venice : italy : december 22
The last couple of years have been a bit crazy, haven’t they? Travel, in the early days, was for very obvious reasons much curtailed and so for a long time we didn’t get to see family and friends in person. Thank goodness that we do live in an age, though, where communication is easy and we’ve spent much time catching up with people via calls and on online. But, this year, things have started to get back to something resembling normality and we spent almost a whole summer with our family who came out to visit us. We’ve also started doing a bit of travelling again ourselves, mainly to Italy because it’s now so close, so again things are starting to feel a little more like they were pre-2020.
Just recently, we were very lucky to be able to drive across to Venice and meet up with Didsbury friends, who had decided to come over for a long weekend. The original plan had been for them to visit us, in Istria, but winter flights just weren’t working out for the small window they had for travel, so Venice was agreed as they could get flights and we could travel across, easily. And, it doesn’t matter how many times we visit Venice, we are always in awe of its staggering beauty – and the fact that it’s somewhere that is now so accessible. If we travel on the motorway, it’s just under two hours, but the more leisurely SS14, across the flat Veneto, is a much less stressful option, although a bit longer.
Through AirBnb, we booked an apartment for two nights, in the Dorsoduro area of the city, right on canalside. In the summer this must be a prime apartment, with two large baclonies with seating/sunbathing and dining areas – premium space I’d expect in this part of Venice. For the four of us, it was pretty perfect in early December, too. Large, two big bedrooms and two bathrooms and a spacious living room, with an area for dining and an open plan kitchen. As it rained heavily on one night we were there, we decided to eat in, and it was a great place to spend a night with friends.
Dorsoduro isn’t an area that we know too well, so it was good to discover more of Venice. It’s located very close to the big Marco Polo car park, so easy to get your bearings – although as with anywhere in this magical city, half of the thrill of exploring is to just walk and wander and get lost at times, knowing that at some point, you’ll come across somewhere or something familiar. The weather wasn’t the best – grey, misty and drizzly – but having visited during the Aqua Alta in 2018, we found sight-seeing this time, to be a bit of a breeze…
Our apartment was located very close to Campo Santa Margherita and we found a lovely osteria called Bakarò. Looking nothing really from the outside, once inside, you realise quite how beautiful it is.
Raw and industrial in places, you’re left in doubt this is an old building – and it wears its history on its sleeve. Exposed brickwork, steel beams, old windows which would have been on an upper floor, but because the floors have been removed, the windows seem to float. The lighting is muted and very atmospheric and perfect for a rainy December evening, when all you want to do is cosy up and eat fabulous food. Which is just what we did…