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essence travel


More fabulous local secrets


are waiting to be discovered in Cannaregio, which is just a little too far from the central areas for most visitors to venture.


area’s history between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, or enjoy browsing the countless independent art galleries and antique shops that line the sepia-toned streets. If you’re feeling really adventurous, of course, then you could always set out to explore Venice’s outlying islands. Colourful Burano, with its old lace shops and glass factories, is tipped to be the next big destination in Italian travel, with Nicholas Cage and Phillipe Starck both said to own holiday homes there. Tranquil Mazzorbo is a painter’s haven, and La Certosa is fast becoming a gourmet paradise.


Evening entertainment That leads us on neatly to Venice’s flourishing gastronomic scene. With too many overpriced and tourist-centric restaurants, this isn’t by any means Italy’s most renowned foodie capital – but there are a growing number of delectable eateries to suit every pocket. For a real treat, head to Alle Testiere (www.osterialletestiere.it), a creative seafood restaurant where the dishes are based around fresh ingredients from the local Rialto fish market. Looking to celebrate a red-letter occasion? The two- Michelin-starred Met restaurant at the Metropole Hotel (www.hotelmetropole.com) offers a menu packed with luxurious ingredients such as foie gras and rich dark chocolate, serving up mouthwatering dishes against an opulent backdrop. If you want to experience the real Venice, then rub shoulders with the locals at one of the canal-side baracos that fill the city’s narrow back streets. Anice Stellato (www.osterianicestellato.com) is a hidden diamond, offering pavement tables where diners can enjoy tapas- style snacks for just a euro each. If you’re prepared to travel a little further for your dinner, take a trip across the lagoon to Mazzorbo where Venissa restaurant (venissa.it) sits amid its own vineyards and vegetable patches. More than two thirds of visitors to Venice melt away to


their hotels after dark, but there’s still plenty in the way of post-prandial entertainment. The Teatro La Fenice opera house (www.teatrolafenice.it) has a packed programme of world-class events throughout the year, and there are


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Colourful Fondamenta Cavanella in Burano


tours available too for those whose budget won’t stretch to tickets. A cheaper and equally romantic option is to book a spot at the 70-seater Musica a Palazza (www.musicapalazzo.com) – a tiny and little-known opera venue where shows take place by candlelight and the singers lead the audience from room to room as the performance progresses. If you manage to time your visit to coincide with one


of Venice’s autumn festivals then you could be in for an extra treat. One to watch out for is the Feast of Santa Maria della Salute on November 21, which sees locals light candles in front of the Salute Church before enjoying huge dishes of mutton and raisin-stuffed fritters. Even if you miss this lively feast day, though, there’s always plenty to do and see in the Floating City – and you’ll see it at its most romantic in autumn.





Hidden Venice


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