sundays!!!), in addition to his usuals, he buys additional supplements and papers (my favourite being La Domenica del Sole 24 ore and his La Lettura of Corriere della Sera). So, it was him who got me the supplement, which I really enjoyed.
I was served by a lovely woman named Elena, an ever smiling blonde who always makes me feel at home. I sat on the longer wooden table, with another girl from Northern Europe who was happily savouring her ricottina. I asked for a green tea first, then I ordered a pumpkin and leek soup, served with toasted organic bread. Not only was it beautiful, it also tasted exquisite! I was afraid it was going to be overly sweet, but instead it was just perfect. That small teahouse may have a short menu, but all that it offers is amazing and you can be sure that whatever you choose, you will land on your feet. As previously mentioned, all produce is organic and, whenever possible, the veg arrives straight from the nearby island of Sant'Erasmo. The cakes and biscuits too are delicious, besides there are lots of gluten-free and vegan options for those who need to follow certain dietary restrictions. As some of you may know, I'm more on the savoury side, so I highly recommend trying the torte salate (mini savoury pies) and the quiches.
I was feeling fulfilled. Sitting in a beautiful place on a beautiful day, leafing through my supplement, eating, drinking and taking pictures. I took my time, but when I glanced at the clock I realised I had to get a move on, so I paid and left.
My meeting with Mr Mion was incredibly pleasant. We sat kissed by the sun and he proved to be a kind hearted and curious man. I appreciated that he immediately admitted to be campagnolo (from the countryside, thus not Venetian). We spoke about general things and he gave me lots of hints on people to contact and possible posts I could write. For him, this Venetians column is a very positive fact, which not only has allowed him to focus on something different from crimes and murders, but has also put him in contact with loving and kind people, whose names won't be written in any history chronicle, but that represent the core of my city. So, even if you speak a poor Italian, I invite you to browse through his Facebook page and look at the faces of the real and authentic individuals that compose our community, the people I love the most ...
Anyway, going back to us, I hope I gave you some inspiration on how to spend a lovely and easy going day in Cannaregio, with a stop in a homely and welcoming place like sullaluna.
Bye for now and speak to you soon!
XXX from Venezia