Featured Book

Featured Articles

Travel Safety

Featured Advertisers

Hotel Savoy Prague

Sea Kayak Advenures

Search

go

Search By Country:


Search Now:

Experiences

go

Venetian Feasts


"When you have called for the bill to go, pay it and remain, and you will find on the morrow that you are deeply attached to Venice. It is by living there from day to day that you feel the fullness of its charm; that you invite its exquisite influence to sink into your spirit. The place is as changeable as a nervous woman...."
Henry James, Portraits of Places, 1883

A FEAST FOR THE PALATE

 

Venice is a veritable feast for all your senses, each perfectly indulged at the Hotel Cipriani. On the tip of Giudecca Island, this tranquil resort offers luxurious accommodations, an enthusiastic staff, and one of Italy's top chefs. Chef Renato Piccolotto launched his culinary career at the Cipriani at age seventeen, under the management of Guiseppe Cipriani. During the past thirty years he has perfected his craft to high art, receiving the "Piatto d'Oro" from the Accademia Italiana della Cucina and elevating the Ristorante Cipriani to five star status.

Chef Renato Piccolotto, left, and one of his talented pastry chefs show off a favorite dessert. © Sharon Lloyd Spence and Diana Schuster.

Chef Piccolotto's menu this evening is so irresistible, I've given up my diet: thinly sliced raw sea bass marinated in extra virgin olive oil, pumpkin risotto perfumed with rosemary, zucchini au gratin, veal rosettes with wild mushrooms and rosti potatoes. Dessert is sublime: Italian iced mousse perfumed with bitter orange sauce, all beautifully presented and complemented by Chardonnay Doc Isonzo, 1998 and Chianti Classico, 1997.

Hotel Cipriani Managing Director, Dr. Natale Rusconi, hosts a glittering dinner party for botanical artists, entrepreneurs and captains of industry. Fortunately for gourmands, Chef Piccolotto shares his culinary expertise through the Cipriani Cooking School. In 1999, the School offered weeklong classes with gastronomic celebrities like Julia Child, Anne Willan, Faith Willinger and Giuliano Hazan (author of The Classic Pasta Cookbook). So check with the hotel to see who'll be teaching the secrets of fresh pasta, healthy soups and sinful desserts during 2000. The hotel will pamper you with a sumptuous suite, Venice's only swimming pool, and an enthusiastic Concierge who advises "the best way to enjoy Venice? Go out and get lost."

A FEAST FOR THE EYES

Having lived in Venice for over thirty years, Hotel Cipriani Managing Director Natale Rusconi knows the cityís secrets. © Sharon Lloyd Spence and Diana Schuster.

On a perfect Sunday morning my sister Diana Schuster and I "get lost" on a walking tour of Venice with Dr. Rusconi. Not really lost, since Dr. R. has lived in Venice over 30 years and knows exactly where to take us. His passion for the city is intoxicating; we must run to keep up!
Along the way we photograph gondolas floating past ancient pink and gold palaces, shops overflowing with Carnevale masks and hand blown glass, and bakeries beckoning with sweet delights. Clanging church bells invite us to Mass.

"Venice has so many beautiful churches," Dr. Rusconi tells us. "Two of my favorites are San Giorgio Maggiore and Santa Maria Gloriosa dei
Frari. Come, I will show you why they are so famous."

 

We hop off the private Cipriani boat onto San Giorgio Maggiore Island. The dramatic Venetian skyline along the Canale di San Marco suggests a grand opera may begin. "The architect of San Giorgio Maggiore Church was the great Andrea Palladio," Dr. R. explains. "Inside you will see two famous paintings by Jacopo Tintoretto: "The Last Supper" and "The Gathering of the Manna." The Church is a stunning yet peaceful oasis for worship, where Benedictine monks sing Mass in Gregorian chant, and the campanile reveals surreal city vistas. "Few tourists come here, and they should." Dr. Rusconi smiles like a proud father, "It's spectacular."

Navigating the serpentine Canal Grande, our boat drops us at San Polo neighborhood. Dr. Rusconi leads us through a maze of picturesque streets and over several of Venice's 408 connecting bridges. Suddenly we are overshadowed by the grand Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. "Here you see one of the greatest masterworks of all time," whispers Dr. Rusconi ushering us inside. " 'Assumption of the Virgin' was painted by Titian from 1516-1518. Can you believe he was only in his late twenties? Visitors should not miss Frari, it's magnificent, yes?" Dr. R.
says. Stunned into silence, Diana and I can only nod in wonder.

Dr. Rusconi treats us to cappuccino at his favorite pastry shop, Antichi Pasticceri Venexiani. Hot flaky morsels called "rise pastry" emerge from the oven. Dozens of Venetian housewives crowd the bakery, eager to carry them home to hungry children. We gobble up the last few! But no one starves in Venice. After an incredible day exploring La Serenissima with Dr. Rusconi, Diana and I will return to Hotel Cipriani where Chef Piccolotto is creating yet another Venetian feast.

The Hotel Cipriani has the only swimming pool in Venice and it is heated year-round. © Sharon Lloyd Spence and Diana Schuster.

For information on the Cipriani Cooking School, contact:
Hotel Cipriani & Palazzo Vendramin
Giudecca, 10-30133 Venezia, Italy.
Tel: 041 520 77 44
email: reservations@hotelcipriani.it
website: www.orient-expresshotels.com

"Venice has so many beautiful churches," Dr. Rusconi tells us. "Two of my favorites are San Giorgio Maggiore and Santa Maria Gloriosa dei
Frari. Come, I will show you why they are so famous."

We hop off the private Cipriani boat onto San Giorgio Maggiore Island. The dramatic Venetian skyline along the Canale di San Marco suggests a grand opera may begin. "The architect of San Giorgio Maggiore Church was the great Andrea Palladio," Dr. R. explains. "Inside you will see two famous paintings by Jacopo Tintoretto: "The Last Supper" and "The Gathering of the Manna." The Church is a stunning yet peaceful oasis for worship, where Benedictine monks sing Mass in Gregorian chant, and the campanile reveals surreal city vistas. "Few tourists come here, and they should." Dr. Rusconi smiles like a proud father, "It's spectacular."

Navigating the serpentine Canal Grande, our boat drops us at San Polo neighborhood. Dr. Rusconi leads us through a maze of picturesque streets and over several of Venice's 408 connecting bridges. Suddenly we are overshadowed by the grand Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. "Here you see one of the greatest masterworks of all time," whispers Dr. Rusconi ushering us inside. " 'Assumption of the Virgin' was painted by Titian from 1516-1518. Can you believe he was only in his late twenties? Visitors should not miss Frari, it's magnificent, yes?" Dr. R.
says. Stunned into silence, Diana and I can only nod in wonder.

Dr. Rusconi treats us to cappuccino at his favorite pastry shop, Antichi Pasticceri Venexiani. Hot flaky morsels called "rise pastry" emerge from the oven. Dozens of Venetian housewives crowd the bakery, eager to carry them home to hungry children. We gobble up the last few! But no one starves in Venice. After an incredible day exploring La Serenissima with Dr. Rusconi, Diana and I will return to Hotel Cipriani where Chef Piccolotto is creating yet another Venetian feast.

The Hotel Cipriani has the only swimming pool in Venice and it is heated year-round. © Sharon Lloyd Spence and Diana Schuster.

For information on the Cipriani Cooking School, contact:
Hotel Cipriani & Palazzo Vendramin
Giudecca, 10-30133 Venezia, Italy.
Tel: 041 520 77 44
email: reservations@hotelcipriani.it
website: www.orient-expresshotels.com