Sunday, July 1, 2012

Keeping cool

Folks in the know don't recommend Venice in the summer months - it gets too hot. It's a muggy, damp hot. This morning there was so much moisture in the air that the windows of our air-conditioned flat fogged up. And even at six in the morning, when I opened the casement to take this photo of steam rising off the canal, it was already hot.

Venetians know how to keep cool. They've been doing it for a thousand years. One of the most popular drinks served here is a spritz - a mixture of white wine, sparkling soda, and a bittersweet digestif. Most common is bright Fanta-orange Aperol, but you can also get a spritz made with Campari or Cynar - which makes the drink more rosy.

Elegant spritzes in stemmed glasses
Whether it's sitting out on the broad campo by the Rialto Mercado with the rest of the tourists, overlooking the Grand Canal, or sitting at a working-class bar overlooking a tiny secluded rio, a spritz is the best way to beat the heat of the day. Pick a table shaded from the hot sun, and relax.

Spritzes are served on ice with a wedge of orange to garnish, and often a wooden skewer with a big fat green olive. They can be elegant, in a stemmed glass, or workaday, in a sturdy tumbler.

Something about the bitterness of the digestif keeps spritzes from tasting too sweet or cloying. They take the edge off the heat. A bit of salty snack also helps - even a tiny dish of potato chips or salted peanuts.

A refreshing break from sight-seeing
Cin cin!

Thanks to Une Femme D'un Certain Age for mentioning the spritz in comments!


smalltownme said...

I have a bottle of Aperol in the pantry. Yay!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Sounds like visiting Washington D.C. in August.

Cassi Renee said...

How hot is hot? Like the midwest, high 90s with humidity that high too? When Europeans talk about being hot, I'm never sure if it really is :-)

I've been enjoying your travel blogs!

Aunt Snow said...

Cassi, it's HOT. The weather reports here are saying it's 40 degrees Celsius, which, I think, is comparable to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. In any case, it's a hot, steamy humid heat that makes the sweat pour down your body. Plus, in Venice most of the historic buildings are not air conditioned - they date from a thousand years ago, so why would we expect them to be? - so you tour these treasures without the benefit of cooling!

déjà pseu said...

I was very fond of the Campari spritzes. This is SO making me want to go back to Venice!!!

Deborah J said...

Enjoying hearing about your travels Aunt Snow!
...and the spritz looks just the thing.

Jason, as himself said...

You're in Venice! Ahhhhh!

We are going to Italy in three weeks. Ahhhh!

Enjoy! I'm sure you're figuring out how to experience Italy better than anyone else.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

What a lovely way to pass an afternoon.

Deborah said...

The heat is one thing, but the humidity is killer for those of us who live in the arid parts of the country ("Yes, but it's a dry heat!"). I'm really enjoying this travelogue.

Gilly said...

Sounds like a great way to keep cool! Are you going to import it in the USA??