Greetings from Venice!
Things are not as they appear: What looks like Venice is really Chioggia, an attractive little town south of the bustling tourist magnet in the Venetian Lagoon. Visitors appreciate Chioggia’s laid-back, serene charm.
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Chioggia, a little-known fishing town at the southernmost tip of the Venetian Lagoon looks like a miniature version of Venice. It has its share of canals and palaces, but the pace of life is much slower and Chioggia has an atmosphere all its own.
The blue hour on Corso del Popolo is marked by a buzz of voices just like in a theater before the curtain goes up. Old-fashioned shops in the arcades sell shoes, books, jewelry and medications.
The Italian author Curzio Malaparte once fittingly described the pedestrian street as "one big outdoor café." Now, at aperitivo time, almost every chair is occupied.
Large groups of no-longer-quite-so-young women are gathered around the tableshere and there. On their feet, comfortable, well-worn leather slippers, but perched on their noses,ostentatious sunglasses by Gucci, Dior or Chanel.
Small bowls of potato chips and olives are standing on the table along with half-empty glasses of spritz, that classic mixture of aperol, white wine and sparkling water. Every time the (also aging) waiter serves another round, the mood becomes lighter and the general murmur of voices beneath the awnings becomes louder...
Chioggia: like Venice – but different
Fantastic views: The Grande Italia hotel at the far end of Corso del Popolo backs right onto the lagoon
Caffè Flora is a popular meeting place. The entire town flocks here to bask in its nostalgic interior and enjoy good spritz and delicious sturzzichini appetizers at happy hour.
Small fishing boats come back laden with fresh seafood and Adriatic fish every day. In the evening, they are moored on the Vena Canal.
Chioggia: tranquillity in the shadow of Venice
The Chioggia pipes made by Giorgio Boscolo, the last remaining manufacturer, are renowned the world over.
The Chioggia fish market sells fresh fish and seafood from the Adriatic Sea every day of the week except Mondays.
Perfect souvenir: Fine preserved fish from the Pescheria di Bube delicatessen
El Penelo is the only place you can buy Chioggia pipes. Giorgio Boscolo, the small shop’s idiosyncratic owner, opens up for no more than two hours in the mornings and two hours in the afternoons.
Palazzo Granaio, Borgo San Giovanni, Tel. +39-041/496 64 16
The Antica Osteria Al Cavallo is a chic eatery with modern furnishings in a picturesque side street. It serves regional dishes with a creative twist.
Calle Picelli 468, Tel. +39-041/40 48 63, www.anticaosteriacavallo.it
The Bellini is a bar as well as a wine shop. It has a large selection of Italian vintages that guests can enjoy by the bottle or the glass. Small culinary surprises accompany your order.
Corso del Popolo 1231, Tel. +39-041/550 74 34
pictures: Martin Nink