The Perfect Standstill Day in Venice
Why you should enjoy a perfect standstill day in Venice!
So many travel bloggers out there keep writing on how to visit Venice in 24 or 48 hours!
Please stop, I beg you!
Venice deserves more than a mere 24 hours and you are supposed to be here on holiday, relaxing and absorbing our culture, not rushing in like an express train!
Even if I understand people sometimes have got so little time to dedicate to this beautiful city, I am truly begging you: be different, learn to enjoy Venice at a slow pace.
And for slow pace, I MEAN SLOW!!!!!
For example, at the weekend, I decided to take a day off and go to the Jewish Ghetto of Venice, with my dear friend JoAnn Locktov, the author and publisher of Dream of Venice (which, by the way, is about to come out with a new black and white photographic book, called Dream of Venice Black and White).
We just wanted to spend some time together to catch up and wonder lazily in town, with no real plans.
Turned out we transformed the day into what I can simply define as the perfect standstill lazy day in Venice, eating our way through the Ghetto and walking in and out of artisan shops!
The Start of a Perfect Standstill Day In Venice
We started by meeting for lunch at Gam Gam, one of two kosher restaurants in Venice, at the entrance of the Jewish Ghetto, coming from Fondamenta Cannaregio – the other one is Ghimel Garden in Campo Del Ghetto Nuovo.
It was a sunny Sunday, we sat by the Cannaregio canal, with a beautiful view of the palaces across, one of which used to be my high school, back in the old days, and which is still, nowadays, the Tourism and Language School of Venice.
We ordered the specialties of this cute little restaurant, a mix of Venetian and Israeli dishes, like their famous Hummus and their deep fried artichokes, and simply sat there: drinking, eating and chatting away, busking in the shades of the large umbrellas, enjoying the hot May day.
After a couple of hours (told you we were lazing around), we literally walked 30 meters and stopped in Antichita’ del Ghetto, a lovely antique shop owned by the Emiliani Family: Giuliano, Elisabetta and their daughter Maria Gabriella.
Antichita’ Al Ghetto
I mentioned earlier on the day on Twitter to Maria Gabriella which I might have popped in to say hello and finally meet (we have been chatting over Twitter for ages, but never actually met!), so, as JoAnn and I walked in, Elisabetta, Maria Gabriella’s mum, said: So nice to see you, We were expecting you! Your visit was announced! – which made me chuckle and feel like a V.I.P.!!!
Such a warm welcome!
We soon started chatting how business is going, how their shop was born etc.
Elisabetta explained that they opened their shop in 2006, after retiring, moving away from Friuli where they come from and following their true passion. Turned out I was born in the same town in Friuli where Elisabetta comes from – the world is so small!
When they found this little shop in the Ghetto, they immediately fell in love with it and understood its potential.
They had to totally renovate it, since it used to be a storage facility, full of rats. During the refurbishment, they had to call the archeologists who found out this used to be one of the original copper foundries, where the Ghetto gets its name from – click here to read about the history of the Jewish Ghetto.
Giuliano and Elisabetta spent a lot of time just showing us the huge collection of high quality antiques, exquisitely displayed in this quaint “bottega” (this is how we call this small cute shops in Venice and this our Elisabetta loves to define her shop) and trust me, they have got some real museum pieces, like a small little diary/note book from the 19th century, from the Gran Tour, which could be described as the first travel blog, or a beautiful chest which belonged most probably to Pope Innocent X!
Unfortunately Maria Gabriella was not there, but I am sure we will finally get to meet soon.
After that, since we had walked so much 😀 , JoAnn and I decided it was time for cake and coffee, so we stopped in Majer, a coffee bar patisserie just literally 50 metres from Antichita’ del Ghetto. We sat lazily for another while and then finally decided it was time to head to the Jewish Museum where we would attend a tour of the synagogues.
The Jewish Museum and the Synagogues of Venice
We visited the little bookshop, which is full of interesting books about the history of the Jews and Venice, and then we followed our guide through a tour that took us to visit three of the five synagogues that were built in the Ghetto.
If you want to find out about the history of the Ghetto and its synagogues, click here.
As we came out of the Levantine Synagogue in Campiello Delle Scuole, we popped in the shop of Tony Green, an American born musician and painter, who spends a part of each year living in Venice, painting landscapes and performing with his Italian Gypsy Jazz trio around Europe.
The Studio in Venice by Michal Meron
We then walked across to one of the three shops of The Studio in Venice by Michal Meron, an Israeli artist who creates beautiful colourful art about Jewish people and Venice!
Here we had a lovely chat with Francesca and met her cute little kitty Penelope, the cat with pink ears, one of the few remaining Venetian cats!
Francesca was very happy we walked in and had a chat with her, the day was a bit slow and she was a bit sad because the people walking in where always a bit serious and in a hurry!
I promised I would get back for a drink and a proper talk!
By this time we decided it was time for another drink, so we headed to Fondamenta Degli Ormesini, where we knew we would be able to sit for a quick drink in one of the many local osterie. But before we headed to the gates of the Ghetto, JoAnn noticed the brand new artisan shop which just opened in Campo Del Ghetto Novo, next to the Jewish Museum: La Scola di Gianni Segatta.
The bottega only opened a few months ago and it is a leather shop, by a local Veneto designer, Gianni Segatta. It is all hand made Italian leather, each product is unique, very elegant and particular. JoAnn and I simply fell in love with his bags and thankfully we did not carry much money with us, otherwise I think we would both have walked out with a nice Handmade bag!
Fondamenta degli Ormesini
We finally started to make out way to the Ghetto and stopped for a quick drink at SullaLuna, a brand new local bistrot book shop, where you can find mainly organic and vegetarian products as well as lots of interesting books on Venice. Again we just sat there simply chatting and lazing around.
We obviously could not finish our day without a Cinico for me and Campari Spritz for Joann together with the lovely Cicchetti from El Sbarlefo at top of Strada Nova.
By then, as you can imagine, after such a rushing around day ( 😆 ), we were totally exhausted!
Not!!! We were totally relaxed, happy to have met so many interesting people and to have seen so many beautiful hand made creations.
And we were pleased with ourselves, cause we knew this is the right way to discover Venice!
So, if you want to really live this city, take it slow, have the perfect standstill day in Venice, visit the local artisans and simply walk at a slow pace in this unique city!
#lifeofafoodblogger #supporttheartisans #venice #veniceataslowpace #slowvenice
monica cesaratoMay 18, 2018
Thank you for your wonderful comment and yes, I will try to keep posting articles like this!!! It is when I hear comments like yours that I get inspired to caryr on to promote a slower way to visit Venice!
Amy Baker (littletravelersnoteMay 18, 2018
Just love this. Our friends don’t understand why my husband and I return to Venice each year for a week… it’s because of perfect days such as this one!! I’m staying nearby this summer — usually stay in Santa Croce — so appreciate hearing about new places to visit. I’ve been to the Ghetto but clearly it needs a full day’s attention!! Hope you do more posts like this!
monica cesaratoMay 8, 2018
I am in stitches for the first part of your comment but totally serious and with you for the second part….You know I am always glad to show you where to eat well in Venice!
Stephen KillickMay 8, 2018
I think when we are saying how talented, good looking, generous, witty and entertaining each of us are we should try to get our names correct!
Nice story, I shall certainly be popping into Gam-Gam next time. I have been past it so many times. Probably the most significant thing in my 35 years of visiting Venice is how the quality of food across the city has improved. Previously, unless you were a local you could walk past somewhere well priced and excellent and end in one of the remaining- and there are still far too many of them- overpriced, awful eateries that are dotted around San Marco and the San Marco borders of Castello.
Stories like this help people find the right places. Thanks. x
monica cesaratoMay 8, 2018
Thank you Stephen, we need more and more lovers of Venice like you! (and noticed I remembered your name!!!! only when we speak officially!)
Stephen KillickMay 8, 2018
The most poignant thing about this lovely story is that there is no rush to see Venice. In fact people should be actively discouraged from these ridiculous Venice in a day or even two day itineraries that proliferate guide books, travel magazines, websites and blogs.
I have been visiting Venice pretty much annually since 1983 and there are still parts of Santa Croce, San Polo, Cannaregio and Castello that I have not seen which is what gives me the enthusiasm to go back for four to five days next year and explore anew. After all it is not as though any of the buildings I want to see will not be there.
So please, respect the city and do it like Monica and JoAnn have. Slowly.