Pin It
The Solo Traveler Blog

One Delicious Day in Venice.

Thousands of masks made in China.

Thousands of masks made in China.

Venice is a beautiful city. Unique in design. Rich in history. Liberal in attitude. And full of souvenirs made in China.

Despite the entire city, along with the Venetian lagoon, being a world heritage site, it can be difficult to get past the tourist traps.

I found my way beyond the souvenirs on the Rialto Bridge and crowds in St. Mark’s Square by taking a food tour thanks to Walks of Italy. We were a small group. Just me and a couple from Oregon, Rod and Lourdes, who had already been in Venice for a few days. Our guide, Cristina, was a native Venetian who was both knowledgeable of the history of the city and generous with personal tips for preparing foods we learned about along the way.

Rod and Lourdes declared the tour to be the best thing they had done in Venice since arriving.

Stopping for cicheti. That's our tour guide Christina on the left.

Stopping for cicchetti (prounced chi-KET-tee), little finger foods or appetizers).  That’s our tour guide Christina on the left, then Lourdes and Rod.

One day in Venice

As Cristina explained, those who come from Venice consider themselves Venetians first and Italians second. Located on the northern tip of the Adriatic Sea, Venice, in centuries past, was an important city state that thrived as a trading gateway to Europe. The city was influenced by the products, people and cultures that entered its port making food a perfect lens through which to view the city and its history.

We met just west of the Rialto Bridge at 10:15 in the morning. Our first stop was the Rialto from which we had a  look at the Grand Canal and got a broad historical overview of the city. Then it was back west into the markets to see the food!

The Rialto fruit and vegetable market

The Rialto fruit and vegetable market. Clockwise from upper left we have cornetti (long beans), red peppers, mushrooms and giuggiole fruit (which I believe is jujube in English).

Rialto fish market

Rialto fish market. When the signs on the fish says Pescato, they were fished and not farmed

Beyond the markets.

After the markets we then wove our way through the narrow streets of Venice. We’d pop into stores such as the Mascar spice shop and stop to discuss the name on a street sign and the story it tells about the history of the city. The time passed quickly as Christina shared interesting facts and anecdotes about Venice.

Mascar is the oldest spice shop in Venice

Mascar is the oldest spice shop in Venice

We didn’t just look. We ate too!

We stopped at four places along the way to eat cicchettis, drink a glass of wine and, at the end, have a cappuccino and grappa. The food was delicious but, for me, it wasn’t the food that was the highlight of the tour. It was Cristina’s way of revealing the life of the city through the food tour experience. It was her answering our every question and sharing the Venetian way of things. It was learning lessons that could be taken home. Yes, I  will never again let a risotto go past al dente. As Cristina said, if that happens, it must then be thrown out and you start over.

Munching on cichetti in the street.

Munching on cichetti in the street.

This is just one form of cichetti which Venice if famous for. These are small snacks served in bars/restaurants that have little room for customers so people stand outside and eat as in the photo of my tour friends above.

This is just one form of cichetti for which Venice if famous. These are small snacks often served in bars/restaurants that have little room for customers so people stand outside and eat as in the photo of my tour friends above.

Coffee and grappa at Caffe del Doge

Coffee and grappa at Caffe del Doge

Thanks to Walks of Italy for allowing me to attend the tour. My fellow tourists paid US$61 each for the three-hour tour (it was supposed to be 2 1/2 hours but Cristina was enthusiastic) with food and wine, espresso and desert.

I was staying in Bologna in the Emilia Romagna area of Italy. Just thirty-five minutes by train to downtown Florence and an hour and ten minutes to Venice, Bologna is perfectly situated for a visit to northern Italy. It is also a city worth visiting itself. Please see:

Beautiful, Bountiful Italy: my souvenirs from Emilia Romagna

Road Trip: the backroads of Emilia Romagna, Italy

Joy and Balsamic Vinegar: this is what life’s about

Ciao from Bologna: taking it slow

Solo Travel to Bologna and Emilia Romagna – 32 Tips

Related posts:

  • satishchadha

    I been to Venice twice, couple of days each time, my findings were that its very touristy, overly crowded with people from around the world, overly priced on every thing,all those carts packed with made in china stuff Bangladeshi guys selling you have to go out of the touristy area to find a decent place for a good meal, One thing was good if you get tired of walking around, hop on those water taxi’s go from one place to the other, its free part of public transportation. If some one likes that kind of vacation, then it’s a good place to go.

  • eemusings (NZMuse)

    YUM! We didn’t do a tour and ate mostly at touristy places I believe, but damn if it wasn’t still some of the best food we ever had.

  • Lina @ Divergent Travelers

    I LOVE Venice!! Probably one of my favorite European cities. :) We didn’t do any tours the last time we were there, but this ones looks interesting for our next visit!

  • Travelbug1

    Venice is my favourite city to which I hope to get back one day. I’ll have to make a mental note (or better yet need to write this down or I’ll forget) to try this tour.

  • Janice Waugh

    It was great Debbie. They run tours in other Italian cities as well. And they’ve just started up New York tours as well. Maybe a future trip??? :)

  • Debbie Gascoyne

    Hi Janice! I wish I’d known about that tour when I was there. I spent two weeks as a solo traveller in Venice, renting an apartment just off St. Mark’s Square – one of the best trips of my life. I discovered a lot on my own, but that sounds like a fun and interesting way to get familiar with the city.

  • Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Janice,

    Beautiful images! I would enjoy visiting Venice one day; I just cannot leave Asia lol.

    Thanks for sharing :)


About Janice Waugh and Tracey Nesbitt

I'm an author, blogger, speaker and traveler. I became a widow and empty-nester at about the same time. And then, I became Solo Traveler... Here's the full story. >>

Tracey Nesbitt I’m a writer, editor, food and wine fanatic, and traveler. On my very first trip abroad I learned that solo travel was for me. Here's the full story. >>

Get the Solo Traveler Newsletter…

Subscribe Now!

Sign up for the monthly Solo Traveler Newsletter and get the monthly Deals Advisory as well PLUS a free copy of "Travel Views: 9 Travel Stories by 9 Travel Bloggers.

Support Solo Traveler by searching below.

Follow Solo Traveler


As Seen In…


RESULTS MAY VARY (The disclaimer.)

The content of Solo Traveler and any resources published by Solo Traveler are meant for entertainment and inspiration only. Every person and every travel situation is different. Your safety, satisfaction and fun traveling solo are your responsibility alone and not that of Solo Traveler, its publisher, editor and/or writers.