Mediterranean Cruise Excursion – Venice

1. Venice Food Tour including Rialto Market & Cicchetti

(like Spanish Tapas)

Rialto Market, Venice, Italy.

The Rialto Market is a great place to visit with a guide. Help inspire your dinner decisions, as you meet traders from the most interesting stalls, and soak up the sights of Venice’s colourful attraction.

Dive into the delicious tradition of Cicchetti and Wine in Venice with this 2.5 hour food tour. Get insider tips where the locals go to eat and find out what Venetian dishes to try. Explore the Maritime History of Venice with a knowledgable guide, as you walk through the colourful Rialto Market. Your guide will start by introducing you to the city and its culinary history – Venice was the center of the spice trade route during the middle ages, and its love of fresh seafood.

Book Today!

Rialto Bridge in Venice

Find out where locals eat and avoid tourist traps. Board a gondola to cross the Grand Canal to Cannaregio – once known as the Jewish Ghetto – surrounded by walls to keep the residents in – popular today among locals for its great food scene – beautiful streets, piazza’s and a more relaxed vibe!

You might be shocked to learn just how much of Venetian food (and Italian food as a whole) has been influenced by the Jewish Community. Enjoy a “Fritti”, as the locals do on a stick, and enjoy a short stroll across bridges and piazza’s of Cannaregio. 

2. Jewish Ghetto and Cannaregio

Jewish Quarter Canal, Venice, Italy.

Eat and drink your way through one of Venice’s most distinctive food neighbour -hoods on a walking tour through the Cannaregio District, also known as the former Jewish Ghetto. Learn about the rich history and culture from a local guide as you stroll through its narrow winding streets, stopping to sample some of the best and most authentic delicacies around – from traditional Kosher dishes and wine, to creamy risotto and fresh baked goods – Buon Apetito!

Visiting six restaurants, sampling local foods, including Italian Gelato. The Cannaregio District is where the movie “ Merchant of Venice” was filmed – starring Al Pacino. On the other side of Venice’s oldest and most famous landmark, the Rialto Bridge, indulge your taste buds with risotto  and pasta at places where local gondoliers and local residents love to eat.

Highlights:

  • 4 hour food & wine walking tour of Venice’s Historic Jewish Ghetto

  • Explore one of the city’s most unique neighbourhood’s with a guide.

  • Visit six restaurants, deli’s, and bakeries, sampling authentic Venetian dishes

  • Learn about the history of Cannaregio and it’s culinary traditions

  • Tastings add up to, a diverse and satisfying meal.

Book Today!

3. Venice Photography Walking Tour

Gondolas on lateral narrow Canal in Venice, Italy

Discover the famous landmarks and hidden gems of Venice. First by land and then by sea! Accompanied by your local guide, enjoy a leisurely walking tour around the city’s bridges, streets, and hidden squares.

What to Expect:

Take an artistic approach to Venice with this private photography walking tour. Whether you are a novice or an expert photographer, you’ll find endless opportunities for that “perfect” shot, as you explore Venice’s picturesque streets, squares and canals. A professional photographic guide will lead you on a 3 hour walking tour of magnificent landmarks & hidden back streets, giving you tips on lighting, composition along the way. Bring your camera or smart phone and lewave venice with a collection of beautiful, print worthy images to memorialize your vacation.

With historic Palazzos, magnificent Gothic Cathedrals and reflective canals, Venice is a photographer’s paradise. Capture this amazing atmosphere with the expert guidance of a professional photographer. All experience levels and types of photographic levels are welcome – from smart phones to digital SLR cameras.

Choose from a 3 hour Day Tour or a Sunset Tour. List any special interests or requests at the time of booking, so your guide can customize your experience. On all tours, learn photography tips and tricks suited to your experience level, so you can leave Venice with an amazing collection of photographs you’ll be proud to print and frame. 

“Day in the Life of Venice “ – Daytime Tour

Explore Venice’s bustling public squares and quieter side streets and canals during daylight hours. Stop at the open air Rialto Market and the Melcerie Shopping District for great shots of colorful stalls and bustling market activity. Learn tips on photographing people respectfully and skilfully, to capture movement and expression.

“Day in the Life of Venice” – Sunset Tour

Meet your guide just before dusk and discover amazing photographic opportunities as the sun drops, and Venice is bathed in changing hues of twilight. Visit many of the locations visited in the day Tour. As darkness falls, try your hand at capturing the glow of city lights reflected in the canals and illuminated architectural masterpieces of St Marks.

Highlights:

  • Daytime or Sunset Photography Walking Tour of Venice with a professional photographer’s

  • Visit St Marks Square and lesser know districts, to record their unique atmosphere & beauty

  • Take shots of the bustling Mercerie District and colorful Rialto Market on the Day Time Tour

  • Capture the Bridge Of Sighs, Venice Lagoon, and other twilight land marks on the Sunset Tour

  • Learn about composition, lighting and reportage-style photography plus inspiring tips

  • Improve your photography skills, whether beginner or old hand

  • Enjoy undivided attention of a guide on a private tour

Book Today!

