by Niki Kefala
Venice is a magical place. I have been there many times for the Venice Film Festival and I loved it! Marble palaces vanish into silent fogs, many little bridges and labyrinthine streets create a city that looks like a fairy tale. Just like its world-famous Carnevale, Venice thrives on mystery from the secret passageways that riddle Gothic Palazzo Ducale, to the esoteric powers of the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. Every narrow backstreets in this dreamy city, hides something amazing… And don’t leave Venice without something made of Murano glass.
Dress up: If you are wondering what to wear in this bella citta, I would recommend you comfortable flatties or trainers or even gladiator sandals that are indispensable for tearing around during the day. Make an effort to be stylish (you are in Italy after all), so dresses would be appropriate. Don’t wear high heels and beware of tripping on one of the many ponte (bridges). If you visit the city in the Aqua Alta season (October-March) when the city often floods, a pair of wellies comes in very handy.
Like home: I stayed at the hotel Nuovo Teson at Castello area. It’s set in a historic building of 3 floors, near the Arsenale water-bus stop and 300 metres from Saint Mark’s Square. Small, cute rooms, very clean and the staff is very helpful. The location is also perfect.
Yummy: Italian cuisine with its simple ingredients, and fabulous flavors is one of the most delicious on the world. You are in Venice so you must eat fish. The choice is yours as the menu includes everything from the sea world. Originally known as part of ‘cucina povera’ (food of the poor), polenta is now considered to be a gourmet food and a must to eat. Risi i Bisi is offered in most Venetian restaurants and homes. This simple and tasty dish is a unique combination of soup and thick risotto. Another choice is the Fritelle alla Veneziane that are small, fried, sweet doughnuts made of flour, eggs, sugar, lemon, and Marsala. Venetians have exceptional expertise with pastries and ‘i dolci’ (sweets). Eat Tiramisù (dessert made of sponge cake soaked in coffee, Marsala wine, cocoa, and mascarpone cheese) and you will taste the heaven.
The three words you must know if you are visiting Venice.
Vaporetto: means ferry, water bus
Ponte: means bridge
Chiesa: means church