In The whimsical adriatic town of Venice, the citizens practice a superb little custom known as the"giro di ombre" (the wheel of color ). It is not a custom of Venetians, but mostly men and usually older guys. However, this being said, you do not have to become a guy to take part. You never need to be old. Anyone can do it, and in fact many younger Venetians (including girls ) are now caught up in this thing called the giro. Mostly, however, you may see groups of guys, five, five, or even six, perhaps more, one can also get it solo. I frequently go solo myself. Do not worry about being lonely. You will make many friends on the way, for that's part of this"giro," creating new friends, eating, imbibing, generally speaking, having a great time.
What's this giro di ombre you ask?
The Giro di ombre is a splendid small ritual that started around venice's rialto market some 600 decades back. The merchants of this rialto market, wanting to take a tiny break from hawking their products, would run to the closest wine bar to escape sunlight and also have a little sip of wine followed by small tidbits of food(cichetti) to proceed with the wine. Whenever these merchants went into the wine bars, called bacari, translating to"house of bachus," they would say they wanted a"ombra," that the latin word for shade. They wanted to get out of sunlight and to the shade. In time, a glass of wine in venice became know as an"ombra." So if one day you have the good fortune to make it to one of venice's many enchanting little wine-bars (bacaro), you belly up to the bar, order"un ombra rosso" if you need a glass of the house red, or"un ombra bianco" if you would prefer a glass of white wine. It is as simple as that, and you're speaking from the superb venetian dialect. Just like a legitimate venetian!
When You go into the wine-bars of Venice, you will see a tantalizing display of meals attractively displayed in platters on the pub. These products of food are"cichetti," tidbits of food that is prepared that come in very small portions so that you may try four, four, five, maybe even six or more. The cichetti usually cost about $1.00-$2.50. They are made to be quite reasonably priced and are in tiny portions so people are able to order a few distinct things for variety.
What are the cichetti, you ask? Just what the venetian dialect implies, cichetti are small tidbits of food. There exist quite a fantastic assortment of things as much as cichetti are involved. The most ordinary and popular cichetti are; grilled shrimp or squid, braised or fried meatballs, cotechino, musetto (pigs snout sausage,"yum!") , nerveti, octopus salad, bacala mantecato (whipped salt-cod), and sarde en saour(sardines marinated with onions and vinegar ). You might also find a wonderful array of little sandwiches (panini & tramezzini) which are full of all sorts of tasty fillings such as crab salad, speck (smoked prosciutto), shrimp, ham with mushrooms and tomato, and much, much more. These sandwiches are also a portion of their cichetti and are priced about $1.00 or 2 as well.
You might be Thinking that cihetti are similar to Spanish tapas. I might add that the venetians began this ritual a couple hundred years prior to the spanish failed, just the"cichetti" of venice never caught all over the Italian peninsular the manner that tapas did during Spain in which tapas and tapas bars are a means of life.
So you go into the bacaro And order your ombra rosso or bianco. Explore the fabulous variety of cichetti and order several items of your own choice. A typical sample plate of these marvelous little tidbits may go like that; a couple bits of grilled squid, one sarde en saor, a crostino of baccala montecato (whipped salt cod), and maybe a couple fried meatballs. All this should not cost you over seven or eight dollars. In the happy days prior to the euro an ombra plus a state four pieces of cichetti would cost you about $4.50, nowadays it will be almost double that. Unfortunately, that is life. Things change, never-the-less, it is still a pretty great deal.
So you have just had your initial wonderful Experience at a venetian wine-bar. What to do ? Go check out another one of course! Ask one of the natives for a suggestions or cross one off your own personal list. In case you have one.
Ahh, you are at you Next bacaro. Why not try one of Venice's most well-known aperitifs? A spritz is simply white wine with a dash of compari or aperol with soda and a twist of lemon. Quite refreshing. Very venetian. For those who love prosecco, you'll be happy to know that Venice is your"prosecco capital of the world" and you are able to order one in almost any bacaro. Conserve the bellini's for harry's bar, and if you do, save money as well, for at this point in time, a bellini at the chic harry's bar will cost you around $15 u.S. Dollars. They are absolutely delicious, but they go down like water.
Order a prosecco. Some Pleasant treats to go to your venetian bubbly, are a couple of little crab tramezzini or one shrimp and one crab, both go perfectly with a crisp, refreshing glass of local prosecco.
Aside from the tasty food and Splendid Italian wine, you will discover wonderful atmosphere in venetian wine-bars. You will meet and chat with locals in addition to individuals who come to Venice from all around the world. The venetian bacaro, which intentionally translates to home of bacchus, bacchus, the roman god of wine.
Proceed to venice, engross yourself into its various bacari (bacaro is Singular, bacari plural) and you're sure to be entranced in a true bacchanalia type of way.
Suggested bacari (wine bars of Venice):
Al volto: situated on the calli cavalli, San Marco
A Great old style bacaro, serving good inexpensive local wine, conventional cihetti, wonderful pasta, risotto, and fresh seafood in the rialto market.
Alla vedova: cannaregio 3912, ramo ca'd'oro
Tucked Alla vedova has the quintessential bacaro décor and ambiance, they serve superb cichetti at the bar, which is always filled with fun loving regulars of the giro de ombre. Do it!
All'arco, san palo 436, calle dell'occhialer
this tiny little (14'x 8') wine-bar is one of Venice's most traditional. You will usually only find locals here, but they love to see the occasional foreigner drop in. They will welcome you with open arms, as they did to me when I stumbled upon this little establishment on my first ever"giro p ombar." These guys delight in turning novices on to the real deal. The close quarters are great, as they precipitate interaction between you and the locals who are very nice in this wonderful little"gem."
Do mori, san palo 429, calle dei do mori
You However, you might be a little disappointed. "Sorry fish, didn't mean to insult you." "Get my drift?"
You know when you stubble across a place you have never been to before and fine sunday afternoon in april of 2001. I was walking by and saw that al paradiso was my kind of place; cool, old, with lots of character. The place was jumping with a very hip looking crowd. I sat down for a nice little lunch of antipasto misto and some adriatic sole. Halfway through my meal, I was more than pleasantly surprised when a jazz quartet set up on the fondumenta right outside the restaurant. There was a bass Player, guitar, trumpet, and even a piano player who rolled his"baby Grande" up to the location. The ring was exceptional.