On our recent trip to Venice, after taking the obligatory tourist stroll along the Grand Canal and across the Rialto Bridge, we wandered over to Fondamente Nove and caught the ferry to Burano. I have to be honest, even though we knew that Murano was famous for glass and Burano for lace, the real driving factor behind our visit to Burano was the fact that my mom remembered reading about it in Rick Steve’s book. So, we hoped on the boat, along with 150 of our closest friends (who probably also read Rick Steve’s book) and about 30 life jackets and headed out.
Because the boat was so crowded and we weren’t sure where exactly it would be stopping, we followed along on Google Maps. When we saw we were at Burano, we elbowed our way through the crowd and stepped ashore. There was a breif moment of panic, when we were off the boat but realized that my mom was still on. The attendant asked if she was going to Burano and when she said yes, he pushed her back on to the boat. (She’s pretty feisty, and managed to convince him that we were her people and that she really had to get off the boat!) It was only after she stepped off and the boat pulled away that we looked up and realized that we had gotten off at Mazzorbo. Was this even near Burano? Should we wait for the next boat? Would we die of hunger before then? (Unlikely, since we hadn’t stopped eating since we got there, but…)
Fortunately, a quick look at the map showed us that there was a bridge connecting the small island that we were on, and the island where we meant to get off the vaporetto. And, for once, we weren’t surrounded by thousands of people. In fact, there were just three other people on the street besides us. We decided that it would be best to take advantage of the peace and quiet, and stop for lunch before walking over to see Burano’s brightly colored houses.
Not really knowing where to go, we noticed an open door leading to charming little path. It was unclear if this place was open to the public, but nothing gets in between my mom and a good picture, so she forged right on ahead. As soon as we peeked our heads through a door, we were amazed by the huge vineyard/garden/courtyard in front of us. The path wound past fruit trees, grape vines, colorful roses and poppies. Off to the right, there was a gorgeous patio where a few waiters were serving lunch. There was no question about where we would be eating.
We walked back out to the entrance of an unassuming building to look at the menu on the wal, and only then did we notice that this little find was also Michelin rated. Perfect. After we sat down, it was clear that this was going to be an afternoon to remember. It turns out that Venissa is well known for it’s delicious sea food and as the only vinter actually in Venice.
We (obviously) didn’t have a reservation, but were graciously accomodated in the osteria and were not disappointed. The patio was beautiful, with a view of the vineyard and the rose garden. The tables were set wtih fresh flowers from the garden placed in bottles of Venissa’s own wine. The bottles themselves were beautiful–made from Murano glass and adorned with a simple gold leaf design.
We orderd a salad made of tender octopus with celery and peppers.
We also had salted cod and cheese spread on Italian bread.
The we tried fried sardines with raisins and pickled onions.
For a main course we ordered linguine with mussels, which was one of our favorite dishes (although it was hard to choose).
We also tried linguine with a lovely sauce made of white shrimp.
For dessert, the waiter talked us into a lemon mint panna cotta, which was perfect. There is nothing I can write that would do it justice. It was light, creamy, and refreshing.
The waiter of course recommended an excellent wine to go with our lunch. As I mentioned, Venissa actually produces their own wine but it was a little beyond our lunch budget.
After lunch, we wound our way through the vineyard, where each row of grapes was capped with a gorgeous rose bush.
Then we passed the garden where herbs and vegetables are grown for the restaurant.
When we finally exited the garden, we found ourselves right at the end of the bridge leading to Burano.
Burano itself was filled with tourists all trying to capture (sometimes with their selfie sticks) the perfect shot of the brightly colored houses.
Naturally, we joined right in and tried to snap a few of our own.
The trip outside of Venice proper was refreshing, and well worth it for the chance to be transported from the hustle and bustle of the city and to enjoy an amazing lunch.