4. Murano – Burano – Torcello: 

Private Excursion by typical Venetian Motor Boat

Venice landmark, Burano island, colorful houses and boats, Venice, Italy

Discover three of the most beautiful Island’s in the Venetian lagoon, on a private, half day tour aboard a typical Venetian motor boat. See where the worlds finest blown glass is made in Murano. Visit the home of artisan lace makers and famous biscuits in Burano, and set foot on Venice’s oldest settlements in serene Torcello.

Enjoy a customized itinerary and personalized attention of a private boat captain. Departing that city center, enjoy the ride through picturesque canals and the lagoon, and visit the islands of:

Murano

La lavorazione del vetro di Murano, Venezia, Veneto, Italia

Burano

Burano is a fisherman Island, and always the best stop for local seafood restaurants, and the coloured houses.

Burano, Italien

Torcello

Santa Fosca cathedral on the island of Torcello the oldest building in the lagoon.

Highlights:

  • Private half day boat tour to the three most famous islands in the Venetian Lagoon

  • Cruise across on typical Venetian Motor Boat

  • Visit home of worlds finest artisan glass in Murano

  • Taste delectable biscuits on Lace making island of Burano

  • Explore Venice’s first settlement on lovely Torcello

  • Private tour is operated with just your party and guide/driver.

Book Today!

Two of Venice’s evening Gems

We are all very familiar with what St Marks Square feels like and looks like on those muggy, clammy, humid summer days! – tens of thousands of people packing the square, millions of pigeons!

Well, on your next visit to this beloved romantic city, be sure to visit “Cafe Florian” of an evening, and enjoy the peace and quiet, while you enjoy a beverage of your choice – this is a very special part of St Marks Square.

(1) Cafe’ Florian:

VENEZIA - San Marco square

       One of the first places to serve coffee in Europe!! This is the perfect spot for a sight seeing break – sitting elegantly on St Marks Square, Cafe‘ Florian has been a popular and a discreet rendezvous since 1720.

Everyone from Lord Byron to Woody Allen has paid too much for a drink here. Tourists stake out tables on the square to watch and enjoy the Cafe’ Florian Orchestra, which performs each hour with a repertoire including classical, jazz, operetta and Venetian. But for elegance, and ambiance, romantics sit inside to appreciate the richly decorated rooms.

(2) The Story of Harry’s Bar.  As told by Giuseppe Cipriani, General Founder of Harry’s Bar.

venice-harrys-bar-image3

The beginnings

I was born in 1900 in Verona: my family was very poor and in 1904 my father was obliged to emigrate to Germany, where he had succeeded in finding work as a bricklayer. My mother cooked meals for the other Italian workers in the house they rented.

After finishing my compulsory schooling, I got a job in a watch factory, but when the First World War broke out a few years later we were obliged to return to Verona. Almost all the men had already left for the front, so it was easy for me to find a job in the Molinari pastry kitchen … one of the best in the city.

After a couple of years, when the owner was called to the front as well, he entrusted the business to me. When the war was over, he didn’t want me to go away, but my constant need for change was pushing me in other directions. I decided to seek work as a waiter.

I went from one job to another. As soon as I felt I’d learned enough, I moved on. I drove my employers crazy.

What I liked most about the hospitality business was the service, making people happy, the continual human relationship with clients. I believe that it was in those years that I learned how much people need people.

I worked as a waiter in hotels in France, Belgium, Italy (in Palermo) and finally in Venice, where I was engaged at the Hotel Monaco, just three meters away from the warehouse for rope that would one day become Harry’s Bar.

My destiny as a barman was decided one day by the owner of the Hotel Europa, where I was working as a Hotel Europa waiter. “Cipriani” – he said – “You’ve got to become a barman because you adopt just the right tone with the clients. They like you and you’re good with languages.” That’s how I became a barman at the Hotel Europa.

In those days, the most popular meeting places for the young Venetian and European aristocracy were the bars in the luxury hotels, like those at the Europa, the Bauer, and the Grand Hotel, and I began thinking:

“Why not open a bar that is just as elegant as these outside the hotel, where customers don’t have to break through a wall of liveried porters and an equally intimidating lobby, as stupendous as it may be.”

Great idea. My only problem was money, or more precisely, my total lack of it.

Harry Pickering

Harry Pickering was a sad young American student who had come to Venice with his aunt to cure his incipient alcoholism. I had serious doubts if the trip to Europe constituted the ideal cure for him however, because he spent entire days at the bar at the Hotel Europa in the company of his aunt, his aunt’s young escort, and a dog. Anyone who wanted to open a small bar would have rung up a respectable margin of profitability serving just those three clients alone, I believe.

