In her final column as Travel Columnist, Anna Bonet takes us on a wander around the picturesque city of Venice and shares an authentic Italian recipe with us…..
Venice is easily one of the most picturesque places I’ve been. I was glued to my camera the whole time I was there: each time I’d go to put it away a new scene would appear that was too beautiful to resist attempting to capture it.
The Rialto Bridge stands over the main river that runs through Venice, connecting two halves of the city. The magnificent white marble and architecturally intricate design leave the bridge standing noble and proud. It’s no secret that from here you have one of the best views of the city, so finding a place to stand amongst the thousands of tourists who crowd it can be a struggle. But once you’ve managed to muscle your way to the front, it is worth it.
The bridge overlooks the Grand Canal, effectively the main road of the city, which is a consistently moving picture. It’s surreal to watch the water borne traffic get on with its day-to-day business; speeding up and down the river, dodging gondolas, delivering parcels and dropping people off at their riverside bus stops as if it’s the most normal thing in the world.
I love Venice because there’s so much character to the city; so many buildings are painted with pinks and oranges yet it somehow manages to look both classy and charming. Venice is throbbing with people; it’s vibrant and alive. The shear number of tourists is often complained about and sometimes it can get too much, but don’t let it put you off. There’s a reason they all go after all, being an incredible phenomenon of a city that’s like nowhere else in the world.
After seeing the main tourist spots, wander off course and get lost in the labyrinth of alleyways. Here it is quiet and tranquil. The buzz of the masses is remote and distant, instead you hear the soft sounds of the streams, and the occasional gondola floats peacefully by.
The Good News: While modernity is taking its toll on cities around the world, Venice’s historical culture and well-loved traditions are still going strong with its 800-year-old annual carnival getting bigger and better each year. Colours and costumes burst into the city, outlandish masks are paraded around everywhere you look; it is a spectacle not to be missed.
The Bad News: The rise in sea levels are directly affecting Venice: slowly but surely the city is sinking. The main square is getting flooded more often than ever, and the rate at which it’s being submerged is five times more than previously thought by scientists. This is still only by 2mm each year, so it will be a good while until it’s in any real danger, but the city has to invest a huge amount of time and money for research into prevention.
A Taste of Venice: Student Style
Pasta, pizza and pasta again: the traditional cuisine of Italy certainly reaches Venice. This was great for me because Italian food makes me happier than it probably should.
Aside from this, with so much water around it’s no wonder fresh fish forms an integral part of Venetian cuisine. Sarde de Saor, literally translated as ‘sardines immersed in flavour’, are hugely popular among the residents of Venice, as well as seafood risotto and grilled cod.
Good fish is expensive and can be tricky to cook, so this week’s recipe is for a cheesy chicken pesto pasta -just as Venetian and just as delicious.
- 80g pasta (any type will do)
- Two tablespoons of green pesto
- One small chicken breast, cut into cubes
- A quarter of a red onion
- A few cherry tomatoes
- A chunk of cheddar cheese
- A tablespoon of olive oil
-Follow the packet instructions to cook your pasta
-During the last five minutes of the pasta’s cooking time, heat the oil in a separate pot and lightly fry the chicken
-After a few minutes, add the tomatoes and onions
-Once your pasta is finished, drain it and add to the pot with the chicken along with the pesto, stirring consistently
-Finally, add the cheese and serve once it has started to melt.
Anna Bonet, Travel Columnistbookmark me