Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"Authentic" Venice: Redentore and a Tour of the Bacari

Last Redentore weekend was all about experiencing "real" Venice, so what else to do other than the baccarata?  Baccarata or giro dei bacari is for all intents and purposes a bar crawl, where--I feel silly explaining this--one goes and samples wines and food from bars especially those clustered around the Rialto. Unlike a typical English or American bar crawl however, the baccarata occurs in the day time, the idea being that these bars--the bacari--were originally a place where workers could grab cicchetti (small plates of finger foods, not unlike a tapa)  and ombra--a glass of wine--during their lunch time.  Although many now open all day to accommodate the constant hunger of the tourist, some still only serve food during lunch time, then shut down until the early evening to serve alcohol.   Sadly the heat, coupled with vast amounts of food and the very idea of drinking at noon got to us, and we couldn't make it past the third bar without simply giving up.  

Cantina do Mori

Cantina da Pinto

The food from all three places were excellent, and there was nothing like really eating well in Venice, a very rare occurrence.  But the one thing I found which contradicted what I have read about these places is the price.  It must have been different before when they were still relatively unheard of, but now do expect to pay top euro for a chance to eat well.  Each serving cost about one euro fifty to three euros, and a glass of wine can cost as much as five euros each (sadly these are actually quite cheap by Venice standards, but I am used to Vicenza which tends to be a bit cheaper).

Then of course there is the Redentore, the floating bridge, and the fireworks.  We were fortunate that this year was not as scorching hot as last year's festival, but in our excitement we secured seats two and a half hours well in advance and secured many cans of cheap beer from a grocery store.  The result: watching the fireworks while trying to squeeze through the packed crowds to get to a bar or restaurant that will let us use their bathroom facilities.  Not the ideal way to experience the Redentore, but makes for a good story nevertheless.

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