i found this article on the new york travel show website. Enjoy!
By ONDINE COHANE
Published: October 27, 2010
WITH its picture-perfect canals and waterside palazzi, Venice is a romantic idyll. No wonder 18 million tourists pile onto the floating city each year. But what is surprising is that the embattled residents still manage to carve out a hometown for themselves — a pastiche of in-the-know restaurants, underground bars, quiet piazzas and calmer, outlying islands. And that’s not counting all the cultural offerings that Venetians take full advantage of. The cool art scene now goes beyond the Biennale. And instead of sinking, architectural icons have re-emerged as new landmarks.
1) MODERN INSTALLATION
Venice’s artsy side is on display at the new Punta della Dogana (Dorsoduro 2; 39-041-523-1680; palazzograssi.it), the city’s former customs house that was transformed into a museum to hold part of the sizable art collection of the luxury goods magnate François Pinault. Completed last year, it was designed by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando, who left the bones of the stunning landmark intact but created light and airy galleries for the heavyweight contemporary work. The view from the sidewalk is just as impressive, looking back onto the Grand Canal and across to Giudecca — keep an eye out for Charles Ray’s sculpture “Boy With Frog,” his first outdoor installation.
2) LAGOON TO TABLE
Dismayed by the city’s reputation for high prices and mediocre food, a consortium of restaurants formed Ristoranti della Buona Accoglienza (veneziaristoranti.it), or the Restaurants of Good Welcome, with a pledge to offer transparent pricing, full disclosure of ingredients and a commitment to culinary traditions. Among the outstanding members is Alle Testiere (Castello 5801; 39-041-522-7220; www.osterialletestiere.it), a nine-table establishment owned by a group of young Venetians that serves seasonal and local seafood like gnocchi with calamaretti and fresh grilled sea bass. Pair with a regional wine like Orto, a grassy white made in Sant’ Erasmo, an island in the Venetian Lagoon. Entrees run from 25 euros, or $34 at $1.36 to the euro, pastas from 19 ($26). Be sure to make a reservation.
3) BAR SCENE
New hotel bars have woken up the city’s once-sleepy night life. Among the current hot spots is the PG, a restaurant and bar at the recently opened Palazzina Grassi (San Marco 3247; 39-041-528-4644; palazzinagrassi.it), a 16th-century palazzo that was transformed by Philippe Starck into a design hotel. Johnny Depp held court there when filming “The Tourist,” and a pop-up of Amy Sacco’s Bungalow 8 relocated to the lobby during the Venice Film Festival this year.
4) MODERN NOOK
Carlo Scarpa, the architectural godfather of Venetian modernists, is back in vogue. See why at the Fondazione Scientifica Querini Stampalia (Santa Maria Formosa Castello 5252; 39-041-271-1411; querinistampalia.it; 10 euros), where he transformed the garden and ground floor into a modernist haven in the early 1960s. Upstairs a quiet library is a great spot to read a newspaper with locals on the weekends or to see the painting “Presentation of Jesus in the Temple” by Giovanni Bellini, one of the city’s underappreciated masterpieces.
5) SET IN STONE
In another example of the city’s new artistic drive, the Ca’ Pesaro International Gallery of Modern Art (Santa Croce 2076; 39-041-524-0695; museiciviciveneziani.it), housed in a white marble palazzo from the 17th century, is showcasing 40 works in steel, glass and stone by Tony Cragg, a sculptor from Liverpool. The contrast between the 21st-century work and the Baroque interiors is striking, and a recently restored second-floor gallery showcases Mr. Cragg’s pieces alongside those of Rodin. Afterward take a walk on the winding streets behind the museum, a residential enclave away from the tourist fray.
6) NOTHING FISHY
Seafood doesn’t get much fresher than at Pronto Pesce (Pescheria Rialto, San Polo 319; 39-041-822-0298; prontopesce.it), a tiny street-front bar that sits next to the city’s fish market. Specials change daily, but seafood couscous, tangy anchovies under olive oil and marinated mackerel make regular appearances, along with more substantial primi like gnocchi with squid ink. Glasses of house white or bottles like Brigaldara’s Garda Garganega round out a delightful meal. Grab a stool and watch the market close up shop for the day. Appetizers from 1.50 euros, pastas from 15.
