Returning to Venice after years of parisian life, Gigi Vianello took over an old trattoria that has a history going back to the early 1900s and, while maintaining its tradition, he adds a touch of the brasserie in order to create a unique atmosphere. Since the 1980s, Gigi and his partner Momi have been welcoming venetians, artists, painters and tourists who often leave a token of their appreciation through the numerous drawings and sketches that adorn the walls of this lively ambience. The customers - Alberto Sordi, Nick Nolte, Elvis Costello, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Binoche, Riccardo Scamarcio and even the current White house chef among others - have been attracted to Al Mascaron thanks to its typical Venetian cuisine (from sarde in saor to nero di sepia).
This historic bar, declared national heritage by the Ministry of Culture, was founded in 1931 by Giuseppe Cipriani, who at that time was barman in a Venetian hotel. Since then it has become the haunt of aristocrats and intellectuals such as Arturo Toscanini, Georges Braque, Truman Capote, Charlie Chaplin, Peggy Guggenheim and Orson Welles and nowadays the place welcomes the international jet set. Giuseppe Cipriani invented a whole series of original recipes for his clientele, both cocktails and food. His two best-known creations are the Bellini cocktail and carpaccio, both of which adopted internationally. On Giuseppe Cipriani’s retirement, his son Arrigo took over the management.
Al Covo opened in 1987, a dream come true for Cesare and Diane Benelli back from the United States, where they met, married and discovered they had this big desire in common. Their restaurant was set up as a “research laboratory” to promote local products from around Venice’s lagoon and its islands, so the ingredients used in their kitchen are all local varieties both fish – always the freshest – and fruit&vegetables. Another strong focus is the wine list, with over 200 labels from the most famous terroirs in Italy and abroad. To end the meal in a perfect way you can’t miss a dessert by Diane, who bakes chocolate cakes, pear tarts, cheese cakes, chilled desserts and other irresistible delights in her kitchen everyday!
- Campiello della Pescaria Castello, 3968 - View Map
- 041 522 3812
- 12:45pm - 2:00pm, 7:30pm - 10:00pm. Closed on Wednesday and Thursday
A young but high quality restaurant run by brother-sister team Luca and Benedetta, who share an enormous passion for good cooking. They opened Local following their love for genuine food, their territory, tradition and everything that is "local" in fact. Dishes are prepared in their open-plan kitchen and reflect the seasons and the lagoon’s country products and eco-system. The wine list offers exclusively natural wines, also available by the glass at the bar, along with a “cicchetto” (appetizer).
It’s located at the back of the Rialto market, with tables outside to enjoy a unique view of the Canal Grande and city’s most beautiful buildings. The interior is designed with the allure of 16th century arches, wood and bottles of wine. Above all, the love for this job. It’s like someone had suddenly decided to introduce you to part of a culture that’s usually off-limits to tourists.
- Rialto - Campo San Giacometo, S. Polo, 125 - View Map
- 041 5239492
Osteria Bancogiro is situated in one of the oldest Rialto warehouses, adjacent to the current market. Here, under the portico from which it takes its name, in past centuries the first public mercantile bank (Bancogiro) took place. Today, the Bancogiro is very popular among venetians, and not only for a spritz, the classic Italian cocktail, but also offers special wines and a variety of small bites of cicchetti, fish or meat.
Set in a prestigious location under the porticos of the Procuratie Nuove in Piazza San Marco, Caffè Florian is Italy’s oldest café and a symbol of the city. It was opened in December 1720 by Floriano Francesconi and quickly became known as Florian to its customers. It was the first “coffee house” and the only place at the time that allowed access to women, which is why Casanova was such an assiduous habitué. The idea of first exposition of Italian Art arose during the conversations made on the table of Florian, at the end of the 19th century which lives on today as the Biennale d’Arte di Venezia. Distinguished clients: Lord Byron, Ugo Foscolo, Goethe, Madame de Staël, Dickens, Proust, Gabriele D’Annunzio with Eleonora Duse, Stravinsky and Modigliani.
Hotel Palazzina G has rewritten the concept of style in order to create a world of haunting beauty and highly original atmospheres. A place that was designed, not too surprisingly, by the architect Philippe Starck and which Condè Nast Italia elected best hotel in Italy in terms of glamour and design. It’s an elegant and refined venue for glittering parties and other related events for Venice’s Film Festival and Biennale d’Arte, hosting international film and showbiz stars, VIPs and major artists. Clients can benefit the unique Krug Space, an open-air restaurant with a breath-taking view across the Canal Grande.
