I’ve been looking forward to this trip for months. Well, since last September when I booked a flight to Venice and a room at one of the loveliest places I’ve stayed – Hotel Al Ponte Mocenigo. I’ve written about it before, a perfect place for the single traveller to stay. However, this time I’m very pleased to have my friend Annie with me.
Since I last came in 2008, it’s now possible to get a water bus directly from the airport to San Stae, and from there it’s barely a two-minute walk to the hotel. As we arrived, Sandro, one of the owners was on his way home but welcomed me back. Soon we were settling into our beautiful room – one I’ve stayed in before and with a lovely view (in photo above). But it was soon time to head out for a walk – and ice cream. Gelateria San Stae is nearby and sells wonderful gelati. With two cups in hand, Annie and I slowly made our way towards the Rialto.
Being Monday, the market is closed and we were also told by the hotel that many restaurants were closed too as there’s no fish market today. However, even in the drizzling rain and grey, Venice is beautiful. Just past the marketplace we stopped in Campo San Giacometto and went into Osteria Bancogiro bar for a coffee. But seeing the delicious cicchetti – a kind of Venetian tapas – we convinced ourselves it must be time for prosecco and snacks. After all, we may have just had ice cream but – we remembered – we missed out on lunch!
Two glasses of excellent prosecco and three delicious cicchetti came to just €11, proving that Venice doesn’t have to be expensive. And our ice creams had only cost €2 each for a two-flavour cup. Then we headed on to cross the Rialto Bridge and passed on through narrow calle eventually emerging into St Mark’s Square.
A circular route took us back to the Rialto and we headed back to the hotel for a bit of time to relax before finding somewhere for dinner.
The hotel receptionist recommended a few places nearby – and open on Monday! We opted for Muro Pizza & Cucina in Campiello della Spezier – literally just a hundred metres or so down the road – or, more correctly, the canal. This was also in my Lonely Planet ‘Encounter’ guide to Venice. Its bare brick wall one side and muted browns interior made it a modern and sophisticated place for a pizza. Although, as we’d been told, there was pretty much any kind of food you might want apart from pizza. In the end, I didn’t have pizza though Annie did – and it was very good. We both chose Sweet & Sour Sardines Venetian Style – i.e. with lots of slowly fried and smoothly soft onion – and I had some delicious pasta as a main: tagliolini with sea bass, fresh tomatoes and basil, and it was wonderful; really good.
So, first day in Venice has ended nicely. Happily full and mellow, it’s an early night for us girls after a long day … But there’s lots to look forward to tomorrow!