A short but sweet trip through Northern Italy (Veneto/Friuli-Venezia Giulia region)
"Don't be taken back if they give you prosecco for breakfast. Just go with the flow" Those were the words of advice from our dear Bobby Olson as we told him that we were planning on visiting Venice and Treviso on our latest trip to Italy... words that turned out to be true! As we were actually offered prosecco for breakfast. We also drove next to beautiful vineyards where that Prosecco had actually been made.
If you are planning a trip to Italy, we hope this blog post makes you want to spend some time in this beautiful and friendly area of the country. Even though our trip through Veneto was very short, it was packed with amazing experiences that we feel now compelled to share with you. Watch video and scroll down for more.
Visinale The owners of the Ca' Settecento B&B told us that "visinale" comes from the word "vicino" (which means close); therefore Visinale -located in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region - means that it is a place that is vicino ("close") to everything else.
We found this amazing 17th century Villa turned into Bed and Breakfast through our friend Sergio Codognotto, an Italian born and raised in that area, who lived many years in San Antonio, Texas. Sergio (pictured below) has collaborated with us in multiple projects, including the first version of Tiramisu For Two and the last episode of the Texan Italian Stories documentary series.
After living for more than 15 years in Texas, one day Sergio Codognotto decided that he needed to go back to his home region. Years being outside of home had finally made him realized how much he loved that area and most importantly, how much he missed living in it.
Our friend Sergio would often tell us with pride how his home province was filled with hard-working people who were able to rebuild their cities from the ground up after each war. He would also tell us that if one wants to try real gelato, there's simply no other place for gelato like Treviso - "It is about the ingredients they use, the machines they use, the time they take to make it" - apparently Gelato is to Treviso, what Pizza is to Napoli. Once Sergio Codognotto finally made the decision of moving back to that area, we knew we had to go visit him at some point in the near future. Someone had to see if that real gelato was actually as real as our friend claimed it to be!
Visinale, Pordenone, Oderzo, are some of the many beautiful towns that are basically built next to one another. Staying in this area will give you a peaceful, friendly and beautiful home base for exploring many other attractions, including interesting cities such as Treviso, Venice, Udine, Trieste, Vicenza, Padua, Verona, all basically less than 1 1/2 hour away. It is also close to beautiful natural spaces such as the impressive Dolomites, which you can actually see very nicely on a clear day as soon as you walk out from the Ca' Settecento bed and breakfast.
The owners of the Bed & Breakfast were outstanding people with a true passion for serving and hosting others. We never felt rushed, we were always treated as if they were ecstatic to be spending time with us. In the morning we were treated to an amazing breakfast, all made with ingredients sourced locally (including the prosecco!). We were also told everything about the history of the Villa and the area. Turned out that the villa had been owned by the first person who commercialized cod fish in Europe; the walls were covered with historic artifacts that would tell their own individual pieces of that story. When we told the owner, a super gentle Chef from Puglia, that we were planning on driving to Venice; he mentioned that the best way to reach venice was through Punta Sabbione. He said that entering Venice by boat provides you a completely different experience, which gets lost when you drive through the modern bridge or take the train into the Island. He also suggested we visited other places around that area such as Caorle and Burano (We asked Murano, he said, no, Burano!). We took his advice and took the back roads to Punta Sabbione, which ended up being an incredibly nice experience. Here’s a link to their website, in case you are interested in booking them:
http://www.casettecento.it Caorle & Jesolo Driving through the back roads to Caorle and Punta Sabbione will show you dozens of beautiful vineyards where Prosecco comes from. There are also multiple Latterie, or places where they make artisan cheese. You can easily find information on which of these places offer public tours with a few key strokes on google. At Caorle we stopped at a fantastic hat store that had Italian products at great prices. The owner (and his family) really took care of us. He also kindly educated us on the art of hat making and Italian leatherwork, told us about the proper ways to enjoy Venice and even gave us a nice discount! We highly recommend you stopping at this place and saying hi, you will thank us. Here’s the address: Via Roma 16 - Caorle/VE. Glamour Accessories FB page.
Continuing our drive we stopped at Jesolo, a very popular beach destination in the summer, which turns into one of the friendliest towns in the winter.
At Jesolo we had amazing pizza (with prosecco!) and got to walk through a dreamy chocolate festival that was taking place downtown. Every single person that we met was extremely nice, the kind of people that take their time to properly take care of you and get to know you. Check out the links below to their establishments, we highly recommend each one of them.
Visited the chocolate festival in Jesolo, you must try the Cream Spalmabile Pistacchio made by Cioccolateria Veneziana
We had an AMAZING Pizza stop at Puerto Margherita: Via Cesare Battisti 5 Jesolo/VE tel: 04.211.631064
Kids demanding for free samples of artisan made fudge.
Being pretty cold in Jesolo (lower 40's) we stopped to drink some hot tea at a local tea bar called "Al Vecchio Caffè" Torrefazione Artigiana - Piazza I Maggio 9 Jesolo/VE. They also sell Venchi chocolates that are to die for!
Punta Sabbioni (the place where you'll take the boat to Venice) We arrived to Punta Sabbioni after 8 pm, which turned out to be very late and most of the parking spaces were closed. (ouch!) Luckily, we found one parking area open, operated by another super nice man who let us park our car for 5 euros a day in a lot that he personally guarded. The boat to Venice costs you 7.5 Euros per person each way, you will have to choose the “ordinary water service” option, which is presented a bit tricky by the machine to make you buy day passes instead of single tickets. The boat ride is pretty amazing, even at night, it first stops at Lido of Venezia and then it makes its way to St. Marks Square.
Kind gentlemen who let us park in his parking lot after hours (red arrow). This parking lot was 2 min walk to get the boat for Venice. When purchasing tickets for boat ride to Venice buy only oneway tickets (7 euro each way).
Venice Odds are that even if you have never been to Venice, you definitely know about Venice.
You have probably seen the many pictures of movie scenes taken along the canals and have maybe also fantasized about seeing yourself on board of a gondola, drinking prosecco while someone signs to you and plays the accordion.
There’s no doubt that Venice is one of the most impressive cities in the world and should definitely be on your list of mandatory stops during your trip to Italy. That said, as you explore Venice you may find that the real magic of this city exists in the less crowded areas, where you can walk and lose yourselves through the thousands of little streets that exist in this very unique Island city. The touristic parts of Venice are obviously also beautiful, however, they are very crowded. For example, a seemingly romantic Gondola trip taken next to the Rialto bridge can easily turn into a traffic jam of gondolas with other tourists staring at you from the bridges!
We highly recommend having very comfortable shoes and walking as much as you can. Bring a camera as well with you; you will find many beautiful colors and textures as you walk around. Walking at night through all those streets is also an incredible experience; though we certainly recommend avoiding doing it alone. Venice seems very nice and safe, but those streets at night can get very lonely and eery!
We were told that while in Venice it is important to have a nice plate of pasta with Nero di Seppia (squid Ink); we were unable to try it this time, which maybe means we'll have to return to Venice some day!
In the winter time certain parts of Venice tend to flood this is called "Acqua Alta."
Make sure to check out Romina’s beautiful pictures of this short North Italy trip. Each print purchased is personally shipped and handled with love by Romina. The prints make for great gifts as well as a very nice addition to your house, hotel or restaurant.
Wondering what's next?
Check out the editorial post of this newsletter where we discuss the future of ITAL and Tiramisu For Two and how you can stay in touch with us after this last public newsletter...