Beyond the entrance there is a garden with olive and magnolia trees, the canal and a timeless quiet that conquered the heart of Alma Mahler so that she decided to pick that house, that green and that canal, a few steps away from the Basilica dei Frari, as her home. At the present, this small hotel is considered a secret and magical place, in the heart of the city that arouses that rare and pleasing sensation which a guest can experience in Venice: to feel like home.
Situated on a private island in the middle of the Venetian lagoon, a few minutes from the city centre thanks to the hotel’s boat service. The San Clemente Island was founded in 1131 for the purpose of restoring “soul and spirit”. Today it remains an elegant private retreat with over six hectares of luxuriant gardens overlooking the lagoon and a 15th century Church.
With its 16th century façade, Hotel Gritti is one of the symbols of wealth and allure typical of the buildings along the Canal Grande. It was once the residence of the Doge Andrea Gritti and recently underwent a long process of restoration, which brought it back to the glories of the past. The suites are inspired by people who wrote the history of the hotel, including Peggy Guggenheim and Ernest Hemingway. The hotel's terrace, which overlooks the Grand Canal in front of the basilica of S. Maria della Salute and Punta della Dogana, hosts the Club del Doge restaurant and Bar Longhi Woody Allen is one of the hotel’s habitués.
Ever since it opened in 1880, the Hotel Bauer has perpetuated a tradition of superb hospitality in Venice. The hotel was originally known as the Bauer-Grünwald, partly thanks to a love story. Julius Grünwald, an enterprising young Austrian, came to Venice and fell in love with the daughter of Mr Bauer, the respected manager of the city’s Hotel de la Ville. Mr Bauer appreciated the young Grünwald’s business talent and elegance, consented to their engagement and the rest is history. Since then the Bauer has set the benchmark for hotels on the lagoon. The hotel has a magnificent terrace, Settimo Cielo, one of the few and most beautiful terraces in the city, where clients can have their breakfast enjoying a panoramic view over the Canal Grande, the San Marco waterfront and Isola San Giorgio.
Vetri Carlo Moretti is one of the last surviving “art factories” in Murano. Founded in 1958 by Carlo and Giovanni Moretti, two young brothers from a family of glass factory owners in Murano. Carlo Morretti creates objects in Murano glass – unique pieces, numbered and signed, something between industrial design and artwork – that are sought out by private collectors and, above all, figure in permanent collections all over the world, from the Victoria & Albert Museum in London to decorative art museums in Helsinki, Prague and Paris, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Stores: Venice, Milan, Kitzbühel and Tokyo.
Rialto, the oldest part of Venice, has been home to the city market since the 11th century. Its present appearance is due to the mid-sixteenth century. Once it was the meeting place to sell fruit, vegetables and fish but above all, precious jewellery and highly prized spices from the Orient. It is still one of the liveliest and most colourful part of the city, with spectacular stands of fruit and fish, attracting both locals and tourists.
- 30125 Venezia - View Map
- 7:30am - 1:30pm. Closed on Sunday
Stefano Nicolao’s atelier has specialized in period costumes since 1980. His creations have been exported all over the world and are seen as the highest expression of Made in Italy costume craft. The Atelier brings the centuries alive with over 10,000 costumes, complete with linen, accessories, headwear and cloaks. His elegant premises in the historic centre accommodate the production facilities, show room, the entire collection of costumes, that can also be rent for parties and other events. Major Oscar winning costume designers like Alexandra Byrne (for the film Elizabeth) or nominations like Sandy Powell (The Wings of the Dove), Sammy Sheldon (The Merchant of Venice) and Danilo Donati (Casanova) have used the Atelier’s services and created a sort of professional symbiosis, as well as long lasting friendship.
The Gallery’s owner is Stefano Contini, Tuscan by birth but Venetian by adoption, who worked in the art book trade before opening a gallery. In addition to Galleria Contini in Palazzo Pestrin, a five-storey building in Venice’s elegant via XXII Marzo, the family has another five galleries in Venice, Mestre and Cortina d’Ampezzo. Their artists include Fernando Botero, Igor Mitoraj, Sandro Chia, Sophia Vari, Mikhail Baryshnikov and many others.
