A Trip to the Islands

Today Venice had a special event whereby one could take a special boat to the various islands in the lagoon. We took the boat to the island of Mazzorbo, which is connected to Burano by a wooden bridge. On Mazzorbo is a wonderful bed and breakfast and restaurant known as Venissa, which sits on a property containing a vast garden and vineyard. We've eaten at the restaurant a couple of times. It's world class. But today, we simply walked through the property.

Burano is one of my favorite places around Venice. It's a pain to get there, but it's very interesting. The houses are small and brightly colored, with all sorts of fascinating things here and there. I've tried to capture some of these in the pictures below.

We ate lunch at a restaurant on Burano called Riva Rosa. I give it five stars. The service was some of the best I've had anywhere, the food was quite good, and the surroundings were very nice. They have a number of tables outside, but I felt they were too close together and too public. One table actually sits on a corner that is heavily traveled by tourists. So, we sat inside.

The walls and floors are bare brick, which is lovely, and the ceilings bare wooden beams. We had a special fixed-price menu, available as part of the special island day. It consisted of an appetizer of the Venetian specialty known as Sarde in Saor, risotto made with gho fish broth, fried calamari with vegetables, water, prosecco, and coffee. All for 45 Euros each. The Sarde and calamari are pictured below.

Sarde is fresh sardines that have been marinated in sweet and sour onions, with raisins and pine nuts. In this instance, it was served on a slab of white polenta. A gho fish is a small brown creature that's used to make the broth for seafood risotto. The fish itself is not part of the dish. It is used only to flavor the broth. If the fish breaks open, the broth is ruined because of the bitter flavor.

After lunch we took a traditional Venetian boat to the island of San Francesco del Deserto, known for a convent and monastery from the 12th century. In my opinion, it's not worth the trip for the average traveler. It has a beautiful grounds, and an ancient church, but it's not all that interesting considering the effort it takes to get there.