A Cicchetti and Wine Tour Through Venice

September, 2015 I went on the fantastic "Cicchetti and Wine Tour of Venice" with Francesca Marucci through Venice Urban Adventures. In fact, these walking food tours offered through Urban Adventures are worldwide...from Venice to Brazil to Cambodia!

Francesca Marucci
With 8 other guests, my friend Bud and I, joined Francesca at the Campo della Maddalena in the Cannaregio neighborhood. The Church della Maddalena, built in approximately 1222, has a unique hexagonal plan, on which rests a big semicircular dome with a lantern.

HOTEL NOTE: If you'd like suggestions as to hotels in the Cannaregio neighboorhood, here is the Al Ponte Antico Hotel and many others to choose from.

Church della Maddalena
Francesca gave us a fascinating historical walking tour and then we headed to a crossing of the Grand Canal on a traghetto. There are only four bridges spanning the Grand Canal so at different points it could be a long walk to reach them. Therefore the traghettos, (there are seven different points of crossings), which are large gondolas with two gondeliers operating them, minus the fancy decorations of a typical gondola, make getting to the other side fast and cheap. A ride is just 2 euros and most Venetians ride standing up.

Traghetto crossing the Grand Canal towards the famous fish market.
Dizzy Note: I brushed aside my pride and took a seat. 24/7 my life feels like I'm riding standing up in a rowboat at sea with my balance disorder, therefore I'm not actually going to do it. But I totally enjoyed the ride.

Across the canal were all the wine bars that we were going to visit. Note how close they all are to each other. Cicchetti are small snacks, often meats, vegetables or fish served on top of a slice of bread or polenta or skewered on a stick. Ancient recipes for an ancient ritual. And with every stop at each Bacari (cantina or tavern) we enjoyed a special glass of wine.

Do Spade
First stop was Cantina Do Spade (Two Swords - S. Polo 859). Wine served was a Prosecco and the cicchetti were a Mozzarella in carrozza; a deep fried sandwich made with soft bread, filled with mozzarella cheese and anchovies or with ham, and Olive ripiene, which is a big green olive filled with meat and deep fried. The sparkling Italian wine cut through the richness of the cicchetti wonderfully. Perfect pairing of food and wine.

Cantina Do Mori
Next stop was Cantina Do Mori (S. Polo 429 Rialto) Wine served was a Pinot Bianco and the cicchetti was a slice of fresh baked bread with BaccalĂ  Mantecato (a salt cod spread.) Again, mouthwatering scrumptiousness. Is that a word? 

Me asking Francesca a bazillion questions.
Then we visited All'Arco (S. Polo 436, Calle de l'ochialer). Wine served was a Verduzzo and the Cicchetti were slices of bread with raw ham and pecorino or asiago cheese and truffle cream made with robiola cheese/vegetables and soppressa (a soft and young type of salami). Heaven.

Osteria alla Ciurma
Another glass of wine with cicchetti - am I'm full and tipsy but I want more! The next bacari was Osteria alla Ciurma (S. Polo 406). The wine bar has a boat motif and Ciurma's transaltaion into English means crew. Wine was a Raboso and the cicchetti served were ham or soppressa with asiago.

Glasses of Soave waiting for us at the window of Sacre e Profano.
Our final stop and truly one of my favorites (for sit down dinner too) is Osteria Al Sacre e Profano (S. Polo 502). Here we had a choice of wines: a Refosco (red) or Soave (white).

Cicchetti at Sacre e Profano

Cicchetti were artichoke patè with soppressa, a pumpkin mousse with raw ham (salt and air cured), and fried fish balls (sea bass). Also offered was a sweet wine - Malvasia and cookies from Burano. What an incredible evening and a great way to meet knew friends. It also gives you a good understanding of how and what to order at these taverns.

Some of the people on the tour with us were from Australia and several days later we were crossing a bridge on the other side of Venice and down below in a gondola there they were. We waved to each other and one of the women yelled out to us, "We'll meet you at the bar!"



  1. Delightful... thanks so much for sharing, enjoyed traveling vicariously with you.

  2. Sounds like you ate your way through Venice!