7) HANDSOME ATELIERS
Forget kitschy masks and imitation Murano glass. The streets radiating off bustling Campo Santo Stefano as far as the Grand Canal are lined with one-of-a-kind galleries and small boutiques. Galleria Marina Barovier (San Marco 3202; 39-041-523-6748; barovier.it; by appointment) carries hard-to-find vintage glass pieces and items by contemporary artists that end up in museum collections. Chiarastella Cattana (San Marco 3357; 39-041-522-4369) makes tablecloths, cushion covers and duvets from luscious fabrics of her own design. Nearby, Cristina Linassi (San Marco 3537; 39-041-523-0578; cristinalinassi.it) has silk lingerie and gossamer nighties that look straight out of Sophia Loren’s closet circa 1950.
8) CICCHETTI CIRCUIT
The debate over the city’s best cicchetti, or old-style tapas, is as fiery for Venetians as is politics or religion. The good news is you don’t have to choose just one. A tour might start at the bar of Trattoria da Fiori (San Marco 3461; 39-041-523-5310), where artists and residents nibble on polpette di carne (meatballs) and sip glasses of tocai. At the sleeker Naranzaria (San Polo 130; 39-041-724-1035; naranzaria.it), try the light spinach pie with a glass of wine (many of the wines offered come from the owner Count Brandolini’s own vineyards). Nearby, Cantina do Mori (San Polo 429; 39-041-522-5401) is an atmospheric old-school spot that attracts a well-heeled crowd. And Al Merca (San Polo 213; 39-346-834-0660) is the preferred choice for a Venetian spritz — prosecco, Aperol or Campari, sparkling water and a slice of lemon or orange. Cicchetti rarely exceed 2 euros a piece.
9) PARTY AL FRESCO
After dinner, the large Campo Santa Margherita becomes the city’s meeting point where students grab a spritz or beer at Il Caffè (Campo Santa Margherita 2963; 39-041-528-7998), and an older, fashionable crowd meets at Osteria alla Bifora (Dorsoduro 2930; 39-041-523-6119). On warm nights the piazza becomes one big multigenerational party.
10) ITALIAN DOUGH
Join residents at Pasticceria Tonolo (Dorsoduro 3764, Calle San Pantalon; 39-041-523-7209) for the cream-filled fresh doughnuts known as krapfen. You may have to jostle Italian-style for the beloved pastry (1 euro) that sells out by noon, but it’s worth the wait.
11) ISLAND IDYLL
If you’re planning a spring trip, do as the Venetians do and head to the outlying islands that dot the lagoon. Among the gems is Mazzorbo and its six-room inn and restaurant, Venissa (Fondamente di Santa Caterina, 3; 39-041-527-2281; venissa.it), which is open from March to November. Opened this year by Bisol, an Italian prosecco company, the resort has given new life to a walled vineyard dating from the 1800s. Paola Budel, the chef, who used to run the restaurant at Milan’s Principe di Savoia, serves fish from the lagoon and upper Adriatic, vegetables from the restaurant’s own orchard or adjacent islands; and wines from the nearby regions of Friuli, Veneto and Trentino. Recent dishes included figs from a nearby tree and snapper caught in the lagoon that morning. Lunch, about 70 euros. Afterward wander the main pathway along the waterfront, where a bridge connects to the more-visited island of Burano, with its vibrant pastel-colored buildings. The two islands capture what Venetians know well: you can escape the crowds in the blink of an eye if you are willing to cross the water.
IF YOU GO
Delta and Alitalia are among the airlines that fly to Venice from New York, from $663 in November. You can make your way around town by foot or vaporetto.
Opened in 2007 near the Rialto Bridge, Ca’ Sagredo (4198 Campo Santa Sofia; 39-041-241-3111; casagredohotel.com) is housed in a restored 15th-century palazzo, with 42 luxurious rooms starting at 300 euros, $408 at $1.36 to the euro.
The Novecento (San Marco 2683; 39-041-241-3765; novecento.biz) in San Marco has nine small rooms but also a fine staff, a charming garden and an excellent breakfast that’s included in the price; from 160 euros.
Outside the main island’s fray, the new Venissa (Fondamente di Santa Caterina, 3; 39-041-527-2281; venissa.it) on Mazzorbo has six nicely furnished rooms and makes a great base for exploring the lagoon. It closes Nov. 7 for the season but will continue taking reservations for spring. Rooms from 110 euros.
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