Venezia – food, drinks and things to do in Venice – INCLUDING RECIPE!!

Artviva offers guided tours in Venice and the surrounding Veneto area. But once you have done your Gondola Tour*, the San Marco guided tour* and the Doges Palace tour*, not to mention a Grand Canal tour*, what else can you do in Venice?

In the piazza San Marco, you could visit the Florian café, Venice’s famous place to sit and sip on a stunning, ancient environment. Don’t think you won’t pay for the experience – a coffee and a biscuit can set you back a good 20 euro! You can also have the full silver service of tea and scones as you take in the frescoes, as you look out over the stunning piazza and enjoy some serious people watching!

Dinner in Italy is traditionally from 8.30pm or later. Italians tide themselves over until that time with a pre-dinner drink and nibbles, the ‘Aperativo’. Coffee shops become bars, and in Venice the typical drink is the spritz, made from Prosecco, soda and Campari, not forgetting ice and often an olive. Bitter to the taste, light orange in colour, it is often served with a savoury snack of potato crisps, nuts or other nibbles, or even ‘tramezzini’ (Italian white-bread sandwiches served crustless in halves or quarters).

Prosecco is produced in the region and famous all around Italy and beyond. It can be sweet and served with dessert, or drier and served prior to dinner.

In terms of typical Venice meals, Venetian plates are traditionally filled with risotto or polenta for starters or even to accompany a main. For a main meal, you could try the traditional Musetto con fagioli piccanti ? Venetian sausage with beans. See below for the recipe, which we have taken from Tessa Kiros’ Venezia: food & dreams.

Tessa informs us that Musetto is a typical dish served in the Venetian winter, sliced up and served with mustard (such as Dijon), bread and Lamon beans which are typical of the region.

The most famous dessert to come from the region is Tiramisù. Translating to ‘pick me up’ owing to the sugar and caffeine content, it is made by whisking 5 egg yolks and 150g castor sugar, then folding in 500 g of marscapone. Beat the whites of the egg with a pinch of salt and once stiff, fold into the marscapone mixture also. You then will need to dip 25-30 ladyfinger biscuits (cookies) into cold espresso coffee. In a baking dish, layer the cream mixture, followed by a layer of the soaked biscuits. After sprinkling with a little grated chocolate, continue until the dish is filled, finishing with a layer of the cream mixture and a sprinkling of chocolate and cocoa. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Keep an eye out for classical music concerts often held in the churches and concert halls around the city. Even if you’re not typically a great fan of classical music, sitting in a frescoed church in one of the world’s most beautiful cities, the experience is just thrilling.

One of the most wonderful things to do (and also extremely easy to achieve!) is to simply let yourself get lost amongst the narrow streets that weave through the city. Stop in at little stores to watch local artisans create traditional items like hand-crafted and hand-painted masks, stop for a coffee in a little coffee shop to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the locals, and if you’re really brave, have a coffee like a local too ? an espresso thrown back, the cup then rinsed out with grappa.

Don’t forget to walk across the Rialto bridge, buy some glass from the Murano island, and enjoy the splendour of Venice.

Artviva can also organise a private Venetian Islands tour that takes you to the three most famous Venetian islands – Murano, Burano and Torcello. For more information or to book in on this, please refer to the following link:

* All of these activities can be arranged by Artviva, either individually here:
or as part of the Venice in One Glorious Day package:

And now, here is the delicious Tessa Kiros recipe…..

MUSETTO CON FAGIOLI PICCANTI- Venetian sausage with beans
(From ‘Venezia: food & dreams’ by Tessa Kiros)

500 g Lamon (or barlotti) beans
1 musetto (cotechino) sausage (about 600 g)
2 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
1 sage sprig
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
50 g cured pancetta or rigatino, chopped
1 scant tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
2 pinches ground peperoncino
600 g tinned crushed tomato

– Soak the beans overnight in a bowl with plenty of water to cover.
– Stick about 8 toothpicks into the musetto and leave them in (to let the fat come out during the cooking), then put in a pot of water and bring to the boil. Partly cover the pan and boil gently for about 1½ ? even 2 ? hours, adding more water if necessary (or follow the instructions on the packet if your cotechino is precooked). Test with a fork to check that it is lovely and tender, then remove from the heat.
– Meanwhile, drain the beans, put in a big pot of fresh water with the garlic and sage and bring to the boil. Partly cover the pan and cook for anything from 30 minutes to 50 minutes (depending on your beans) until tender but not too overcooked please (they get another few minutes of cooking later). Add some salt towards the end of their cooking time. Drain, keeping about a cup of the cooking liquid, and remove the garlic and sage.
– Meanwhile, heat the oil in a high wide pan and sauté the onion until it is soft and pale golden. Add the pancetta and sauté for a minute more, then add the rosemary and peperoncino. Add the tomatoes and a little salt and simmer for 10-15 minutes, punching the tomatoes down with a wooden spoon so the pieces dissolve.

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