Take off some time to explore and fully enjoy these coffee houses. We start Part III of my blog series on Venetian coffeehouses at 10:00 am, preferably on a weekday. It could be a weekend, of course, but these places I’m going to present to you need some time to be savored in peace and quiet. Venetians would never go there when they’re in a rush but love stopping here, also for business meetings.
During this last week of June, Venice is really getting ready for vacation. School is over by now. You can feel the soft and mild summer sea breeze in the morning, yet there may be heavy summer storms coming later in the afternoon. As the trendy and new places include outdoor seating, make sure you go on a fine sunny morning to fully take in all its benefits.
We start in front of Hotel Metropole, once again on the sunny banks of Riva degli Schiavoni. Take the narrow Calle della Pietà leading to Campo della Bragora. It’s a fine and airy space with red-colored wooden benches positioned near tall oleander bushes, now covered with a myriad of white blossoms. Their lush twigs do provide welocme respite from the heat ! Our first stop is next to that square, which in the last week of June hosts a series of summer solstice feasts, including tastings of Levantine cooking. That really takes us back to the beginnings of Venice..
Now turn round the corner, into Salizzada Sant’Antonin. With some luck, you’ll find a free table at Pasticceria alla Bragora. By the way, the word bragora seems to be deducted from agorà – which means square = piazza in Greek.
So here we are in the first bar caffé I recommend for this walk. Cornetti are heaven here. Soft, buttery and still warm, they come filled with strawberry or apricot jam and are coated with powder sugar. Reminiscent of the times when Venice was first in Europe to offer cakes and desserts sweetened with sugar – cane sugar, that is.
At Pasticceria della Bragora, they also specialize in re-creating ancient biscuits and cakes, that’s why I’m including this coffee shop in the trend setters. They offer torta greca – the marvelous Venetian-Greek amaretto cake, fluffy and incredibly fragrant. Don’t forget to try their chocolate-amaretto flavored zaleti and esse enriched with aniseed … reminiscent of the ancient Venetian art of baking cakes and biscuits with spices.
From here, it’s just five minutes, walking along leafy Viale Garibaldi, to arrive at one of the trendiest spots in Venice. Serra dei Giardini doesn’t open until 11 am but when they do, you could enjoy a second, late breakfast and snacks and their soft biscuits from Burano (Pasticceria Palmisano). There’s also delicious toast (I love the melanzane toast) with home-made herb sauce.
La Serra dei Giardini is a bar-caffé located in a shiny yet intimate winter garden, in a hothouse part of a little garden center in Venetian style. I love sitting either outside on the terrace or inside on a black wrought-iron chair surrounded by pot plants. Some are very exotic, unique. There are garden books and magazines arranged on the window sills, a pleasure to read on a leisurely morning. So inviting – I could stay here all day long.
I love their Earl Grey, and always enjoy a cup of blueberry-flavored green tea. Plus toast, with local cheese and ham, served with home-made herb cream and flavored with mayonnaise, parsley, chives and thyme.
That means, lunch for your day is included :-) You might want to stay on, taking a look at the garden center housed in the same building. Or, as it’s summer, why not explore the adjacent Biennale gardens. Then, retracing your steps, walk back to Calle della Pietà to the point where we started our walk… next to the relaxing citrus fruit garden of Hotel Metropole.1