What I found first was the Basilica of San Pietro di Castello. OK, yes, I have found it many times before, but today I went inside! Not only did I go inside, I also had the entire place to myself which is an extremely rare pleasure in any historic building of Venice. I felt blessed! And I only arrived there when I did because I spent the morning taking every turn that called out to me between Campo Sant Angelo and L'Isola di San Pietro di Castello.
As Venetians say: You have to "go inside" to discover the best things in Venice. I discovered the bust of Lorenzo Giustiniani, the first Patriarch of Venice! Not a bad find. :-)
My good fortune for the day continued when I happened to glance to my right as I was walking down the Frezzeria on the way home to Campo Sant'Angelo. Osteria Da Carla looked warm, inviting and totally out of place in the neighborhood. So, in I went. Though I half expected to be greeted with the 6-euro-al-banco half sandwiches that other "bacari" sell to tourists in this neighborhood, I wasn't just pleasantly surprised, I was completely blown away by both the food and the service there. The cicchetti revolution continues! Da Carla they've elevated it to an art form almost as contemporary as their decor. Rissoto wrapped in smoked fish atop sepia polenta with mint? Thank you very much!
Meanwhile, and this is rare in Venice in general and almost unheard of near Piazza San Marco, the staff at Da Carla spoke with me in Italian rather than switching to English the moment they heard me butchering their language. They do speak English and they knew I am American, yet they intuited that I preferred to try to speak with them in Italian and so gave me that opportunity even if it meant that it would take that much longer to communicate with me. I appreciate that more than I can say ladies!
Da Carla is taking the top spot in our Cicchetti Spots section and I'll be back for both the snacks and company!