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Café Life Venice

A Guidebook to the Cafés and Bacari of La Serenissima

Book Review

book cover Café Life Venice
Written by Joe Wolff
Photography by Roger Paperno
Interlink Books, 2008
Paperback, 176 pages
ISBN 978-1-56656-718-3
US $20.00

 

Also see:
Café Life Paris - book review at Paris for Visitors

If we were forced to describe this attractively illustrated paperback by Joe Wolff and Roger Paperno in 25 words or less, we'd say this:

"Café Life Venice is the best new Venice book that we've seen in 2008."

Fortunately, we aren't limited to 25 words; we have enough space to tell you what the book is about and why it's the perfect gift book for a Venetophile--including yourself, if your tastes run to tiny cups of Illy coffee, glasses of sparkling Prosecco, handmade pastries, and Venetian bar food.

About the book:

Café Life Venice is divided into sections for five of Venice's six sestieri or districts: Cannaregio, San Marco, Dorsoduro, San Polo, and Santa Croce. Within each section, the book has illustrated articles about handpicked bars, pastry shops, or restaurants that go beyond the usual guidebook listings or review text.

For example, the article on La Cantina on the Strada Nuova talks about the bar's owners, Francesco Zorzetto and Andrea Zanatta, two "very cool guys" who grew up together and became partners in a bar in 1994. When they were unable to renew their license, they looked for a new location--a combination bar and sweet shop--which gradually evolved into a bacaro with freshly-prepared seafood and other delicacies. La Cantina is now a thriving establishment that's popular with both locals and tourists, including a sprinkling of film and TV celebrities. (One of the bar's employees is the sister-in-law of Matthew Fox, who plays Dr. Jack Shepherd on the ABC Television's Lost.)

Verdict:

Café Life Venice is a lively, anecdotal, and highly readable introduction to friendly neighborhood hangouts where you can enjoy good food, drink, and company in Venice's historic center. It's well worth reading before any trip to Venice, and it makes a perfect gift for the Venetophiles on your shopping list.

For short excerpts from Café Life Venice, please see the following two pages. You can buy the book at bookstores, from Amazon, or directly from the publisher's Café Life Venice Web page.

Next page: Excerpt 1: Bar Aperol


In this book review: