Who is La Venessiana
Lina, a Venetian hotelier and founder of three restaurants, is 96 years old and spent all her life in Venice. Until a few years ago, she regularly visited the Levantine countries to search for Venetian traces, the origins of recipes and Venetian identity. Lina and her husband bought the guesthouse of the former monastery San Zaccaria in 1968. Since then, the family has curated the sprawling garden on the premises of the former monastery, located five minutes from Piazza San Marco. Marco. Iris (Lina’s granddaughter) wrote her thesis on urbanization and ecology of the Lagoon of Venice. She works as expert in corporate sustainability and health at work in an international banking group. In her spare time, Iris develops plant-based recipes and the cooking classes for La Spezeria Atelier based on the ancient Venetian way of using herbs, blossoms and spices for delicious food, natural remedies and beauty products.
What we are working on: Our Spice and Garden Atelier in Venice will open soon!
You will see Lina’s private oasis and kitchen herb garden, a rambling herb, flower and kitchen garden arranged on several levels and roof terraces.
Lina and her husband restored the ancient garden and cultivated rare Lagoon herbs. One can say that in their careful hands El Brolo, for centuries the oldest and largest garden of Venice, continues flourishing, despite being so much smaller today. And there’s also the ancient library of the monastery.
More about us
Our favorite breakfast: Lina: At home – Just milk coffee and white chocolate-white currant cake (strictly home-made!) Iris: Cappuccino with lots of schiuma (milk foam) and kifer (almond cream-filled cornetto) at Pasticceria Alla Bragora).
Our favorite lunch: Lina: In my kitchen, grilled chicken breast on laurel leaves, and salad herbs from my garden (chervil, parsley, rucola, sorrel, borrage leaves). Iris: Cozze alla marinara, mixed chicheti, and crab tagliolini. And I love grandmother’s garden salad, but I’d add a few more edible blossoms like blue borrage and tagetes petals, uva fragola grapes and slices of green figs from the garden. So refreshing in summer!
Our favorite restaurant: Lina: Al Giardinetto da Severino, a garden restaurant in the courtyard of a secret garden in Castello. Iris: Venissa, on the island Mazzorbo. So relaxing and green! Venissa has two restaurants, one offers simple Lagoon cuisine, and the other luxurious but light menus. In winter, I love to eat at Il Ridotto, on Campo SS Filipo e Giacomo.
Our favorite bakery & pastry store: Lina: Pasticceria Chiusso, in Salizzada dei Greci. Pierino is a family friend. Iris: Can’t really decide, but most probably, I love Pasticceria alla Bragora best, which I mentioned above.
Our favorite islands: Lina: The green islands around Lio Mazor, where I grew up. They are mostly barene and paludi (swamps) bordering on the islands Santa Cristina and Salina. Iris: Always Torcello. Will never forget the walk I took with my father on a Easter Monday, when we watched wild ducks in the reeds. And today, there are flamingos to watch, in late winter!
Our favorite season in Venice: Lina: Early spring, I love the breeze, the energy and the mood. Iris: The last week of April, because wisteria is then in bloom, and I can sit outside in the gardens of Serra dei Giardini, next to the pittosporum hedge and its sweet scent.