Chasing Cicchetti in Venice

Last week, we were wrapping up a quick shopping trip for art and one-of-a-kinds in Italy, when we needed to get to back to France for the weekend. The least expensive flight actually left from Venice (I swear it did, Meg!), so we hopped on a train and decided to spend the night there.  Having done no advance planning, we were a little taken aback by the number of people dressed in flamboyant  medieval costumes … until we realized that we had actually timed our visit with Venice’s very celebrated Carnival!

Hmmm ... why were people dressed like this?

Despite the lure of festivities, I’m not one for huge crowds so we chose to bypass most of the city’s tourist attractions and taking a cue from a very timely New York Times article about Venice’s “Cicchetti,” focused our 12 hours on food.  (Read  Cicchetti are the Italian equivalent of the Spanish Tapa, usually consisting of a marriage of fresh local flavors combined into delectable small bites.

Venice cicchetti plate with photo by Andrea Wyner for NY-Times

The NY Times, noting that the food in Venice is often expensive and not terribly exciting, had very conveniently published the address of six Cicchetti “bars” around the city, which they insisted served the best and freshest food at the most affordable price.  That was enough for us!  We made it our mission to hunt down every one.

Chasing Cichetti took us all over the back alleys of Venice and to some of the most scenic watercolor views

This photo from one of the back alleys reminds me of the humorist Robert Benchley's famous telegram to his editors at the New Yorker magazine after arriving in Venice, "Streets full of water. Please advise."

In one of the back alleys we saw a man snipping artichokes, from his barge on the canal. Maybe for Cicchetti?

The colors of the buildings, the faded stucco, the light ... oh my!

Every time we turned a corner the view was a "gasp," like this one from the Ponte dell'Academia

View of Chiesa di San Giorgio Maggiore rom St. Mark's Square

Of course all roads and back alleys in Venice eventually lead to St. Mark’s so, well fed and happily wined,  we wound our way to the bustling craziness of this magnificent Square.  There we captured a different flavor of the city – the Baroque exuberance of people dressed in flamboyant costumes and all too happy to pose for the camera.  The colors were sensational against the fading backdrop of the soft evening light.

Loved the contrast of the rich colors against the faded backdrop of the Venetian light

More drama!

This may be my favorite picture. The colors!

We were too late to catch the Canaletto exhibit at the Doge's Palace, which I regret deeply, as I have always loved his work.  But we did squeeze in a quick visit to St. Mark's Basilica, where I was entirely focused on the floor!

The floor of the Basilica is made up of thousands of little marble tiles reflecting incredible workmanship -- and light.

An lively carpet of mosaic tile waves its way through the nave of the Basilica

Call me crazy, but I kept thinking how contemporary tile designs are influenced by these intricate works of art.

Is it too much of  a stretch that St. Mark's reminds me of some of my favorite  Instagram posts, like this one  from Tonic Design Studio? Ovviamente, no!

We said arrivederci to Venice early in the morning with a breathtaking view from our boat to the airport.

I hadn’t been to Venice in years, and I forgot about its extraordinary spell.  The beauty of the architecture and the soft colors of the aged stucco bathed in light and reflected in the water make a magical and unique tableau. To view Venice, as we did, on a secret mission that took us up and down miniscule alleys in labyrinth-like circles, exposing us to the heart of the city, away from the tourist beaten path, was an adventure in itself.  And knowing that there was a cicchetti award at the end of every tunnel (with a small splash of white wine) was the greatest way to drink it all in! Viva Venezia.

Ta ta,


Meet Anne + Meg

What happens when two committed Francophiles, art lovers and design junkies get together over a bottle of red wine? A fine art gallery with a little je ne sais quoi is born, followed a few years later by its home furnishings and décor sibling.

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What happens when two committed Francophiles, art lovers and design junkies get together over a bottle of red wine? A fine art gallery with a little je ne sais quoi is born, followed a few years later by its home furnishings and décor sibling.

  • What fun you two must have had! Love seeing all the Costumed people you shared
    Great pics! Your rainbow person with fan pic looks like it would be interesting & fun to paint also.
    Hope you two got a chance to see some glass artists work while you were there.
    Italy is Beautiful! I got to paint in Tuscany for 17 days last Sept long flight but worth it! KSG

    Kim Shuckhart Gunns

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