Birds & Bees /Mazzorbo Venice/ – video

When I called Venissa I was surprised to have a quaint chat with the person on the other line. She was very helpful (excellent) and went well beyond the call of duty to assist in preparing our day trip.

A trip to Venissa on Mazzorbo island is something you should do if you go to Venice. The island was a favourite haunt of Winston Churchill, who used to escape Venice by sailing out to Mazzorbo and setting up his easel here.

The settings are wonderful, quiet and nature and water is wherever you look. Today, only a couple of hundred people live on the island, so it is quite difficult to imagine that 1,000 years ago, long before Venice itself was settled, Mazzorbo, whose name grandly means “great city”, was a booming settlement with several thousand inhabitants. Connected to Burano by bridge, so you can cross the water for a walk in the colorful town and find yourself amongst plenty of tourists.

Venissa is the brainchild of winemaker Gianluca Bisol, whose family produce some of Italy’s most famous prosecco up in Valdobbiadene, just an hour’s drive from Venice. Here they operate a petite ultra luxury motel styled accomodation, including a wine bar that stocks an excellent choice of wines.

They operate a restaurant based on the nature and surroundings including plenty of seasonal sea food from the lagoon, not to mention their own organic gardens. The vegetables such as turnips, wormseeds (wild spinach) and the tender castraura artichokes eaten raw are all handed over by mother nature.

The original chef working there Paola Budel, who established Venissa as a one star Michelin, has since left and vanished into thin air. The new chef is Antonia Klugmann is said to be very good, although I never tried her cooking:

It would be quite easy to spend the whole day at Venissa, but after lunch, you can head to the quayside, where a mix of fishing and pleasure boats are moored, and instead of looking at the shops, as there aren’t any, you can stop off to try Trattoria alla Maddalena’s famed tagliatelle all’anatra selvatica, a wild duck pasta dish.

If you have time and seek a quiet place and romantic spot – this is it – living the native Venice and sipping one of the finest golden wines on one of the prettiest island spots. Be sure to go in off season to have the island silent, or like most places, it’s busier than you expect, and oh, if you go after September the restaurant is closed but the wine bar open.