Do the Cicchetti Crawl in Venice

Cicchetti Pub

Cicchetti Pub ~ rub elbows with the locals

Venice has much to be admired for, including St. Marks Basilica, Byzantine art, the rambling Museo Correr, the famed Rialto Bridge crowded with shops, and winding waterways.

Gondola traffic on the Venetian Canals

Gondola traffic on the Venetian Canals

However, the one thing I look forward to the most, without exception, is doing the Cicchetti pub crawl.

Seeking Cicchetti Bars in Venice

Seeking Cicchetti Bars in Venice

Venice alleyway

Looks like Pub possibilities straight ahead

Also known as the Venetian Crawl, it’s intended for the locals who stop by after work to munch on “toothpick uglies” downed with glasses of wine. These uglies range anywhere from crostini with toppings, deep-fried mozzarella cheese, gorgonzola, calamari, artichoke hearts, sliced hard-boiled eggs, marinated seafood, olives and prosciutto with melon. Plates of these tidbits usually line the top of the bar. The ‘bacarri,’ or local pubs, open at 6 pm and generally close early.

Cicchetti pub eats. Not so ugly!

Cicchetti pub eats. Not so ugly!

Cicchetti pubs are found on the back alleys. They are generally small and unpretentious. A popular one will have a spilling out of people holding small plates of bites and a drink. There are no cars in Venice, so no need to concern yourself with driving home safely. Just make sure you can swim!

More Pub Grub

More Pub Grub….Yum…

Ombra, small glasses of wine, are typically offered. However, a whole slew of drinks are available upon request. These include prosecco (local sparkling wine), and spritz (white wine with added bitters and seltzer water). Non-alcoholic drinks include arancietta (small glasses of carbonated orange soda), cochetta (small glasses of Coca-Cola or Pepsi), san bitter (slightly carbonated aperitif, similar to spritz without the alcohol), and gingerino (ginger-based aperitif) with no alcohol. It can be served with a small amount of sparkling or still water, or white wine. Mineral water is also offered as either sparkling of still.

Venice pubs come alive

Venice back roads

I found that the further away from the main tourist attractions I ventured, the better and more original the cicchetti pubs became. It is getting harder to find an authentic pub anymore. One that is not too far from the Rialto bridge and down a little winding alley is called Do Mori (San Polo 429 Calle dei Do Mori) which claims to be the oldest bacaro in Venice, dating back to 1462. With a dark wooden interior and copper pots hanging everywhere, it’s a no miss. This pub is famous for its francobollo, postage-stamp tiny white bread sandwiches filled with sliced meats, roasted vegetables, raddichio or gorgonzola.

I love the social atmosphere, the hubbub of people ending their workdays and relaxing into their evening repasts. The only non-touristy eateries in Venice, they offer insight into the life of the average working class resident. And this, I believe, is what makes the heart and soul of Venice come alive.



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29 replies

  1. Wonderful article Susan. I really enjoy your writing style as well as content.

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  2. I am eagerly awaiting the day I can do my own Cicchetti Crawl next month! Great article

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  3. Hello! During my last trip I was looking for a good food tour in Venice, after a little research I found out some food/wine tours.
    I tried the last one and I was positively surprised about the good quality of the tour.
    Here I have a list of some options that I found:

    http://www.walksofitaly.com/tour_bookings/tour_all_listing/4/163

    http://www.urbanadventures.com/Venice_tour_Cicchetti_of_Venice

    http://www.venicewinetour.com/product/wine-tour/

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  4. Wonderful article Susan. I can’t wait to return to Venice for this experience!

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  5. Yum! I’m ready to go now!

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  6. What a funny coincidence, I just posted about Cicchetti crawls recently..great post!

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  7. I love cicchetti and am so happy the stuzzicherie have also spread to southern Italy.

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  8. You hit some different bácari than we did, so I can’t wait to go back for more!

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  9. This looks like a must for me next time I go back to Venice. I have done it in other parts of Italy but did not know what it was called. Great photos, sure sounds like fun. Lyn

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  10. I have heard of these pubs but have never experienced one! I must try to remember the next time I’m in Venice! Being with the locals is what travel is all about for me…and being able to understand Veneziano, can you imagine what stories I could hear??

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    • Those stories would make a best seller book, no doubt! Like you, meeting the locals and hanging with them is when I feel like I have really been someplace. They are the heart and sou that makes it all come alive! Thanks for the comment

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  11. Oh dear, the things you miss on a [insert commercial brand here] ‘Jewels/Highlights of Italy in 13 days’ tour. Our hotel was not even in Venice proper! On the tour we did, we also asked our fabulous Italian tour director why he told us about local specialities, but then mostly delivered meat and three veg dinners. His reply was that most of the patrons were from USA, retirees or close to it, and that is what they requested. That was our last tour of that ilk!

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    • How awful! I have never gone with a tour group. Not my style…I like to dig in and find out for myself. You must go back to Venice. My first time there was using Rick Steve’s Italy book. He is the one who mentioned the cicchetti bars. Also, he is into the backroads authentic experience and gives some great ideas of places to stay, eat and see. I hope you experience Venice with the locals!

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  12. Absolutely one of my favourite things to do in Venice

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  13. I have it on good authority that THE place to enjoy cicchetti is at Cantinone Ai Schiavi near the Zattere water taxi stop. U been there>

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  14. You MUST go to Caravaggio, It is a dream.

    JG

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  15. Great you did it! Like a real Venetian! It’s such a pleasure to read words like “cicchetti”, “spritz” and most of all “ombra”, which is a dialect word of my region! I hope you liked it! 🙂

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  16. Marco, thank you!! Yes, I loved Venice, and the cicchetti was the best part for me. I would go back in a heart beat!! Thank you for your encouraging words…

    Susan

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Trackbacks

  1. Do the Cicchetti Crawl « Italy: From St. Peter to Caravaggio

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