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Floating Gastronomy – in Venice

Venice envelops you in its melancholy, mist and light. It is also soothing. If you let yourself drift along that winding canal that dominates the city, your visit will flow, too. Notice how there are no cars and that, despite the flood of tourists that enter the city each day, this is a silent destination. Whether you find yourself on a bridge, at an intersection, in the heart of the Campo or in a narrow alleyway, wherever you feel famished, your deliverance is at hand. Not only because you can get anywhere fast on a gondola, but because the capital of Veneto is full of places to enjoy the cuisine. Either at street level or up high, with those views that swayed and swathed writers and intellectuals of all eras. Following are some of those spots with a sparkle of their own and a unique offering.

Given Venice’s seafaring nature, what could be better than to order and savour the city’s fresh fish? A prime spot for eating fish virtually from the market to your plate is the Antiche Carampane for its proximity to the Rialto Market. This simple, family restaurant is frequented by Venetians who know where to find the best of the best, as well as by well-informed celebrities. Here you will witness respect for food and for Venice’s most characteristic culinary tradition, both on and off the menu.

Street Food
In Venice you will wander about willy-nilly to come to grips with its soul. If time is short for having a relaxed meal, an advisable option is the street food. A tramezzino (wedge-shaped sandwich) at some café, or a pizza al taglio (sliced pizza) at Antico Forno, are both generous snacks. But, if you’re after something more authentic without having to sit down to it, better settle for Acqua & Mais, a dainty eatery which makes the most out of the Venetian culinary repertoire when it comes to a practical packaged takeaway. Your eyes will pop out at the fried fish, croquettes, polenta and the classic creamed codfish.

The Confectionery
Here there are two historic and thus essential locations. Two pastry shops, quite a long way from each other, have coexisted as successful local landmarks. However, each one has evolved differently over the years. At Rosa Salva they still serve classic single-helping pastries, buns and ice-creams in an atmosphere more akin to a bar. Colussi, for its part, is celebrated for its focaccia veneziana, which resembles panettone or sweet bread in shape and tastes like a really good ensaimada. It is ideal when eaten with hot chocolate from the same establishment, where they make dough and bake on the premises every day.

Wine and Glasses
Estro - Vino e Cucina is a modern gastrobar and wine bar with a lot of character where you can eat typical Italian dishes and raw fish – a hallmark of the Italo-Japanese chef, Mashiro Homma – marinated in the wine of your choice from among a wide selection within view of the tables. The wine has a “double label” and can also be purchased.

The historical Osteria ai Pugni focuses on aperitifs, sausage boards with regional fare, a variety of different flavoured croquettes and the typical tramezzini with unusual fillings. A striking feature is their wine, served by the glass, which can be savoured in a relaxed atmosphere alongside the Ponte dei Pugni, in the heart of the Dorsoduro district.

Paradiso Perduto
You can either sit at the bar or at one of the many tables in this huge, bustling restaurant which provides live music on Monday nights to fire the after-dinner ambience. Their forte is large helpings of homemade dishes. Their fresh fish comes highly recommended – complete with matching side dishes or contorni (vegetables, field mushrooms or roast potatoes)–as do the lasagna, fagioli (beans) and tiramisu, a dessert that originated in Venice. Keith Richards once played the piano here…

The Vegetarian Streak
The fact that you have to book in advance for La Zucca is the best compliment you can pay it. The artificers of the restaurant have managed to remain faithful to the origins of the business, where pumpkin is the major attraction and the basis of many of the homemade dishes on the reasonably priced menu.

