Sunday, November 4, 2012

In Venice You’ll find The ‘Spritz’ of Place

Travelers often search for the ‘spirit of place’ ~ that elusive sense of something -  often intangible - that gives each place its unique identity.

In Venice we found ‘the Spritz of place’ a most tangible (and tasty) bit of identity.

VeniceAmsterdam2012 063You couldn’t miss it.

The bright orange drink, served in stemmed wine or short stout water glasses, was being consumed it seemed everywhere we went.

Neither the time of day nor the location - sidewalk cafes or standing at the counter of a neighborhood bar – had any bearing on consumption.

So it seemed fitting on our first evening in Venice to do start researching this beautiful beverage.  With a medley of Johnnie Cash’s mournful songs wailing from its speakers, we settled in for sunset-watching along the Guidecca Canal at Al Chioscchetto bar.

The popular spot is a small kiosk from where drinks and sandwiches are served to those sitting at its scattering of waterside tables. It was here we had our first taste of this nectar-like aperitif; the Venetian Spritz; a drink so popular that it has been called “The National Drink of Venice”.

VeniceAmsterdam2012 062

One  Facebook page claims that it ‘not a drink, but a way of life.’ Another says that sipping one at this bar is a great way to  stare in compania, hang out and blend in.  So that’s what we did until Aqcua Alta forced closure of this bar and we enjoyed our daily tradition elsewhere.


One of the favorite parts of our stare in compania at this place, however, was watching Keo, the ‘bar dog’ as he greeted and was adored by patrons and passersby:

VeniceAmsterdam2012 069

But even he had to take a break and enjoy an aperitif:

VeniceAmsterdam2012 070


VeniceAmsterdam2012 155The ‘spritz of place’ story doesn’t end there though. . .





VeniceAmsterdam2012 255. . .I’d been researching the drink for this blog post when I came across the mention of a fund-raising project at Guidecca, the women’s prison that was tied to the drink . . .

. . . the screen printing and sale of canvas ‘Spritz bags’. 

In addition to the production of these bags, inmates tend an organic vegetable garden within the prison’s walls and sell their produce, outside the walls, each Thursday on Fondementa della Convertite.  They’ve created a line of toiletries and lotions, some of which use the plants grown in their garden.  They also run a laundry for a local hotel.  Inmates generate income and also develop job skills during their incarceration, all of which sound like a recipe for success  to me.

Speaking of recipes, here are some variations of the drink recipes printed on the back of the bag:

VeniceAmsterdam2012 256

Campari, bitter, or Aperol is the key ingredient in this yummy drink .  The orange one – our favorite -- is made with Aperol and the recipe on the back of its bottles calls for three parts Prosecco,(that bubbly Italian wine) two parts Aperol and a splash of soda. Garnish with slice of orange and a green olive.

If You Go: 

The bar, Al Chioschetto, is on the Zattere in the Dorsoduro. It is popular spot, especially in summer months when live music is featured, but shutters up when bad weather or high water hits.


We found the Guidecca-produced canvas bags (7.10-euro) anda large selection of skin care products at the Aqua Altra Societa Cooperative Sociale store at 2898 Calle Della Scuola, near Campo Santa Margherita in the Dorsoduro. (Across from the entry to the Scuola).

25 comments:

  1. I can't tell if Joel has had too many spritzes or not enough in that photo, Jackie! ;)

    Dear friends of ours brought back the ingredients to stir up a few of them after their trip to Venice last year--I hate to admit it but I can see how that could become a way of life!!

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    1. He was just getting started. . .and perked right up after finishing the first one. I just came back from the local grocery store and was delighted to find Aperol on its shelves. I'd not paid attention before. . .and yes, it could well become a tradition even in dreary, wet Kirkland.

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  2. THIS is my next stop - thanks for whetting my appetite even further. have a lovely week. Fx

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    1. Will you believe that I totally missed the drink when in Venice!!! Another reason to return.

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    2. Francesca, you will love all of Venice but I am certain you will really love their "Spritz of Place"!

      and Inka, I think you'd best be heading back there to try a few of these goblets of the Gods!

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  3. I would love to go to Venice; looks like a nice place to visit. I enjoyed reading your article.

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    1. Thanks for visiting James. Hope to see you back again as a subscriber or see your photo among the followers. I'll check out your site as well.

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  4. Cute! I love the bag and would probably have bought one for souvenirs!

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    1. Thanks. I was so taken with the bag and am not sure when or where I'll use it, but it does bring back great memories.

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  5. Love the photos and tip re the inmates' cooperative! How great that they're doing that. Sounds a great place to pick up unique made-in-Venice souvenirs. I didn't try a spritz when I was in Venice this fall but can try one now following your recipe. Great stuff!

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    1. Thanks for writing Lesley. I plan to go in search of Aperol myself this week, although part of my research warned that the drink will never taste as good if you are drinking it outside Venice. :-)

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  6. Seems like Venice is a nice place to grab a drink and do some people watching; enjoyed reading your article.

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    1. It can be beautiful. . .I did a post though on Acqua Alta which is the reverse; this nice cafe was covered with water from the canal, the rain poured and the wind howled. . .beauty and the beast you might say.

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  7. What great pictures! I thought the Bellini was the classic Venetian drink. Can't wait to try this one.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Irene. And yes, you must try a Spritz. . .soon!

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  8. Jackie, you had me at Johnny Cash! The drink sounds really good and of course dogs in bags...you can't beat that! Too cute... :)

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    1. You are just like us Mike, suckers for dogs - any size any shape, especially the kind that appear in the late afternoon while we are sipping cool ones!

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  9. As if I need a reason to plan a trip back to Venice, which was one of my first overseas destination thanks to a high school Mediterranean cruise. They look sooo good, Jackie!

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    1. Well one of these days Nancie we may meet up in Venice and just have to visit over one (or several) of these little wonder drinks!

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  10. I love Italy and Venice is on our bucket travel list. You really captured the relaxed life style of the area.

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    1. Neva, thanks so much for stopping by today and taking time to write! Keep Venice on your bucket list - you won't be sorry!

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  11. Gosh, who'd a thunk Johnny Cash - in Venice? But it just might be the right tempo to stare in compania and enjoy a spritz. It's quite a claim to be the National Drink. Wonder who created it and why it's so popular. Must be the Prosecco. Anyway, that's what would get me hooked!
    Thanks for linking up this week, Jackie.

    And I have an apology. I discovered by accident last week that my browser, Firefox, hasn't been playing well with Blogger so none of my comments have been recorded. It's a pain as I have no idea when this started happening and I've been commenting on a lot of Blogger blogs. Sorry!

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    1. I had missed you but figured your were traveling or something (or cooking up a storm). Love your Foodie Tuesday, Marcia.

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  12. I enjoyed a few of these tasty variations in Italy, too. But I have got to get to Venice to try the Venetian Spritz -- after all it's the National Drink of Venice!

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  13. Oooh, this sounds delicious. I do like that they are doing job training for the women inmates. Seems like a good way to keep them out of trouble when they are released.

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