Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Venice, Italy

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!  Next on the itinerary: Our spring tours in Barcelona, Venice or Prague

The Wine Tour is over, our new international friends are flying home, and our flight to France departs around 9 tonight, so where shall we spend the day? How about Venice? We have a restaurant and a couple of hotels to visit in connection with our May Venice and Veneto tour , and it’s a gorgeous sunny day, unlike the cold rain of yesterday – perfect for getting lost along a Venetian canal.

We leave our luggage in a storage office on Piazzale Roma, and ascend the high arch of Calatrava’s bridge near the train station. We’ve caught glimpses of Venice from afar as we approached, but our first true view comes from atop the bridge – aah, that inimical watery beauty!
A few of our May guests will arrive late in the afternoon on the opening day of the tour, so we want to plan dinner in a restaurant not far from the Hotel Concordia, where we’ll be staying, overlooking Piazza San Marco. We’ve read about Al Giardinetto, about 10 minutes from the hotel, on the Gardens of Venice blog, and call to reserve a table for lunch.
How to get there? A vaporetto (water bus) from the station, then walk…. but it’s so beautiful we decide to walk the whole distance,

and enjoy one postcard view after another as we find our way.

It’s not warm enough for a garden table yet, but the interior is one of the prettiest we’ve seen in Venice – very inviting.

A table full of locals, gondoliers all, is a sure sign that al Giar- dinetto’s a good choice!

The menu’s full of lagoon specialties, such as our granceola (crab) starter, served simply with olive oil and lemon.

Kirk’s squid ink tagliatelle with a bright lobster sauce demands another photo – a wow of a look as well as taste.

And my spaghetti alle vongole has more meaty clams than any I’ve ever had, in a garlicky sauce that’s perfection. So impressed with this kitchen…. Venice is one Italian city where we’re NOT sure of finding a great meal.

All that remains is a pile of shells!

To be continued…