Win­ter flavours

Vi­si­ting Venice in win­ter, out of the main tou­ri­st sea­son, can be won­der­ful! The cro­wds are fewer, the li­nes are shor­ter and the mo­re ‘authentic' si­de of Venice tends to be mu­ch ea­sier to find. Whi­le strolling along its ‘cal­li' (stree­ts) you can dri­ve out

Where Venice - - Where Now | Tips - BY RO­ME­NA BRU­GNE­ROT­TO

In ad­di­tion to a ple­tho­ra of museums and ex­hi­bi­tions, Venice is pac­ked wi­th bou­ti­ques and small ar­ti­san shops sho­w­ca­sing a va­rie­ty of unique pro­duc­ts. Bet­ween vi­si­ting one at­trac­tion and ano­ther you can ta­ke re­fu­ge from the cold and in­dul­ge in a re­la­xing break at one of the ci­ty's de­light­ful lo­ca­les. For tho­se in search of a dif­fe­rent ex­pe­rien­ce, he­re is a pick of our fa­vou­ri­te ad­dres­ses.

The tea ri­tual

If you're loo­king for so­mewhe­re spe­cial to ha­ve tea, a go-to pla­ce bet­ween October and Mar­ch is the Orien­tal Bar at the Ho­tel Me­tro­po­le on the Ri­va de­gli Schia­vo­ni (www.ho­tel­me­tro­po­le.com). This bar boasts a warm, wel­co­ming at­mo­sphe­re, a great se­lec­tion of blends, in­clu­ding the ex­cep­tio­nal Hi­ma­la­ya Shan­gri-La whi­te tea from Ne­pal, and char­ming, pro­fes­sio­nal lu­xu­ry 5-star ser­vi­ce. A vi­sit to the Me­tro­po­le is al­so a great op­por­tu­ni­ty to view the ow­ner's ma­gni­fi­cent col­lec­tion of an­ti­que ob­jet d'art: you'll be to­tal­ly spell­bound! If you're loa­the to lea­ve the ho­tel's warm, co­zy at­mo­sphe­re, you can lin­ger lon­ger and end your vi­sit on a hi­gh no­te by dining at the pro­per­ty's Mi­che­lin­star­red Met Re­stau­rant.

Ha­ve a hot cho­co­la­te

If you're a lo­ver of hot cho­co­la­te, a must­vi­sit ad­dress is Castello 5988. Lo­ca­ted ju­st around the cor­ner from the Rialto brid­ge, this char­ming di­strict is ho­me to Vi­zioVir­tù (www.vi­zio­vir­tu.com). Esta­bli­shed in 2005, this ar­ti­sa­nal cho­co­la­tier pro­mi­ses to sa­ti­sfy even the mo­st di­scer­ning pa­la­tes. Its win­do­ws are al­ways beau­ti­ful­ly de­co­ra­ted wi­th cho­co­la­te sculp­tu­res and its ow­ners of­fer a cho­co­la­te ma­king class at whi­ch would-be pa­stry chefs can learn how to ma­ke tan­ta­li­zing mous­ses and truf­fles. If that sounds li­ke too mu­ch work, you can in­dul­ge in a cho­co­la­te ta­sting event, learn about the hi­sto­ry of cho­co­la­te

or even sam­ple Vi­zioVir­tù's Gol­do­ni hot cho­co­la­te that uses wa­ter in­stead of milk as per the play­w­right's ori­gi­nal re­ci­pe from the 1750s. Sin­ce num­bers are li­mi­ted, we sug­ge­st that you ma­ke a re­ser­va­tion at in­[email protected]­zio­vir­tu.com. This is al­so a great pla­ce to pur­cha­se a mou­th wa­te­ring sou­ve­nir to bring back ho­me as a gift for fa­mi­ly or friends.

The king­dom of ar­ti­sa­nal pa­stries

A good choi­ce for tho­se wi­shing to in­dul­ge in a plea­sant break whi­le vi­si­ting St. Mark's Squa­re is Caffè La­ve­na (www.la­ve­na.it).

This de­light­ful ve­nue, who­se at­mo­sphe­re is re­mi­ni­scent of a Vien­ne­se Kaf­fee­haus, is re­no­w­ned for its ex­ten­si­ve se­lec­tion of teas, cof­fees and ar­ti­sa­nal pa­stries. Said to be the fa­vou­ri­te han­gout of Ri­chard Wa­gner, who com­po­sed nu­me­rous sco­res whi­le sit­ting at its ta­bles, this old-world ca­fé, de­co­ra­ted wi­th ex­qui­si­te an­ti­que fur­ni­shings and Mu­ra­no glass mir­rors and chan­de­liers, is cur­ren­tly a mem­ber of the Hi­sto­ric Ve­nues of Ita­ly.

The ca­fé boasts an un­ri­val­led view over the squa­re, do­mi­na­ted by the im­po­sing Ba­si­li­ca of San Mar­co wi­th its brea­th­ta­king mo­saics.

Lu­xu­ry gour­met

Ope­ned ju­st over a year ago in the atrium of the re­cen­tly re­mo­de­led T Fon­da­co dei Te­de­schi, the lu­xu­ry de­part­ment sto­re ow­ned by the DFS Group, has be­co­me a re­fe­ren­ce point for di­scer­ning Ve­ne­tians in search of wel­co­ming pla­ce to meet for bu­si­ness or plea­su­re (www.ala­j­mo.it). AMO is the fruit of col­la­bo­ra­tion bet­ween the Ala­j­mo bro­thers and Phi­lip­pe Starck: its well-spa­ced ban­quet­tes, de­si­gned to en­su­re the ut­mo­st pri­va­cy, in­vi­te guests to re­lax and con­ver­se free­ly.

In ad­di­tion to a fa­bu­lous se­lec­tion of cof­fee blends and or­ga­nic teas, AMO of­fers an astu­te se­lec­tion of pa­stries, bi­te-si­zed ca­kes and ma­ca­rons, as well as an in­te­re­sting as­sort­ment of sa­vou­ry de­li­ca­cies that will not di­sap­point.

SWEET VE­NE­TIAN AT­MO­SPHE­RES

Ope­ning pa­ge: con­si­de­red by ma­ny to be the ol­de­st ca­fés in Eu­ro­pe, the clas­sic neo-ba­ro­que Caffè Flo­rian is lo­ca­ted in the heart of St. Mark's Squa­re.

This pa­ge. Top, the evo­ca­ti­ve at­mo­sphe­re of the Orien­tal Bar at the Ho­tel Me­tro­po­le; be­low, Venice of­fers so­me of the world's be­st cof­fee and pa­stry shops, from the Vien­ne­se-sty­le set­ting of Caffè La­ve­na to the mo­re con­tem­po­ra­ry am­bien­ce of AMO (right), hou­sed in the atrium of lu­xu­ry de­part­ment sto­re T Fon­da­co dei Te­de­schi.

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