Everyone knows Venice as the city of love, with its amazing palaces which seem to float on water, its breathtaking landscapes, its traditional rowing boats and its glorious past as the capital of La Serenissima Republic.

But do you know that Venice is much more than that?

Ancient traditions run along the narrow streets of Venice – the so-called calli – and many of them tell us about food and drink habits. Most of these traditions are lost in time and can only be read on books – but fortunately there are others which are still alive and carried on by old as young Venetians.

One of the most lively tradition is the dimension of a particular kind of rough pub called bacaro. In a bacaro you can enjoy a very cheap glass of wine if you order a vino della casa accompanied by a fresh sandwich filled with Italian salami, or a typical spritz, a drink made of white wine and Aperol. You can also find cicchetti, delicious starters made of small pieces of bread with various toppings. The main characteristic of bacari is the atmosphere of a genuine open living room where old and young people can share a relaxing moment after work.

Usually the furniture is simple and the menu is essential. The chilling atmosphere is given by the ostewhich is more than a bartender: he is a kind of landlord which entertains his guests and sometimes can seem gruff – but it’s just a role he plays.

The bacari are not promoted in order to preserve their genuinity – therefore it’s hard to find many tourists and it would take a little to find a bacaro… But it is totally worth the effort!

Rita Fabbri