A people of sailors who have been able to adapt their cuisine to long journeys around the Mediterranean. It is precisely for this reason that many of the typical Venetian dishes are fast and based on fish - which was certainly not lacking in the sea - or they lent themselves well to be preserved over time. Before starting with the Venetian dishes and specialties, it is necessary to present the main food of Venetian cuisine: polenta.


La polenta

Polenta in typical Venetian dishes is practically never missing. It is a food once considered poor that accompanies a good dish of fish, meat, vegetables, or cheeses. Polenta arrived on the tables of the lagoon in 1500 from the Americas and revolutionized the diet of the locals, once based on cereals. There are different types: the traditional yellow one prepared with corn flour, the white one, prepared with white corn flour, also widely used in the province of Treviso. There are also those who prepare polenta with wholemeal flour or with buckwheat flour.


Typical first courses of Venice


Bigoli in salsa

Bigoli are a handmade pasta similar to thick spaghetti, with a rough and very porous surface. It is precisely for this last characteristic that the combination with the sauce is suitable. Bigoli are a specialty prepared throughout the Veneto region, often accompanied with meat sauce, but especially with fish. One of the typical Venetian dishes, cooked during the Christmas holidays, are the bigoli in sauce. The sauce is based on onions and anchovies slowly melted in extra virgin olive oil. Bigoli are produced with soft wheat flour or wholemeal flour - in this case they are called bigoli mori - and must have a thickness of about 2 millimeters. The pasta has a more tenacious consistency than traditional sauces and the cream of sardines and onions is the real secret.


Bigoli con l’anitra

Bigoli with duck is the meat-based variant for those who don't like onions. It is a very slowly cooked ragout prepared with minced duck breast meat. With a nice sprinkling with parmesan or better still with some well-seasoned cheese that is produced in the mountainous area of Veneto, this pasta is truly unrivaled!


Risotto de gò

Risoto de gò is one of the typical dishes of Venice and its surroundings. It is prepared with a fish found in the lagoon and which is still on sale today at the Chioggia market. Although the goby is a fish not so beautiful to look at, it is used to prepare a delicious risotto, considered by all Venetians to be a real delicacy. Also, because it goes very well with white wines, another regional specialty of which the Venetians are proud.

Risi e bisi

It is a typical first course of Veneto, precisely from the cities of Venice, Verona, and Vicenza, based on rice and peas. Spring is the perfect season to prepare this recipe, when you can find fresh, sweet, and crunchy peas. There are many variations. It is neither a risotto nor a soup since it is not prepared with the traditional roasting of rice as is done in Lombardy. It is a dish that was prepared as early as 1500 for April 25, on the occasion of the feast of San Marco, patron saint of Venice. There are those who prepare them with broth, some with bacon, some with cheese.


Scampi alla busèra

In Italian they are “shrimp alla busara,” a typical dish not from Venice but from the area of Istria and Rijeka (Fiume). Today this extraordinary dish is prepared in all the coastal areas of the upper Adriatic. The name could derive from the Croatian word buzara, the big pot in which the prawns were cooked. There are also those who say that this dish was prepared with scraps and unsold crustaceans, for which a poor dish was passed off as a delicacy. The term busara could in fact derive from “busaria” or “liar”. Excellent both as a first course and as a second course, they are the perfect accompaniment to a good long pasta, perhaps hand-made such as spaghetti or linguine.


Typical Venetian main courses


Baccalà mantecato (Creamed cod)

It may seem incredible but the creamed cod, whose recipe is now more than 500 years old, owes its origins to a storm. It was in fact 1432 and the merchant Piero Querini was sailing around the Arctic Circle and managed to find his fortune on an island in the Baltic Sea - today in Norway. The inhabitants fed on a strange fish that was dried in the pale sun of the northern climates and had excellent preservation skills. That stick ("stock") of fish ("fish") was just the stockfish. This dish is a cream made with stockfish - which in Veneto and in the regions of the Northeast is called baccalà - and traditionally used in Venetian “bacari” to prepare the classic “cicchetti.” To make it you need a few ingredients: baccalà, lemon, bay leaf and extra virgin olive oil, and a planetary mixer. The secret is to soften the cod in water to the right point and then to dose the oil during the creaming, so that it mounts as if it were almost a mayonnaise. The result should be soft and fluffy, perfect for spreading on polenta croutons.


Fegato alla veneziana (Venetian liver)

In dialect they call it “figà àea venessiana.” This is a fairly quick recipe that uses the caramelization of the onion which, during cooking, tends to become sweet. The preparation is very simple: the white onions are cooked for about 15-20 minutes - in the original recipe those from Chioggia are used. Subsequently, the liver is cooked rapidly and with its intense flavor attenuates the sweetness of the onion.


Sarde in saòr

Typical Venetian cuisine loves onions. In fact, even in this dish we find it, with a wonderful combination with fish. It is a poor dish typical of Venetian cuisine. It is prepared with a lot - but a lot! - onion and with sardines, blue fish rich in omega 3. An inexpensive delicacy to be enjoyed at any time of the year. A little secret: after having prepared it you have to let it flavor for a couple of days!


Schie con la polenta

The “schie” in the Venetian dialect are the "schille," small shrimp from the lagoon. They are served on white polenta and have a really great flavor. Schie with polenta is a poor but tasty typical Venetian dish. They are excellent both as an appetizer and as a complete meal. The contrast between the more neutral polenta and these small shrimps with a very intense flavor of the sea is excellent.