If you can afford it, the Hotel Danieli is one of those places that leave their mark on you. Commensurate with the beauty of Venice, this luxury hotel is part of the city’s living history. It is just two-minutes’ walk from St. Mark’s Square and its two highly distinct buildings – the rooms in each hardly resemble one another – recreate the splendour of times past with an evocative atmosphere that fits in well with their 21st-century service. Their majestic Carnival ball, held near the lounge, is celebrated, while you can have a unique, enogastronomic experience in their new Wine Suite. You can also have one in the Danieli restaurant and terrace, a spot which entices you with its views over the Grand Canal and the Adriatic, as does the creative fare provided by their executive chef, Dario Parascandolo, featuring perennial classics and in-house recipes based on local products.

If you appreciate little gifts and good craftsmanship, treat yourself to a book marker, a notebook, a print, a postcard or one of the hand-painted recipe books by the artist, Nicola Tenderini. You cannot leave Venice without a keepsake that takes you back to the city, as far away as you might be.

I bet you can’t wait to delight in fine Venetian cuisine. Check out our flights here.

Text and photos by Carme Gasull and Belén Parra from Gastronomistas

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Aveiro – The Portuguese Venice

The unique lie of the land has endowed this enclave with canals plied by colourful boats known as moliceiros, decorated in the style of Venetian gondolas. This has led it to be nicknamed “The Portuguese Venice”.

The town centre is criss-crossed by these canals, which visitors must take to reach its sights, particularly in the old quarter of Boira Mar with its traditional houses and its estuary salt pans. A feature well worth observing are the typical azulejo-tiled facades. These veritable works of street art are all over Aveiro.

Aveiro has a vintage appearance which nevertheless blends well with modernity. This mix is partly the result of the proximity of the town’s university, which makes for a lively atmosphere at virtually any time of the year.

And Confectionery Too

If you’re visiting Oporto, you have the perfect excuse to head for this unusual town, which you are sure to enjoy. Don’t forget to try their typical ovos moles, a delicious confectionery originally made by the nuns of the Convent of Jesus. Legend places its origins in this convent around the 16th century. One of the conditions of the nuns’ oath of poverty was to not eat eggs. Despite using lots of them in the confectionery they made, a huge surplus built up month after month. According to period documents, this stockpile was added to by large amounts of sugar the nuns were allocated by Manuel I of Portugal. The sugar, eggs and the stamina to stir this sweet mixture for hours on end yielded what we now know as Aveiro’s ovos moles.

The recipe has hardly changed at all, although many confectioners now round off the process using a lukewarm syrup to which the eggs are added, and the mixture is stirred over a slow fire. The ovos moles are coated with wafer and normally moulded into the shapes of sea creatures, notably seashells, conches and fish. The sweet flavour is reminiscent of a Spanish, egg-yolk candy  known as yemas de Santa Teresa de Ávila.

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Text by Tensi Sánchez de http://www.actitudesmgz.com

Photos by Fernando Sanz

Texto de Tensi Sánchez de www.actitudesmgz.com

Fotos de Fernando Sanz


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Venice, 120 islands and 177 bridges

From Iñaki Makazaga by Piedra de Toque

We walked Venice at MyVuelingCity with Isabel Sanchez to discover different places in which to recover the attractiveness of European capitals. This time she guides us through the 120 islands of Venice city connected by 177 canals, within the gulf of the same name, on the Italian coast of the Adriatic Sea. “The city is sinking two millimeters a year: you have to hurry to meet with all its beauty”

Venice has always been the city of artists, entrepreneurs, traders and restless travelers, like the famous Marco Polo, who helped open the doors of the fabulous Eastern civilization to European people. And it was this talent concentration that produced the splendid flowering of Venice’s architecture, especially between the centuries 11th and 17th, when the most notable buildings, still in good condition, were built.

From Iñaki Makazaga by Piedra de Toque

Makes you want to go, right? Do it! Check out our prices here!


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Venice The Loveliest City Every Built

Venice is a city in north-eastern Italy made up of 118 little islands separated by canals and joined by bridges. It is famous because of the beauty of its setting, and its architecture, and its art. This is why the whole city, including the famed lagoon, has been designated a World Heritage Site.