After two months, Harry Pickering fell out with his aunt, who went away leaving him alone with the dog and precious little money. I noticed immediately because he stopped drinking almost entirely.

Then, momentarily banishing from my mind the unfortunate memory of a time I’d lent money to a client in San Remo, a swindler I never saw again, I decided to loan him 10,000 Lira, because I thought that this Mr. Pickering was such a fine young man.

In February, 1931, long after abandoning all hopes of ever seeing Harry Pickering again or my money, one day he showed up at the Hotel bar.

“Cipriani,” Harry addressed me. “Here you are. Thanks for the money. In gratitude, I’m adding another thirty-thousand Lira so that you can open a bar of your own for high society.

“I think they’ll call it Harry’s Bar. Not a bad name.”

Yes, I was happy.

Harry’s Bar is born

My wife Giulietta found Harry’s Bar: five meters by nine rented in a warehouse for rope that I liked right away because it was at the end of a blind alley (the bridge that goes to Saint Mark’s Square did not exist at the time) and the clients would have to intentionally go out of their way to get there, and not just wander in by accident.

That was just what I wanted.

I entrusted the decor to the good taste of Baron Gianni Rubin de Cervin – a young patron of the bar at the Hotel Europa who interpreted my wishes to perfection.

I opened Harry’s Bar on May 13, 1931. If all the clients who now say they were among the first to walk through the doors that day actually did, the bar would have had to have been as large as Saint Mark’s Square.

In those days, Venice was the preferred destination of the European aristocracy, and my bar was greeted with immediate success. They faithfully showed up every aperitif hour, one and all.

Ever since the first opening day, the bar has attracted the international and refined clientele that habitually come to Venice on holiday. One day (in 1935, I think) our waiters served lunch simultaneously to King Alfonso XIII of Spain, Queen Wilhelmina of Holland, King Paul of Greece and King Peter of Yugoslavia. It was just by chance, of course. Some festival brought them to Venice. Or maybe a party. King Paul ate scampi Armoricain, one of his favorite dishes here.

The first and only guest book we’ve ever had bears the signatures of Arturo Toscanini, Guglielmo Marconi, Somerset Maughan, Noel Coward, Charlie Chaplin,
Barbara Hutton,
Valentina Schlee,
Orson Welles,
Truman Capote,
Georges Braque,
Peggy Guggenheim . . . and a host of others.

Not everything went as smoothly as that, however. Fascism was in power, and many hotels that were envious of our success began attacking us – attacks that were just as vile as the men who made them. Rumours were spread that Harry’s Bar was first a hang-out for homosexuals, and then the cove of plutocratic Jews, and that I was their guardian that shamelessly defied the Jewish segregation laws.

When World War II broke out, among other ignominies, I was obliged to put up a big sign that read: “Jews not wanted here”. I eventually succeeded in shifting its position from the main room to the kitchen door. In October ’43, the fascists installed a mess hall for their sailors in my dining room.

(A few weeks after the liberation of Venice in April ’45, Cipriani was summoned by the U.S. commander of the Allied forces. “You are not a good Italian,” he told Cipriani sternly. “Why?” he asked. “Because you have not reopened Harry’s Bar.” For probably the first time in his life, Cipriani did not feel inclined to quibble with the authorities.)

Hemingway

During the long, cold winter of 1949-50, Ernest Hemingway installed himself comfortably in the Concordia room. Hemingway practically dropped in on us that year, and divided his time between the Inn on Torcello, the Gritti, and Harry’s Bar, where he had a table of his own in a corner. He was the only client with whom once during an outing to Torcello I had to drink a little myself – much, much more than a little, actually – just to keep up with him.

Hemingway was the only client, I was saying, because I have always believed that the client’s place is on one side of the counter, and the barman’s is on the other. Everything in its place….but he had such an overwhelming personality that it was impossible to maintain any barriers.

He was generous to a fault, and filled more pages of his check-book than those of a medium length novel. At the time, he was just finishing “Over the River and Into the Trees” in which he mentions Harry’s Bar many times. Every time I hear someone say “Hemingway sure gave you a lot of free promotion!” I say: “You’re all wet, Bud. It was me and my bar that promoted him. They gave him the Nobel prize afterwards, not before.”

Reflections on
HARRY’S BAR

The final dream

….Old age has finally come and I go for breakfast every day at Harry’s Bar … I still have one more dream: a tavern – spacious, dignified, festive, and elegant, where “ombre” fly across the counter like the whiskies and beers in a Western saloon….Sometimes it’s good to dream. Now I can take the liberty of raising a toast to myself, to you, to us, as I think of this gift of drink as a perpetual well-spring of joy and good humor.

Cheers to the world!

– Giuseppe Cipriani


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s