The daily diary of a wandering restaurateur In Italy
July 16 - Venice

Up at the crack of noon (well, at least on the street by 11!) Hey, no sense in getting carried away. Margene was starving by this point, so we stopped at the little sandwich shop in the plaza outside the house for a panini (toasted sandwich) and some juice. Our first inclination was to take the vaporetto to St. Marks Square but decided instead to take to the back alleys and walk a bit. Venice is a rabbit warren but the route to the Rialto Bridge and San Marco was well-marked on the sides of the building and eventually we found ourselves in touristville!

TONS of people! I guess we should expect it in July on a holiday weekend, but it was still a bit intense. We picked up the vaporetto at the Rialto Bridge and rode to San Marco where people were elbow to elbow! The line for the tour of the basilica was ridiculous and our aversion to crowds eventually got the better of us, so we bought a book of good pictures (of all the places in Venice that we would probably never get to see) and headed for the back alleys. A shady break at the Ristorante al Theatro next to The Fenice, Venice's major performing arts theater was just right to give the feet a break and regain our sanity. A half bottle of Valpolicella, some good bread and a small pizza took the edge off. Fantastic people-watching as well!

Somehow we found our way through the back streets and over the smaller canals (many with gondola traffic) to the Rialto Bridge where we picked up the vaporetto to return to the house for siesta. I always thought of this as a Spanish custom but many businesses in Italy shut down for a few hours in the afternoon for a break. When you think about it, it is a very civilized custom!

A few hours sleep and we were ready for dinner. Venice has the reputation for the worst food in Italy but I had found Trattoria alla Fontanella to be both good and cheap (always a winning combination in my book!) so we went there again. The Penne alla Fontanella was as good as the night before (the house signature dish -- penne pasta with a spicy tomato sauce, cream and the local cheese) but we also tried the proscuitto and melon, spaghetti with clams and a combination of scampi and calamari. Over espresso and tiramisu, we struck up a conversation with the folks next to us - a couple from Walnut Creek, California and two women friends, originally from New Zealand but one now living in Switzerland and the other in Kuwait! Another espresso and an amaretto later, we called it quits, managing to eat well for reasonable prices all day . . . and never have a meal indoors!

The restaurants of the day

The Venice travelogue shots

[Italy Itinerary Page][Top] [Email Restaurant Doctor]

© 2000 Restaurant Doctor