On my prior visits to Venice, each time was with a man. I approached Venice with visions of romance and love, only to leave disappointed. It’s not necessarily the guys fault. It’s my anticipation that proved too great. I expected Venice herself to deliver the magic that I had always dreamed about.
I blame it on watching “A Little Romance” with Diane Lane and Sir Lawrence Olivier a few too many times. (Still LOVE that movie though).
Don’t get me wrong, I have had beautiful moments while in Venice. I have kissed while gliding under the Bridge of Sighs in a gondola. (Unfortunately, it didn’t deliver ‘forever after’ but it was a nice moment). I have people-watched in the Piazza San Marco and have been entertained by tourists and locals alike. While listening to the string orchestra playing outside the Flavian café, I thought it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve experienced in the world.
Even with these wonderful events, I left feeling like I’d missed something. The core essence of Venice still eluded me. The thing that lured travellers to Venice in the first place. I wanted to see beyond the tourist traps, beyond the city which tourists flock to in unbelievably large droves.
The third time is indeed the charm. This time, I found what I was looking for. It took an Urban Adventures ‘Sweet Taste of Venice food tour to deliver the magic I have been craving.
I have finally unlocked the secret to finding the true essence of a city: Food Tours.
Who knew, right? But it makes sense when you think about it. There is no better representation of a culture than the food the people eat. There is a reason travel shows on TV focus so much on cuisine. It’s fundamental. If you show up to a city and eat at all the touristy restaurants, you’ll just scrape the surface of a culture. You’ll likely be dining with people just like you. Until you go deep, you never truly understand the city at all.
For example, in Austin Texas, skip Rudy’s for Barbeque (although their sauce is fantastic) and head to Franklin’s in South Austin for the real deal.
Head to Cabramatta outside Sydney for delicious Vietnamese or Surrey Hills for amazing foodie options from all over the world.
In Rome, head to Testacchio (especially via the Eating Italy tour!) for a true taste of Roman food.
My new mission, and I choose to accept it, is to explore food tours in each city I visit. I want to find the true essence of the city in this way. I’m excited about this direction and hope to share this wonderful experience with you each time.
For food tours already discovered and loved, click below (I’ll be adding to this list as we go!):