Sunday, August 31, 2014

Dining Beside the Rialto at Campo Erberia

As this view from our moored sanpierota shows, the dock beside Campo Erberia is popular with non-boaters as well
I often find myself falling into the assumption that any place in Venice so famous as to be a destination for even the most oblivious of day-tripping visitors to the city--Piazza San Marco, say, or the Rialto area--is steadfastly avoided by Venetians and residents, especially during the summer months. But this is not entirely true. Nor is it true that any Venetian with a boat will inevitably use it to flee the center of town and its tourist hordes.

There are exceptions to the above assumptions, as I first learned a little over a year ago when I boarded a friend's topa for an evening picnic and found that our destination lay not out in the lagoon but moored beside Campo Erberia (pictured above), on the Grand Canal hardly 200 meters from the Rialto Bridge. Reserved for the use of garbage boats during the day, it becomes something of a destination for residents' boats after the work day is over. In fact, it's such a pleasant place to eat in one's boat that not only did my family and I tie up there one Saturday evening in July, but no sooner had we left than our mooring spot was taken by a large topa full of friends seated in chairs around a fully outfitted dining table.

Before leaving for our trip to the US at the beginning of August we made another attempt to moor there only to find the few spots already occupied. So we continued on in the direction of the train station and tied up in front of a non-descript palazzo not far from where the Cannaregio Canal enters the Grand Canal. There was no competition for a space here, and the laughter directed our way by a passing water taxi driver suggested that our selection may have been a bit, well, eccentric, but it was a pleasant spot nonetheless.

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