It is named for the ancient Veneti people who inhabited the region in the tenth Century before Christ. The city is known variously as La Dominante, la Serenísima, the Queen of the Adriatic, the City of Water, the City of Masks, and the Floating City. In a piece inThe New York TimesLuigi Barcina described it as "the most beautiful city ever built by man”. It is universally regarded as one of Europe’s most romantic cities, where visitors can enjoy the waterway, gondolas, palazzos, old treasures, and delicious cuisine, as the water laps ceaselessly against the walls of fabulous churches and other ornate buildings. A boat ride down the Grand Canal makes you feel like a figure in an old painting.

Venice is an open-air museum. Its architecture, monuments, and buildings reflect its Byzantine heritage, and nowhere more strikingly than in the mosaics of the Basilica de San Marcos. Very near the Piazza de San Marcos (St. Mark’s Square),we find the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace), where the city’s ruler once dwelled, and which exemplifies the ostentation of the Renaissance period. Visitors may descend to the gloomy palace dungeons, and then get some fresh air on the famous Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs), where prisoners often caught their last glimpse of the Adriatic.

The city’s main street isn’t a street at all, but the celebrated Grand Canal. This is a good place to buy a City Pass, the most economical option for moving around Venice on its vaporetto water buses, with many stops along the Grand canal.

One of the numerous mansions along the canal is the sumptuous, 14th C. Palazzo de Santa Sofia; better known as the Ca d’oro, (house of gold), because the abundant gilt in the polychrome and white marble exteriors that once made this lovely Gothic building shine like a jewel. There is also the famous Rialto bridge, which retains all the elegance that made it such a sensation when it was completed in 1591, 400 years after the first pontoon bridge was built on the site.

A city’s true character is often to be found in its markets, and Venice has two that should not be missed by visitors. One is the Erbaria product and fish market in the Rialto district, where you should check out the local asparagus and artichokes. Then there is La Pescheria for a dazzling variety of mainly local fish and seafood.

For connoisseurs of Italian cuisine, the Riva del Vinis the place to find the café or restaurant of your dreams in a quiet riverbank setting. Other excellent restaurant districts are Campo Santa Margherita, with its floating terraces, Zattere, where you can watch the sun set over the Laguna Veneto, and the streets near the fashionable Campo Giacomo di Rialto,where many Venetians take their “aperitivi” in the late afternoon. Try a Spritz and a snack of delicious codfish. The classic Venetian recipe for Spritzes, by the way, is 1/3 dry wine like Prosecco, 1/3 soda or bubbly mineral water, and 1/3 sweet Aperol or bitter Campari.

Outstanding amongst the city’s numerous museums is the Guggenheim, with possibly the continent’s best collection of European and American art from the first half of the 20th C, housed in the old Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on the Grand Canal, where it was opened in 1980 to show Peggy Guggenheim’s personal collection, masterpieces from the Gianni Mattioli collection, a garden of sculptures by Nasher, and temporary exhibitions.

To view the city in all its splendour from a distance you can take a number 42 vaporetto at the San Sacaria stop in St. Mark’s Square to the island of Murano, passing the Fondamento Nuove and stopping to visit the San Michelle cemetery, a “cemetery island”, where you can see the graves of such luminaries as Igor Stravinsky, Joseph Brodsky, Sergei Diaghilev, Ezra Pound, and Luigi Nono.

If all the water makes you hanker for a beach, there’s the legendary,Lido –a 7-mile long sandbar in the lagoon– with its many stylish cafes and restaurants.

To really discover Venice, you need to get lost there, so use the vaporettos freely and get off at any stop –the streets are safe even after dark. And a night-time visit to St. Mark’s Square is an experience you will always treasure.

Venice. There’s simply nothing like it. However often you visit, the surprises keep coming! Now’s the time to book a flight there with Vueling. Check out our prices here!

Photos: Fernando Sanz
Text: Tensi Sánchez de actitudesmgz.com

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