5 x Allison Zurfluh's favourites in Venice
Allison Zurfluh founder/owner A···Z Bespoke Venice Lagoon
Allison Zurfluh is passionate about the Venetian Lagoon. Relentless about learning to navigate tiny canals in her little blue boat, she spends her free time researching undiscovered places and learning from her local friends. Allison’s extensive knowledge of the Lagoon and its culture inspire her to create tailor-made travel itineraries for individuals, small groups, and corporate events, with respect for a sustainable Venice. Her itineraries are personal, and aim to deepen her clients’ understanding of and connection with one of the most unique places in the world. She has been recommended by magazines such as Swiss Universe, Far & Away, and The Luxury Travel Advisor. Check out Allison Zurfluh's website and follow her on Instagram. Photo © Sylvia Baosh
1) Chiesa di Santa Caterina
On a quiet island in the Northern Lagoon, far from the crowds, this 8th century church is my happy place on any given day. Its wooden ceiling, built in the shape of the hull of a ship, speaks to an ancient, local fishing tradition that continues to thrive. It is one of the first places I visited in the Lagoon, and I still pull up to its private dock and enter its peaceful garden just to sit in the silence. The bell in Santa Caterina’s campanile is the oldest in the Venetian Lagoon, dating to 1318.
2) Venissa Ristorante
Set among the wild barena of the north, Venissa Ristorante is a haven of understated elegance set in a walled vineyard. Michelin-starred cuisine is crafted in a spirit of ecological sustainability, and is a celebration of Lagoon-sourced bounty with a contemporary twist. I love to lunch here when there is time to linger. The staff is friendly and always eager to tell the fascinating story of how the wine resort was founded by Gianluca Bisol, beginning in 2002. Exit on the canal side and meander along the stone walkway bordering the water on your way home.
3) Pesca Turismo Nettuno
This expedition into the northern Lagoon and its fishing traditions is by far one of my favourite things to do in Venice. Domenico, who grew up fishing with his father, explains the intricacies of the trade and the challenges of its future, while Enrico expertly manoeuvres the wooden bragozzo over invisible canals. Their passion and love for their homeland is both inspiring and irresistible, and you get to see otherwise inaccessible parts of the Lagoon, with its wild ducks, swans, heron, pink flamingos, and more.
4) Trattoria Al Gatto Nero
If there is anywhere that feels like home in Venice it is here. Not only is the food fresh and prepared in traditional Venetian style, the atmosphere is gregarious and inclusive. Massi Bovo leads as General Manager and Friend to All, while Chef Ruggero and his team roll out plate after plate of the colourful dishes that have made them famous the world over. The best way to order is to go with whatever the kitchen suggests that day. You can often catch a glimpse of one famous guest or another, but that doesn’t seem to faze anyone working here, because at the Gatto Nero status is irrelevant - and everyone is equal. Of course, this has endeared them to the entire planet, so book your table well in advance.
5) Panificio Pasticceria Costantini
Of the several delicious bakeries in Burano turning out traditional Bussolà and Esse cookies, as well as sweets like pevarini and zaletti, Costantini is the one I can never resist. Each bakery has its specialty, so I shop them all, but this one uses the freshest of ingredients, which makes their cookies unbeatable. They have a much tinier selection than other bakeries in town, and that seals the deal for this cookie lover who still believes that simple and traditional never get old.
The 500 Hidden Secrets of Venice reveals off-the-beaten track places and interesting details for anyone who's keen to explore Venice's best-kept secrets.
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