La Dolce Vita
There are lots of ways for anyone to enjoy themselves in Venice: you can sip an aperitif in one of the elegant coffee shops in Piazza San Marco, or you can listen to an opera at the Gran Teatro La Fenice, or discover the traditions tied to the Venetian “bacari”.
For lovers of more sophisticated things, there is nothing better than taking a pleasant break at some historical cafe in St Mark's Square or at Harry’s Bar or Harry’s Dolci at Giudecca.
The Caffè Florian is situated under the portico of the new Procuratie and is considered to be one of the symbols of Venice. Since it was opened in 1720, the Caffè Florian has hosted many famous guests such as Goldoni, Lord Byron, Foscolo, Goethe, Dickens, Proust, D’Annunzio and Eleonora Duse, Rousseau, Stravinsky, Modiglioni. The inner rooms are sumptuous: The Lounge of Mirrors, the Oriental Lounge, the Senate Lounge and the Liberty Lounge are nineteenth century treasures that can be admired while sipping some good coffee and tasting some dainty cakes. During the good season you can also relax sitting outside, in the center of Piazza San Marco, listening to the music played by the Caffè’s private orchestra.
Another historical bar is Harry’s Bar, which was opened by Giuseppe Cipriani in 1931 in a small warehouse near San Marco that soon became one of the most famous restaurants in the world. Many artists and writers such as Hemingway and politicians and monarchs have appreciated Cipriani’s cooking, all of whom then contributed to the bar’s legend. Arrigo Cipriani, the inventor of the Bellini (a cocktail made from white wine and peach juice) made Harry’s famous across the ocean too, and reached New York.
Lovers of the opera and ballet can go to shows at the Gran Teatro la Fenice, that was recently rebuilt “as it was and where it was” after a dreadful fire.
If you want a simpler kind of entertainment in a more informal location, we recommend you go on a tour of the "bacari": these typical Venetian pubs with wooden tables and benches are full of "cicchetti" (appetizers). Two of the most characteristic are Do Spade and Il Volto where you can drink a glass of wine in a truly authentic atmosphere.
If you want a place bustling with life, we advise you to go to Campo Santa Margherita that is the university and artists’ area, and also to the Ghetto, especially the nearby Fondamenta della Misericordia that features ethnic restaurants, bars and a milestone in Venice nightlife, such as “Paradiso Perduto”.
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