Captivating journeys through off-the-beaten-path Venice and Lagoon, with simple yet exquisite recipes, videos and sumptuous photographs.
Be our guest in a secret garden in the ancient heart of Venice
The art of creating delicious dishes, beauty products and natural remedies with herbs, blossoms and spices was developed in Venice during the past 1600 years. And in the recent past, this ancient know-how was used to survive the two world wars in the Lagoon. That's when grandmother Lina learned to cook historical recipes and create her own, rose and sage-flavored face and body creams.
Lina opened her first restaurant in Venice in 1945, cooking childhood dishes from the northern Lagoon, where the family had been living during the war, just north of Lio Piccolo and Torcello: People went foraging for herbs in spring and used herbs and wild fruit in their staple dishes in winter.
In the 1960s, Lina started collecting ancient recipes from monasteries in the Lagoon and in Venice: San Francesco della Vigna, San Lazzaro degli Armeni, and the forgotten library of San Zaccaria, located in the house she bought in 1968:
Recipes of the pre-industrial age, between 700 and 300 years old, which had to fulfill a purpose: Food = health = beauty. Food enriched by herbs, blossoms and spices was considered medicine in Venice. Slow food in modern times, healthy and delicious. The authentic Venetian cuisine is surprisingly "trendy" and has integrated many elements from Ayurvedic, Levantine, and TCM cuisine.
Elizabeth Salthouse writes about us on L'Italo-Americano
"55,000 Venetians live in the historic center. Their numbers are down from 150,000 two centuries ago but this core of residents holds a deep love for their home: Iris and her grandmother are passionate to show people that there's much, much more to Venice than just St Mark's, beautiful though it is.
So they write about the hidden, private side of Venice. From courtyard gardens to secret orchards, medicinal botany to vegetable patches. Most lie behind anonymus, vertiginous, red brick walls, totally unknown to passers-by or their guidebooks, and astonishingly gardens cover almost half the surface area of the city. Often the only clue you'll have to being near a secret sanctuary is a waft of heavy vanilla, jasmine or lemon balm as you pass by.
And most of the time you're probably no more than just a few feet away from an old vineyard, an ageing convent garden or, as Iris puts it, the second Venice, known only to residents.
If you're lucky she'll take you there through her writing or in person. And if we're lucky Venice, her history and her gardens will survive in the safe hands of Venetians like Iris and her grandmother Lina."
Solstice and summer in Venice: Hidden gardens and Lagoon flavors
ONLINE EXPERIENCE: Spend a virtual week in a secret Venetian garden in summer! Enjoy cooking classes with Lina, explore our Castello neighborhood, visit secret gardens, learn the Venetian language, discover moonlight gardening, + more!
€50,00 / year
Laguna in Cucina: A Food Memoir of Venice and the Lagoon
MEMBERSHIP: Stories, ancedotes, recipes, glimpses of daily life and portraits of people and places: A home base for you to return regularly and enjoy the seasons in Venice and the Lagoon virtually while tasting Nonna Lina's gourmet recipes.
Venetia: The Story of Venice and her Heritage
SIGNATURE CLASS: Introducing an unexpected Venice, her gardens and exotic culinary culture: Expore the story of Venice virtually, interactive with videos, city guides, historical recipes and more! Travel back in time to learn for the future.