Ancient kitchens in the Ospedaletto? A farmer’s market at the women’s prison? A late night library? These are some of the intriguing places included in a recent article in Italy Magazine, which I thought I’d share with you today:
I’ve walked by the Ospedaletto countless times. In fact, it’s right next to a Casanova site, his former apartment on Barbaria de le Tole. I’m really intrigued to know what went on in the kitchens. I think I’ll do some research this summer, once school is out, and share it in a future blog post. And I’ll definitely go inside next time, rather than walking by. Same goes for the Carmini; a couple summers ago, I took my daily break from Italian language class sitting in front of the church, but I never went inside.
But of course this magazine article made me think of my own favorite hidden gems of Venice. My seven Casanova walks take you to some very out of the way places, some corners of Venice that I hadn’t seen or hadn’t paid attention to. I found the place where Casanova parked his boat! And where his hairdresser lived! And where he passed out in church!
Or another good way to see hidden Venice is the A Beautiful Woman in Venice tours with Vonda Wells. Long time followers of this blog know that Vonda inspired me to write the book of the same name. But she’s the one who will take you to see the Red Light District, a secret casino with a spy hole, and the magical red brick where you can make a wish. She’ll also take you to lunch at a former brothel. If you’ve enjoyed reading stories or seeing my videos about the Beautiful Women, Vonda will show you these places in person–well, if you’re a woman, which is the target audience for her tours.
I remember one time I was walking in the San Polo district, on a busy street full of shoppers and tourists. I saw a man with a pained expression on his face listening to Science Friday from NPR. His pain, I learned, stemmed not from Science Friday but from dogging his wife’s heels as she visited 82 mask shops. He told me how much he hated Venice. I was heartbroken. “Go wander!” I advised. “Go walk down the little side streets and meet your wife at the Rialto Bridge in an hour. See what else Venice has to offer.” He just shrugged.
Don’t suffer like he did! If you need tips on hidden Venice, let me or Vonda know. Or JoAnn Locktov and Laura Morelli, who contributed to the “Hidden Venice” article; I know them to be warm people who are happy to share their love of Venice with others. Or just ramble until you get lost. The very earliest advice I ever got about Venice was this: Just wander until you get to the water, then turn around and wander back. Getting lost is the best way to experience this city.