Venice By Lagoon: Discover The Real Venice

Explore the enchanting Venetian archipelago through the eyes of locals with culinary experiences that are unique to this journey. Join the award-winning food writer Julia della Croce and host, former agronomist Mauro Stoppa, a native Venetian who will also be your skipper, on a six-day trip through la Serenissima ("the ancient city of waterways and light") around the islands and lagoons on the restored historic Eolo sailboat. A unique experience that has never been offered until now, you'll see Venice as the natives see it — by boat.

Thoughtfully crafted over several years by della Croce and Stoppa, this trip will call to adventurers and more touristy travelers alike. The flat-bottom "bragozzo" will have the flexibility to maneuver through the shallow lagoon waters. This intimate experience is like no other currently out there, where you have the incredible opportunity of seeing what most travelers don't, guided by knowledgeable experts of the area. Learn about the culture, history, music, natural life, and local traditions as you go from island to island from the most famous to the lesser known. You will stay at the best hotels and inns during this journey through Mazzorbo, Burano, Torcello, Lazzaretto Nuovo, and Venice, just to name a few.

The adventurer inside you will be thrilled to travel through the northern lagoon and cook the fresh morning catch, while the tourist inside you will be pleased to spend your last few days exploring the famous landmarks in Venice both guided and on your own.

Venice expert and writer Victor Hazan, who famously ran a cooking school there with his wife and cookbook legend, Marcella Hazan, calls the tour a "priceless exploration of some of the secrets of this most secretive of cities." della Croce says:

"How many outsiders could find a native son (Mauro) with a flat-bottom boat to navigate the waters of lagoon and know its flora and fauna? And besides, how many could find their way to the real cooking of Venice; eat seafood delivered to the boat by the local fishermen, freshly harvested vegetables and fruits grown on the lagoon islands cooked up by a fine local chef (Mauro!)? And how many travelers have the benefit of an introduction to Venetians whose family has been part of the fabric of the city for six centuries (our hosts during the last three days on the island of Venice proper)?"

When eating on the sailboat, you will be able to cook the local cuisines right along with your hosts as hands-on lessons using some of the freshest ingredients of local products brought to you daily from the islands. You will be involved in every aspect from preparing to cooking the meals with professional guidance from della Croce and Stoppa.

The culinary experience doesn't end there. You'll get to take these Venetian recipes home with you with the ability and knowledge to continue cooking them once your trip is over. Consider it a token of this once-in-a-lifetime journey that you can continue to relive through food in the comfort of your home once you recreate the recipes.  

The Venice by lagoon journey is set for the spring dates of May 15 to 21, 2017. If you're interested in this trip, book soon as there is limited amount of space on the sailboat. If you'd like to learn more about the day-to-day details of the journey, make sure to check out Julia della Croce's blog, Forktales, where she gives deeper insight into la Serenissima and an itinerary of what your travels will look like. 

Sign up by January 1 to ensure your place. Contact host Mauro Stoppa for reservations at