Le Moeche

Moeche are the green crabs found in the lagoon, a secret kept for centuries by the fishermen of Burano and Chioggia. During spring and autumn, crabs moult, that is, they lose their shells and remain defenseless for a short time. It is precisely at this moment that the fishermen collect them, even when the new shell is still soft. This is why they were called "mollecche", hence "moeche". Today the moeche are a heritage to be defended, a slow food presidium. The recipe is very simple: flour and fry.


Desserts and pastries


The Venetian pastry finds its typical recipes in biscuits. This is because once men often traveled at sea and therefore needed food that could be stored for a long time. In addition, the Venetian ladies and patricians loved having a snack with tea and biscuits. Here then are the typical Venetian sweets.


I Baicoli

They are dry biscuits typical of Venetian pastry. They were born out of the need to transport something sweet and tasty on merchant ships, a crunchy dessert for sailors that had no problems in being preserved. Baicoli are the dry biscuits of Venice, which also began to be loved by the noblewomen of the Serenissima Republic, as they were perfectly combined with tea. The recipe is based on a few ingredients that must therefore be of quality: flour, butter, sugar and 1 egg white. The secret of their crunchiness? Double cooking and a long process that allows the dough to mature.


Gli zaeti

The term "zaeti" in Veneto means “gialletti” (small yellows) and indicates a type of slightly spicy biscuits that are prepared in autumn in Venice. Excellent for breakfast or as a snack, they lend themselves perfectly to being soaked in milk, coffee, or tea. In reality these biscuits originate in the mountainous part of the Veneto where a very fine corn flour is produced, also suitable for pastry. In fact, the ingredients include 00 flour, corn flour, eggs, butter, raisins, and lemon peel. It is precisely the corn flour that gives, in addition to the crunchiness, also a certain grainy texture.


Fritole veneziane (Venetian fritole)

Typical Venetian dishes are often accompanied by an event or a particular period of the year. For example, these small sweet pancakes are prepared during the Venice Carnival. Their history is very ancient, and it seems that as early as 1300 there was even a professional figure: the “fritoleri”, a profession that during the Renaissance was handed down from father to son. In the original recipe, these little fried balls contain raisins, flour, sugar, pine nuts, milk, and yeast. The raisins, to give them a stronger and spicier flavor, are softened with water and grappa. The taste is very good and one leads to another.


I bussolà e esse di Burano

The "bussolà buranello" is one of the excellences of which the Venetians are most proud. It is a vanilla flavored biscuit that was traditionally prepared during the Easter period and were wrapped in linen so as to perfume everything with that characteristic aroma of butter. They have a yellowish color thanks to the predominant presence of the yolk. They are really very tasty treats that can be addictive.


Wines from Veneto


Among the best Venetian wines, we can mention important wines such as Amarone della Valpolicella, Soave, Lugana, Lessini Durello, Colli Euganei, Bardolino and Prosecco. Countless wines are also produced in Veneto from international grape varieties such as Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Carménère. The latter are vinified both as monovarietal and as Bordeaux-style assembly wines.


Amarone della Valpolicella

Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG is one of the most famous and best Venetian wines recognized internationally for its elegance, complexity, and great aging potential. Amarone is a dry passito DOCG red wine that can only be produced in Valpolicella, in the province of Verona. The grape drying technique is adopted in Amarone della Valpolicella with the aim of concentrating colors, aromas, and structure, obtaining wines with a unique, complex, multifaceted, and extraordinarily elegant character. Amarone della Valpolicella is produced exclusively from Corvina (45-95%) and/or Corvinone (45% to 95%), Rondinella (5-30%) and other non-aromatic red grape varieties allowed by the specification, including native Oseleta.



Soave DOC is certainly among the best Venetian wines. It is a DOC white wine produced in the province of Verona obtained from the Garganega and Trebbiano di Soave vines plus any other complementary ones. Soave is a wine with a floral character

of good flavor and structure. It gives life to both wines for daily consumption and wines of great complexity, elegance, and aging potential.



One of the best Venetian wines is Lugana DOC, a DOC white wine produced in the province of Verona and obtained from the Turbiana grape (also known as Trebbiano di Soave). Lugana gives life to wines with citrus aromas of great flavor and good acidity, it is produced in the versions: base, superior, reserve, late harvest and sparkling.



Among the best Venetian wines there is Prosecco DOCG, the famous Martinotti Method sparkling wine (in some rare cases also Classic Method) produced from Glera grapes (minimum 85%) plus other complementary non-aromatic vines. It is important to keep in mind the difference between the historical denominations Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG (with the sub-areas 'Cartizze' and 'Rive') and Asolo Prosecco DOCG, with the much broader and more recent Prosecco DOC denomination. Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene DOCG and Asolo Prosecco DOCG wines are produced exclusively in the hills of the province of Treviso and are considered the flagship of this type of wine. Prosecco DOC, on the other hand, is a much larger production area between the Italian regions of Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto, from which wines are generally less valuable than DOCG wines.


Lessini Durello

Among the best Venetian wines there is the Lessini Durello DOC, a classic method sparkling wine made with the native Durella vine in the provinces of Verona and Vicenza. Lessini Durello Spumante DOC must undergo a minimum refinement of 36 months before being put on the market.


Bardolino and Chiaretto

Among the best Venetian wines there is Bardolino, a red wine made with the Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara vines in the provinces of Verona. Bardolino DOC is a light, fresh and low tannic red wine, it is also made in rosé and takes the name Bardolino Chiaretto DOC or simply Chiaretto.