Let’s face it: Venice is one of the most expensive places in the world to eat.
The restaurants, like the hotels, charge high prices.
This is due in part to the fact that everything on the lagoon costs more (because it has to be delivered there from the mainland)
But it’s also due to the fact that tourists are always expected to pay more for goods while on vacation.
Venice is, after all, one of Europe’s greatest tourist destinations.
What a lot of people don’t know is that the Venetian wine bar — the cicheteria or bacaro — is an affordable way to dine when visiting Venice and it gives tourists a glimpse into what life is really like there.
Small plates (similar to Spain’s tapas) are called cicheti (pronounced chee-KEH-tee) in Venetian. Most believe the term comes from the Latin ciccus (Greek κίκκος), meaning a trifle or mere nothing. Because of the popularity of cicheti, the wine bars are often referred to as cicheterie (chee-KEH-teh-REE-eh).
The other name for the Venetian wine bar is bacaro (BAH-kah-roh). No one knows the true origin of the world. Some believe it comes from Bacchus. Others believe it comes from the Italian bacca, meaning berry or grape berry.
Bacaro culture is centered around small-plates meals and small glasses of wine (ombre in Venetian; see this post).
It’s a truly affordable way to dine there and it’s also a way to understand Venetian food and wine traditions.
Here’s a post (in Italian) by one of our favorite Italian food bloggers, Massimo Bernardi of Dissapore: A Guide to the Best Wine Bars of Venice.
English speakers will find all the contact info and a great Google-generated map to their locations.
The best wine to drink at the bacaro? Prosecco, of course!
Image via Dissapore.