The Grand Canal and Piazza San Marco are beautiful, but you haven’t really experienced Venice until you’ve snacked on cicchetti in the city’s many bàcari, or wine bars. This all-day finger food, a cousin of Spain’s tapas and Portugal’s petiscos, is meant to be enjoyed with one or more ombre, or shadows, which are small pours of wine often served from a tap.
A cicchetti selection almost always includes sandwiches like triangular tramezzini, open-faced crostini and an assortment of deep-fried morsels. Practically anything that can be consumed in a bite or three is fair game, whether stewed, stuffed, sautéed or skewered.
These small bites are called stuzzichini or spunciotti elsewhere in Italy, but cicchetti and bàcari are synonymous with Venice.
Luckily, these dishes are easy to make at home, too. Stock your pantry with the best ingredients, learn to make some classic dishes and invent your own flavor combinations. Pair it all with wines from the Tre Venezie regions (Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Trentino-Alto Adige) and beyond, and it’s almost like being there.