Venice is definitely one of the top travel destinations in the world, with millions of tourists coming to visit its stunning canals and impressive monuments. Besides the common tours, there is a funnier way to delve into the thousand-year old traditions of the so-called Floating City, that is having a bite of its mouthwatering food during Venice Private Tours.
Luckily, Venice is not only a place of overpriced restaurants but also tiny low-cost bars where venetians love hanging out and taste their favourite food: Cicchetti!
Thus, when in Venice act like locals do and have a seat in a classic bacaro, surrounded by that one of a kind cozy atmosphere.
Check out below to get to know more about this appetizing food.
What are Cicchetti
The italian word Cicchetti comes from the Latin Ciccus, which means “little” referring to a small portion of food, a snack that can be flavoured while sampling a glass of wine or as locals say Ombra (Shadow). So, while strolling through the beautiful "Sestrieri", there is a high chance of hearing “Let’s go to drink a shadow”, that is a welcoming invitation for a drink.
Basically, Cicchetti are the Venetian equivalent of the Spanish Tapas or the Aperitif in Milan.
What is even better is that there are no rules about timing: you can taste them whenever you want during the day. Venetians eat them in the morning, in the afternoon or at night without paying much attention to a specific hour.
Despite being mostly finger food, they are made with high quality ingredients, usually fish or meat combined with bread.
A local legend reports that the origins of the Cicchetti dates back to the XIII Century, when the Republique of Venice was spreading its commercial business. Trades developed more and more therefore merchants were often busy, with few time at disposal to rest. To satisfy their hunger, they started eating the venetian version of fast food: Cicchetti.
Today, there is a countless variety of cicchetti, plus they are absolutely affordable even for those who are traveling on a budget, matching needs with pleasure. In fact, cicchetti cost between 1 and 3 euros.
Formerly prepared with common ingredients of the area of Venice, now cicchetti can include savours of other countries as well. Some of our favourites are toasts with creamed codfish and sardines in saor, which are served with onions and agrodolce sauce.
Where to taste the real venetian cicchetti
To taste the authentic Cicchetti of Venice, just go to a Bacaro, an old-style bar where it is possible to order them both at a table or at the counter. Frequently Bacari are simple locations with few seats, and some of them don’t even consider the option. Most of the time, the larger part of the bar is occupied by a wooden counter with daily dishes, so depending on the day of the week, you may find different menus.
What does Bacaro mean? The word Bacaro has mainly two interpretations. It may be referred to the God of Wine, Baccus or it may be about the venetian way to say “celebrate” that is Far Bacara.
Our picks for Venice Food Tours
Since there are a myriad of Bacari in the lovely Lagoon City, it is highly suggested to choose the best ones before the trip. Here are our picks for you.
Cantine del Vino già Schiavi is a traditional venetian bar whose foundation dates back to 1944. Located in Dorsoduro district, It has been nicknamed Botegon by its customers.
Al Timon instead is in the area of the Jewish Ghetto, so it is an unmissable stop after visiting this historical place of Venice. This is a lively family run osteria that benefits from a fascinating traditional atmosphere, away from the city chaos.
If you are interested we can organize a wonderful Venice private tour with Cicchetti tasting.