A thirst satisfied in Santa Croce

Un Ombrettino in Santa Croce (a little glass downed in seconds)

Finding our way through Santa Croce from Cannaregio was a little more complicated than we expected, and we were looking for somewhere to stop for lunch. Happily we ended up in Campo San Giacomo da l’Orio, a quiet space off the beaten track. We’ve been there before; sometimes it’s been livened up by schoolboys playing football. There’s a Communist Party memorial, a couple of restaurants, and a new bacaro (it looked a bit hipster for this occasion).

We found ourselves in Al Prosecco, which has been a useful pitstop on previous visits, with outdoor tables in the summer. This time was a bit chilly, so we settled inside with a glass of Prosecco Fermo (the still version of Prosecco) and an “analcolico Gingerino” – the thinking man’s Lucozade? – and waited for our selection of cheese and salumi to be prepared by the husband and wife who run the place.

While we were waiting, a man with a bag slung over his shoulder rushed into the bar, and asked for what we realised must have been just a sip of Prosecco, for the waitress looked perplexed but amused as she started to pour. The man stopped her almost immediately, tossed back the glass in one, threw a few random coins onto the counter, and left in as much of a hurry as he had arrived.

A massive platter of cured meats was delivered to our table, with a generous pile of salad and a separate basket of focaccia, followed by another plate of cheeses – everything was excellent.

Defeated, I wondered what “doggy bag” might be in Italian…. (a request for un cestino a portare produced the result we were looking for).



After lunch we made our way to the Palazzo Mocenigo, which reopened in 2013 after major renovation. The rooms are lined and furniture upholstered in red silk shot with gold. The Mocenigo family were Venetian ambassadors in the 16th century, so it’s an insight into the interior of a grand household. It houses collections of textiles, Venetian glass, and costumes from the 18th century.

The mannequins show that people then were shorter than we are now. The men in ceremonial robes and the full length dresses of the women lent an eerie sense that they might be set into motion at any moment – or perhaps at night, after the visitors have left for the day….
A highlight for me was a room lined with rows of about 100 men’s waistcoats from the 18th century, ranging from simple white elegance to beautiful examples of elaborate embroidery and brocade. The palace also houses artefacts illustrating the history of perfume, closely related to the spice trade that left its mark on the cuisine of the city.

After the visit, an ice cream from the gelateria opposite the museum…..


Nearest Vaporetto stop: San Stae

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