Venice is a city built on water, and its transport is largely dictated by it. One choice is the water taxi, the famous motorboat what the locals call “lancia”. It’s the simplest and fastest way of moving around in Venice: a private solution that allows you to carry luggage and drops customers off exactly where they want. The boats are designed to be used in canals too small for the bigger public service boats. Compared to the latter, they are also narrower and lower, with a streamlined hull that makes them very fast and manoeuvrable even with a full load.
Ponte dei Sospiri is one of Venice’s most famous bridges. Made of Istria stone in the Baroque style, it was built at the beginning of the 17th century designed by the architect Antonio Contin for the doge Marino Grimani, who had a carved coat of arms. Close to piazza San Marco, this impressive bridge spans the canal in order to link Palazzo Ducale to the Prigioni Nuove, the first building in the world specifically designed as a prison. The “sighs” refers to those prisoners who was bidding farewell to freedom, because once you’re condemned in the Republic of the Doges there was no return.
Cà d'Oro is one of Venice’s most prestigious late Gothic building, important not only for the baron Giorgio Franchetti art collection including paintings, furniture, tapestries and sculptures but also for the building itself that still retains the structure of the old Venetian warehouse. In the lobby, as if guarding the palace and its destiny, lie the ashes of Giorgio Franchetti.
One of the most interesting features of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection is the fascinating historical character of its founder and the venue in which it’s located, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, an unfinished architectural masterpiece. Peggy Guggenheim was a significant figure for the development of art in the 20th century. An unflagging collector, she used to say it was her duty to protect the art of her time and she devoted most of her life to her vocation and the creation of her museum. A friend to many great artists, some still unknown, including Brancusi, Duchamp, Max Ernst, Rothko and Pollock, she discovered their value, organized exhibitions for them and bought many of their artworks. She lived in Venice for thirty years, till her death in 1979. Since then, the Guggenheim Foundation has transformed Peggy’s home into one of the world’s biggest museums of modern art.
Established as a philanthropic confraternity in 1478 by wealthy citizens devoted to charity works, the Scuola Grande di San Rocco is in one of the most celebrated and fascinating buildings in Venice. It is next to the Church of San Rocco, the saint to whom the city of Venice pleaded for mercy during the first of the great plagues in the 15th century. It has a majestic and ornate Istrian stone façade. The decoration of the interior was entrusted to Tintoretto in 1564. All the works have been painted by him or his pupils. The marvellous cycle of paintings in the three halls of the Scuola represents for Venice what the Sistine Chapel is for Rome.
The Arsenale was the heart of Venice’s shipbuilding industry from the 12th century onwards. Linked to the most flourishing period of the life of Serenissima, thanks to the fleet built in the Arsenale, Venice managed to contain the Turks in Aegean sea and control the Northern Europe seaways. Dante mentions Venice’s Arsenal in Divina Commedia. Today, a large part of Arsenale is open to public and it also accommodates a number of sections of the Biennale d’Arte.
Piazza San Marco is one of Italy’s most important squares, known all over the world for its beauty and architectural integrity, and the biggest one in Venice. The heart of the city and symbol of the Venetian Republic, the historical zone of piazza San Marco is divided into three parts: Piazza San Marco, Piazzetta San Marco and Piazzetta dei Leoncini. It is the only urban spot in Venice which changes its name to piazza, as all other zones in the form of the square are properly defined as campi. The main body has a trapezoidal shape, 170 meters long. It is also known as “la Piazza” or “il salotto d’Europa” (Europe’s drawing room).
The last big palazzo to be built on the Canal Grande before the fall of the Republic of Venice, is now a venue for major temporary exhibitions. Palazzo Grassi also captures people’s attention with its architecture, in which the modern solutions introduced by Tadao Ando’s restoration work combine the neo-classical style.
The island of San Giorgio Maggiore has been part of Venice’s lagoon landscape since the city’s foundation and was originally the property of a patrician family. Over the centuries the island gained considerable cultural importance, as reflected in the majestic façade of the Basilica di San Giorgio Maggiore, designed by Andrea Palladio. In the 1950s the monastery and the adjacent land were granted under concession to Fondazione Giorgio Cini for the purpose of restoring the island and reclaiming its role in Venetian life by making it an international cultural centre. “Le stanze del vetro” is born for a particular interest: it’s a joint project in which the Foundation and Pentagram Stiftung are promoting glass art of 20th century and contemporary art. The project involved the creation of a fascinating new facility designed for personal and collective exhibitions by international artists who have used the glass as an instrument of artistic research.