Lido, my to-go-island whenever I want to relax. In between the lagoon and the sea, this long and narrow limb of land perfumes of saltiness and seaweeds. Maybe some may not like this odour, but on me it has a magical effect, as it triggers both my energy and imagination. Besides, my body is starting to feel spring and craves sunshine and vitamin D, so yesterday I hopped on a vaporetto and headed to the place where I was born.
I had time, as a couple of jobs I was supposed to do have been moved to mid March and it is my husband the unlucky one who has to work every day -and night- in this period of Carnival. So I decided to walk from the centre to Malamocco. It's a very long walk, but I have good legs and a lot of will. Once the vaporetto arrived at Lido, I crossed the Gran Viale -stopping for a quick coffee and croissant at Canton del Gallo (their pastries are superb!!!)- and reached the structure called Blue Moon, from where you access to the beach.
Along the shore, couples walking their dogs, small groups of friends and people on their own, just like me, jogging or simply enjoying the first signs of the new season. Normality, absolute normality. The Lido, a place we kind of take for granted here, but that I have come to appreciate as a place of peace and wilderness. I arrived at the height of the Hotel Excelsior, testimony of a glorious past now forgotten, then I left the beach and proceeded along Lungomare Marconi, where I met a friend of my mum's, until I arrived at the foot of Murazzi.
Murazzi is the beach with little sand and a lot of stones. It's a public space, no private huts or whatsoever, and it's one of the most loved locations by the local inhabitants. Consider that, after all, we are Italians and we need the sun, don't blame us... it's in our veins! So, be it winter, spring, summer or autumn, as long as the sun is shining... you will see people walking, cycling and doing all sorts of outdoor sports here. My father used to jog jumping from one stone to the other, to improve his reflexes... brave man! Personally, I would never do it and neither his friends!
On Murazzi you will also see some self-built wooden huts, which -though- are not legal and every now and then get removed by the local police. Sorry, but I've never been able to understand this fact: we live in a country that gives parliamentary immunity to Salvini (whose party stole quite a significant amount of tax money), but that punishes passionate locals that collect woods, keep the beach clean (yes, they voluntarily pick up all the plastic bottles and other rubbish, without anyone asking...) and use their skills to create beautiful huts in 100% natural materials... weird, ah? Anyway... I suppose that like the song says, it's a mad mad world we're living in.
From Murazzi, you will have the sea to your left, while to your right you will see houses alternating with green areas. The further you go, the more vegetable gardens you will see. You will also encounter the soccer and five-a-side courts, the swimming pool, the tennis court and more. Lido, in fact, is the island of sports, so many the gyms and activities available. I'm also planning to take you soon to the horse riding area, I'm just waiting for the temperature to get a little warmer!
I kept walking and walking, until I turned before Malamocco and walked through the fields. I wanted to take some pictures next to a small canal, but while I was going there crossing the high grass, a gigantic nutria jumped out of a bush and I almost had a heart attack!!!! Sorry, but I fled fast and had no intention of going back there, so big that animal seemed to me... I opted to proceed along the street, until I reached the old town of Malamocco (once called Matamauco), first seat of the Venetian government.
Differently from the rest of the Lido, where the houses are of all styles (modern, mountain-like, liberty, and so on...), Malamocco looks like Murano or Burano. It's a small Venice in the middle of the Lido! The walls of people's homes are of the colours of the rainbow, there are three small osterie where the local pensioners meet up to chat in front of an ombra and a nibble and you can see the old signs of past activities. Arches, porticos and narrow streets that sometimes are called calle (and not via) make this ancient little world shine of a unique and light.
I had a walk around and, of course, I kept meeting people. Beware that here people are eager to speak to you, so be ready to make friends! I was looking for a way to say that tourists should stop trying to do what the locals do, then my friend Marjorie of OG Venice shared this brilliant piece entitled 'Stop Telling Me To Travel Like a Local' posted on Bonappetit.com (which I suggest you to read) and thought the concept had been expressed perfectly. In fact, throughout the day, people kept speaking to me. While on Murazzi, an elderly man from Venice, when he saw I was photographing the huts, started telling me about them, about how he builds them and of the times the police arrives to pull them down. Then in Malamocco, when I stopped at Trattoria Scarso, another man (who thought I was a foreigner) started chatting to me, curious about what I was doing in Malamocco, and then ... well, you see the hand holding the glass of wine in the picture below? Well... it's of a girl I met that day called Francesca, who proved so nice to be my hand model despite she never having seen me before!
So, what I can say is that if you are not a first time visitor and have time... just explore and be open to whatever possibility life reserves for you. Who knows what could happen or who we could meet? Maybe you could even fall in love and move here forever... wouldn't that be great?!
Anyway, going back to my day, as already mentioned, after all that walking and talking, I was hungry! So I went to Trattoria Scarso. In this osteria it's possible to either sit down for a proper meal or to have a quick cicheto, so I opted for the latter and sat outside. I drank a glass of wine and ate two grilled squids (yum!!!!) and a huge slice of polenta with baccalà mantecato (creamed stockfish). In case you are curious, I spent 8 euros for everything. The place is not fancy, but I like it. It's authentic, with an inside room and a beautiful garden where in summer it's just lovely to have dinner. The area for cicheti is the one where the bar is, and it's also possible to sit without paying table service, and the same is true for the tables outside, just in front of the bar.
I was happy! I wandered around another while and met another old friend. After some more chats... I took a bus and went back to Lido. The weather was changing and the wind getting chilly, but I know spring is behind the door and I am ready for it!
This was more or less my day and I do recommend to head as far as Malamocco if you have time! I will write more about it in the coming warmer months, in the meanwhile I wish you a lovely weekend!