Sunday, February 21, 2016

This Fantastic Weekend In Venice

Caped Crusaders of Folk Music

This weekend we were rewarded by hearing some old Italian musicians squeezing their accordions and playing some Veneto  folk tunes.  We watched as these two accordionists, old geezers my age, were accompanied by a  large group of blacked caped men, some in masks,  belting out song after song as they strolled along the calli (street in Venice).  Their folk tunes seemed to be  known to many bystanders who then proceeded to join in with the capesters.
cymbals adds some rhythm
Decked out in long black capes, called tabarros, the group centered itself in the middle of the Campo San Bartolomeo (Venetian piazzas are called campos).  Singing with gestures of hands in the air, and some smiling like a prankster, they proceeded to entertain themselves and everyone else.  There were several guitarists amidst the  singers and one fellow with a face of concentration playing a drum which made me think Brazilian rather than Italian.  His on the beat deep “umph” sound, produced a rhythm that helped produce more energy as everyone belted out songs with the emotion of Luciano Pavarotti.
The blue masked man was a real ham.

This group carried two banner flags showing the name, “Congrega del Tabarro”, (The group of the capes) and these Venetians were carrying on a long held tradition.  Their enchanting tunes with predictable melodies attracted an increasingly large audience.  It is refreshing to see folk music surviving in this region.  There must be a special place in heaven for these preservers of folk music. 

 Venice is always full of surprises, you just have to be lucky to be there at the right time.  This weekend, was one of those fortunate days.  Only luck brought us to run head on with this happy concert only because we were headed to our favorite restaurant hidden deep inside this neighborhood. 

This restaurant, Il Milion,  we discovered over a year ago.  It is hidden by travelling through several small porticos going further away from busy  Campo San Bartolomeo.  Surrounded by other small restaurants and a bar there would be plenty of competition but the give-away was viewing the locals who go there for a calm meal away from the tourists, one prepared with a hard-core belief in sticking to the Venetian Cuisine.  It’s strictly a mom and pop restaurant with mom serving and husband cooking.   I believe that Carlo Petrini, slow food founder, would give it two thumbs up.

Spaghetti Alle Cipolle
A favorite dish that is always prepared to perfection is their spaghetti with braised onions and black pepper.  Melding the special cheese that he uses to become so seductively smooth in blending it with the pasta  makes such an ravishing flavor.   I chose tagliolini with artichokes, and although it was excellent my preference remains to be the spaghetti alla cipolle, (onions).
All Americans should notice that the serving you find here is not a PILE of food.  Shown here is a normal serving.

Another choice could be the liver and onions, called Fegato alla Veneziana.  Coming from an American home where my mother forced everyone to eat liver and onions at least once a month, I was originally not a fan.  However, some years ago, I attempted to try the Venetian way of preparation and was delighted to find I had found something new that I could appreciate.   Il Milion knows how to cook Veneto!  I want to encourage anyone visiting Venice to not just see the historical places but taste something historical,  Fegato alla Veneziana.
Peaceful Setting

After such a fine pranzo (lunch) we wandered the calli, crossed bridges and wandered towards St. Marks where we saw far fewer tourists than we would find in the Spring and Summer. 
Hoping For Some Business
February is actually a good month to visit Venice.  We’ve been there when it snowed, when the wind from the north blew and when the sun decided to show itself.  The weather this weekend was almost warm and the sun made nice colors on the water.  We stopped to watch the traffic jams of gondolas with their gondoliers. 
Duck Your Head!
We noticed that the Africans have become more bold in selling their knock off purses.  We rode the vaporetto in both directions, and in the evening we returned to St. Marks to see the lights.
Late Night Visit to St. Marks
  I have included some photos of our visit.  After 7 years of living in the Veneto I still enjoy a short visit.  To me it is like Disneyland with real buildings, history,  and, great food.
The Colors of Venezia
Thanks for reading my blog, and please feel free to click on the pencil below and leave a comment.


Wishingwellstitches said...

Great read about your trip to Venice and lovely pictures to accompany.

Gloria Urech said...

Hi Dave,
I have enjoyed reading your post about Venezia and founding your blog :) big hugs from the Spaniard you host along with Orietta some years ago now. Thank you x

What Fills My Plate said...

Hi, Glad to see you here. It was fun having you visit us and I hope you can come back and stay awhile. I will try to send you a notice when I do new postings. Thank you, Dave