Cicchetti e l’ombra is a Venetian tradition that includes a little bit of something to eat (=cicchetti) and something to drink (l’ombra), usually toward the late afternoon or early evening. Similar to enjoying tapas in Spain or apéritif in France before the real dinner, Aperitivo hour in Venice continues to fascinate both locals and tourists, and we certainly had our fair share of Cicchetti e l’ombra during our recent trip in Venice.
But what does this tradition really mean? In this case, the word Cicchetti refers to small appetizers ranging from prosciutto to baccala and aubergine slices on bread; basically anything that makes a tiny snack. L’ombra refers to a glass of wine, Aperol or other aperitif drink.
According to a common belief, l’ombra (which literally means the shade) refers to the drinking part because “the gondoliers used to snatch a glass in the shade away from the glare of the sun or the water” (DK Eyewitness Venice & the Veneto, 2012).
By a pure coincidence, one of the most famous wine bars of Venice, Cantine del Vino già Schiavi, was located very near to our hotel. What was even more incredible is that we run into it just like that while returning to our hotel during our second evening. And what a fantastic world waited for us inside! For a few euros, we sipped prosecco, pinot grigio and local red while tasting dozens of types of cicchetti. These tiny breads were filled with pistachio mousse, dried flower petals, mushrooms, salted cod, cheese, salmon eggs, artichokes, grilled vegetables, sardines, anchovies, eggs with truffle, pumpkin puree, etc. –you name it! It was such a paradise and we kept returning every night…
When in Venice, try to look for these traditional wine bars that continue to respect the tradition of Cicchetti e l’ombra. In addition to our local pearl, Do Mori near Rialto is also very well known and appreciated by both locals and foreigners. Just do not arrive too late, as delicious cicchettis find mouths very fast!
Cantine del Vino gia Schiavi: Fondamenta Nani 992, Dorsoduro, Venise
Telephone : +39 041 523 00 34