You almost become desensitised to the constantly changing facade of the shop fronts, so many new stores are opening and closing at the moment that you learn not to become too reliant on any one printer, shoe shop or newsagent.
However, having said that there are of couse a few that we hope are as perennial as the grass. That are untouchable, and if you were to conduct a small survey asking any of the residents which places are sacred to them- I am certain you would have a series of different answers.
And whilst the full discussion of how and why shops appear to be on a monthly cycle, is in fact multifaceted and interwoven into many of the other issues of Venice, the actual subject of this article is to celebrate the opening of two new places that have a positive impact on the Venice as a living city.
First of all, there is the brother, sister or cousin (whatever you want to call it) ‘restaurant’ of the hugely successful Orient Experience, founded by Hamed Ahmadi. Restaurant in this case is in inverted commas because the restaurant is infact just the vehicle for what is a much greater objective. The food narrates the journeys of many of the political refugees and the meeting of these cuisines in one menu shows the cultural integrations.
In this instance the menu holds flavours from the South (Sicily) and East (Balkan and Middle Eastern) kitchens, hence the name, but the concept is applicable to all cultures. Opening the conversation of immigration, infusion of cultures using food as the metafore, but also a very real example of evolving of how culture can be enriched when they are combined. Chefs: Bamba Barry, Iole Provino, Antigona Pacoll. Located just off the zattere waterfront, you will find it in the Russian V-A-C foundation.
“A historical cross roads of different cultures”
Walking into the space off from the relatively busy calle, is like walking into an oasis. Underfoot there is a soft grass material, above the birds seemed to be amplified, and most importantly you are surrounded by a recreation of the lagoon. This concept was created This feature by WE ARE HERE VENICE in order to remind us of the intimate and mutually dependent relationship between Venice and its context. On the wall, next to the menu you will find a sort of visual guide to the plants and algae that are present. It exlplains a small amount about the water type and the botanical associations and functional morphology of the plants that are housed in two large tanks, constantly being replenished with lagoon water. more information: LAGUNA VIVA
“These tanks represent the “salt marsh” environment, low lying islands that emerge gently from the water and illustrate the most typical natural habitat of the lagoon.”
It is the perfect enclosed garden with a water access. Here you can enjoy a leisurely breakfast, lunch, aperitivo or dinner. In fact that they actively invite people to bring their laptops and study here. (However, this is probably the last thing you will be thinking of when you are on holiday). I would highly recommend the saffron tea during the day, Campari spritz with a twist (that tastes slightly like a negroni) for aperitivo, and the Parmiagiana di Melanzane for a light dinner.
The space was designed by English architects, and the exhibition inside despite being the Russian Pavillion actually commissioned English Artists. The space is a fusion between Venetian territory and the inclusive attitude which is both part of the Orient Experience Team’s philosophy and also the Biennales FREE SPACE mission.
Second of all, is a very new discovery for me, but I was overjoyed to have made it. Just off Strada Nuova, opposite the Irish Pub there is a new organic vegetable seller, selling his produce from the Vegetable garden of Venice -SANT’ERASMO.
The farm is the only one in the whole of the lagoon that is certified as completely organic. Using no pesticides or chemicals of any sort and just producing pure flavour. They also sell jams and preserves which are almost impossible to find anywhere else.
Every morning here delivers the produce with his own boat, and is ready in the morning with friendly advice about all of the products and how to prepare them in the best way.
Visit him yourself if you are interested in seeing a more traditional Venice.