The Easter holidays are approaching, which always inaugurate the arrival of the spring season in Italy. The City of Venice begins to bloom and walking down the Venetian streets and campi you can begin to see beautiful gardens and colorful balconies with cascades of blossoming wisteria.
Few people know that Venice is full of flower and vegetable gardens, most of which are private and belong to ancient noble palazzi, hidden behind walls and beautiful gates. However, some are visible and open to visitors, and they are actual oases of relax.
Among the ‘secret gardens of Venice’ that you can visit, there is the vegetable garden of the Convento del Redentore on the island of Giudecca, where the friars grow olive trees, vines, fruit trees, vegetables, and aromatic herbs that were once used in the adjacent pharmacy.
Some Venetian public parks are of the 20th century, like the Giardini Papadopoli, which opens the doors to the city for visitors arriving from Piazzale Roma. The park once covered an area of 12000 square meters and held a collection of exotic plants that brought wonder and amazement to the travellers of the romantic Grand Tours.
The French built the Giardini Reali, worthy of the new viceroy of Italy Eugenio di Beauharnais, which were then connected to the new Giardini Pubblici (called Napoleonic) of the Castello district. This is a wonderful area to stroll around, read a good book, and relax.
The Associazione Wigwam organizes guided tours during the year even in the city’s private gardens.
Like all festivities, Easter also has its own ‘sweet treat’: the ‘Colomba’, the traditional Italian Easter dessert. In Venice, the traditional colomba is called ‘Focaccia veneziana’, a soft sweet bread loaf covered with icing and almonds. There are many bakeries and artisan pastry shops where you can buy colombe of many sizes, from 1 kg to a small single portion.
We suggest you taste the focaccia of Pasticceria Dal Mas on Lista di Spagna, the wide street lined with shops that leads to the train station. Soft, light, and delicious. Simply special!
Treat yourself to a romantic walk on Punta della Dogana. From this strip of land you can enjoy a spectacular view: Piazza San Marco on your left, the island of San Giorgio in front of you, and the island of Giudecca on the right.
You can then make your way towards the Zattere for an aperitif on the terrace of the historic Gelateria Da Nico, where waiters in the summer serve tables wearing sunglasses to protect themselves from the sunlight. If you want to challenge your sweet tooth, here you can taste the best gianduiotto of Venice: a piece of chocolate and hazelnut ice cream literally sliced from a larger block (the gianduiotto) and covered in fresh whipped cream!
The bella stagione of spring is also the perfect time to go to the Lido of Venice. A short Vaporetto ride (Line 1 has the best views) will bring you to the island, which overlooks the lagoon on one side and the sea on the other. This was one of the most elegant beach destinations, where movie stars and writers stayed in luxury hotels and where the International Film Festival takes place every year. A walk among Liberty style villas, more than twenty of the kind, will take you to the Grande Albergo Ausonia Hungaria, on the right-hand side of the Gran Viale (the boulevard that you take once you get off the Vaporetto). The beautiful façade, entirely covered with colored majolica, will leave you speechless (photo).
Once you reach the end of the avenue, all you need is to cross the road to find yourself right by the sea. A stroll down the beach, with the sea on your left, will take you to the Hotel Excelsior 5 *, the historic Belle Epoque hotel that opened in 1908 and has always been a favorite destination for upscale customers, movie stars and royalty.
We recommend you stop for a drink at the Blue Bar, where you can find a selection of snacks for a light lunch or sit at the restaurant with sea-view terrace for an unforgettable one.