Venice Chorus Pass

If you are interested in church art and architecture, Venice Chorus Pass is for you. It costs 10 Euro, allows you to visit 16 churches within one year's time.   It costs 3 Euro to visit one church.  If you visit 4, you will fully cover the cost.  We visited 15 in four days!  A real achievement!   All participating churches are light up.  It enables visitors to admire the beauty of the paintings and interior.  Churches beyond the group often has no illumination.  Some may charge entrance fee and offer no light.  You have to pay additionally to light up the painting you wish to see.  The 10 Euro is worthwhile.   You also get a guide in your preferred language.  Er, perhaps no Chinese yet.  I asked for English all the way :)

It is a good will to contribute a little money to help restore churches full of history and masterpieces by famous artists like Giovanni Bellini, Jacopo Robusti (Tintoretto), Giambattista Tiepolo, Titian, Paolo Veronese, Vittore Carpaccio, Lorenzo Lotto, etc.
(photos from left to right: Church of the Madonna dell'Orto, Church of Santa Maria del Giglio, Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli & Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari)

Below is the list of the participating Churches:
1) Church of Santa Maria del Giglio
2) Church of Santo Stefano
3) Church of Santa Maria Formosa
4) Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli - the most exquisite church, simple and elegant
5) Church of San Giovanni Elemosinario
6) Church of San Polo
7) Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
8) Church of San Giacomo dall'Orio
9) Church of San Stae
10) Church of Sant'Alvise
11) Church of the Madonna dell'Orto
12) Church of San Pietro di Castello
13) Church of the Santissimo Redentore
14) Church of Santa Maria del Rosario (Gesuati)
15) Church of San Sebastiano (under restoration but opened)
16) Church of San Giobbe

Here are a few paintings in my memory:
Tintoretto's The Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple -  Madonna dell'Orto
Titian's Assumption of the Virgin and Bellini's Triptych with Virgin and Saints  - Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
Giandomenico Tiepolo's Crucifixion (one of the fourteen scenes) - St Paolo
Bellini's Saints Christopher, Jerome and St Augustine - S. Giovanni Crisostomo (not a Chorus church)
Paolo Veronese's paintings - Church of San Sebastiano

Food in Venice

We had four meals in our 4-day stay in Venice.  It's not wrong.  It's three dinners and one lunch.  Time was short.  We could not afford the time for lunch in the first three days. 

Among all the meals, the first dinner is the best and most memorable.  The restaurant is called Alla Zucca.  Zucca means pumpkin, one of the food I like most.  It is located in Santa Croce 1762, ponte del Megio.

First came the bread.   As a rule of thumb, if the bread is good, the food will be good.   Our theory proved to be right again.

We order baked pumpkin and gorgonzola pistachio pasta as the first dishes.   The pumpkin had a creamy texture.  We loved it.  The match of gorgonzola and pistachio is wonderful.  The sauce is just right, not watery nor too dry. 

Our rucola mushroom salad was fresh. The main dishes were Venetian style veal liver served with polenta and pork cooked in prune sauce with rice .  The veal liver was tender.  The pork with the fragance and sweetness of prune was yummy. I highly recommended this trattoria. It's one of the best value restaurants in Venice.

BEA Vita is located in Cannaregio.  It featured a menu including appertizer, first, second course and desserts.  Dishes are mysterious.  We were brave to order one and went for pumpkin with cheese, Peter fish and a bottle of white wine additionally.   The appertizer was a seafood platter.  Scallop, fish paste and octopus were served.  The first course was shellfish gnocci.  My first course is baked pumpkin with cheese.  All were good.  So happen that the mysterious second course and the ordered one were Peter fish.   We were unhappy about the same dish served twice.  Worst was the fish was dry and rough.  We were very disappointed.  To a degree that I had no mood to take a photo.  The colourful dessert did not help win back our appreciation.  This dinner cost us 85 Euro.  It's not worth.  We were the only guest that night. 

On the third evening we dined in the area of Dorsoduro.  It is a small and humble neighbourhood osteria, La Bitta.    They provided a few choices each for appertizer, first course, second course and cheese.  We took smoked beef and a pasta cooked with mince meat / organs(?).  Second dishes were beef stew and pork cutlet in mustard sauce.  Tourists of different nations filled the osteria.  The food was good.

The last programme on the fourth day is St. Marie della Salute in Dorsoduro.  It is a major landmark for Venice.  We walked around the shore to admire St Marco Square on the opposite.  It's two o'clock in the afternoon.  To cure my crave for food, we dined in a osteria round a corner.  It's very very disappointed.  We paid 28 Euro for two pasta and a small bottle of water.  The pasta was not freshly made.  It's like reheated packaged food.   My advice: don't jump in a trattoria without referral.  American tourist is not a reliable source.

Alla Zucca and La Bitta are recommended by Time out Venice and Best of Venice.


Venice 2010

We got into Venice on 8 February, Monday.  This year's Carnival started on 6 February.  Tourists with mask and costumes were mostly seen in the St. Marco Square, elsewhere they were scarce.  They were delighted / proud to be taken photos, be it in the square, or in the famous Caffe Florian.  Just looked through the window, I felt the inside either as shooting a film or I witnessed the Venetian society centuries ago.

Our hotel is very near to the railway station.  It was clean and quiet.  It's good value from otel.com. 

The first day was blessed with sunshine.  We started from the region Cannaregio, visited the first few of 16 churches included in a church visit pass, the Ghetto, wandered through canals and bridges with signs of gondola and slowly strolled towards the Rialto Bridge and St Marco Square.