Si ricomincia .. This is a special blog entry – after all, you don’t witness the beginning of a new decade every year. Did you know that on 25 March 2020, Venice will be officially 1599 years old? Which is a legend of course, but a day of reference, nevertheless. Many of you know that Venice is much older!
Venice celebrates her 1600th birthday in 2021!
In 2020, the city authorities and associations will take up planning for the birthday year ahead, and so will we, La Venessiana’s Team that you can see below. In this space on the blog, we tell you about life, style and food from the perspective of a Venetian family. And of course, we’ll prepare you for the special year ahead via our online classes, whose purpose is sharing resources for you to fully understand Venice and her real heritage, and to benefit from forgotten culinary, health and beauty secrets.
Breakfast walk on 1 January 2020
For now, while we are preparing these resources we’ll unveil very soon, join me for a breakfast walk on 01 January 2020! After the purple-cinnober red sunset of 31 December, the sun rise of 1 January 2020 painted the skies above Venice cobalt blue. As there are still leaves on some trees and many evergreen plants, the New Year never looks drab: Here’s a view of the Grand Canal with Basilica della Salute on this special first day of the new decade!
As you will know, 2019 has been a particulary challenging year for Venice and the people living here: Our city even flooded on Christmas Eve, and on 23 December: On that night, for the first time, engineers were present at the MOSE control room, ready to operate at least one of the flood gates at Treporti and San Nicolò. The experiment of 23 December 2019 was interrupted in the last minute, and the gates, whose hinges don’t work, never rose. Behind this lies the essential question to be tackled in the decade ahead: Will the Lagoon turn into a bay, or will it remain a Lagoon? Venice, the surprisingly resilient city built on 118 islands can only survive in a Lagoon. If we want the Lagoon, MOSE will be replaced by other solutions in the mid term.
Lagoon vs. bay is essential question #1, and tourist magnet vs. sustainable city, playing out all her strengths, is essential question #2. We’ll take up these later in the year ahead. For now, if you are interested in learning more, take a look at my blog post on how the Lagoon works and how Venice survived during the past 1600 years.
January feels special in Venice, like the year is clean and blank. These were my thoughts during that first morning walk of the decade around Venice, an hour after sunrise. The first golden sun rays shimmering on the water in the quiet city were special, and in this post I’m sharing some of the images I took on that day. I was even lucky to have the city completely to myself for ten minutes, which only happens on New Year’s morning.
Between Rialto and San Marco: Explore Calle dei Fuseri
And now I’m taking you for a virtual walk :-) we start with discovering the Rio dei Fuseri area dall’acqua (seen from the water) as if you were riding a gondola. Why did I choose Rio dei Fuseri for my morning walk? To me, it represents the real Venice in miniature: Small shops line Calle dei Fuseri, which in summer is often crowded by tourists who lost their way and others who just walk on and try to find the passage from San Marco to Rialto.
Next to Ponte dei Fuseri, Ristorante da Ivo is located, a locale storico offering luxurious Lagoon food, which I visited just once in my life with my father. They have a long wall gallery showing famous guests: George Clooney, Elton John and many actors and actresses, especially from the US and UK. On the other riva, one of my favorite boutiques for fashion and home styling, Pot Pourri is located.
In the former fuseri (locksmith’s) area, not far from Scala del Bovolo, you can find another outlet to taste simple cibo di strada – street food. Pasta e Sugo is a culinary start-up, it may be crowded in summer but is definitely worth a break. After all, street food is part of our culinary traditions here in Venice, and street food vendors were present in particular in this area between San Marco and Rialto.
A few more steps from there, you reach Pelletteria Veneta, whose bags are well-known in Venice. So you can see – small stores, art galleries, photographers, artists, small boutiques and luxurious gourmet outlets, and even street food – the Fuseri area is so worth exploring, but do it very slowly, as it reflects the Venice of the past and highlighs potental strengths the city will need in the future. For those of you who would like to spend more time taking in this part of Venice, I recommend Antica Casa Coppo, the former residence of a Venetian merchant, or a quiet 3-star-hotel, or Hotel Al Codega, which has its own campo.
If you walk along Calle dei Fuseri, don’t forget to pay a visit to photographer Marco Missiaja, specializing in landscape photography including stunning views of the Lagoon. Here’s his bottega for you to enter virtually via Google Maps:
If you would like to explore the area right now, virtually, cross the bridge in the Google map below and then, continue sempre dritto – straight ahead. Beyond the bridge, Calle dei Fuseri brings you straight to Campo San Luca where one of my favorite cafes and bakeries are located, like Pasticceria Marchini Time.
For now, the city is dry, winter solstice time is drawing to an end, and January ushers in the season of acqua bassa, when tides are particularly low. Click here to learn more about low tides in Venice.
Breakfast at home: Pinsa Venessiana
I didn’t walk into Pasticceria Marchini Time as I was already late for our New Year’s Breakfast at home, with Lina’s favorite winter cake. In Venice, the traditional breakfast during Le Feste has always been la pinsa – the Venetian pinza, eaten warm, and everyone is wrapped into blankets on the terrace illuminated by the low and blinding sun rays of New Year morning.5