Cigars in Venice: the City of Water
Venice, also known as the ‘La Serenissima’ or the ‘City of Water’, is not like anywhere else in the world. It's a place that defies logic and convention. Known to have sparked some of the finest expressions of human creativity, this ethereal city lands itself perfectly to the noble pursuit of smoking Cuban Cigars. As part of our 'Where to smoke' editorial series, we wanted to share with you our favourite spots to have a cigar in Venice. Besides the uber-famous and obvious locations, we decided to pick a few hidden gems - hopeful that our readers will find an opportunity, global lockdowns permitting, to try for themselves.
Pasticceria Rosa Salva and Franco Mazzetti
PASTICCERIA ROSA SALVA
Located in the Sestriere di S. Marco square (which should not be confused with the famous S. Marco square), Pasticceria Rosa Salva is a destination that shouldn’t be missed. For over a century, this establishment have been producing authentic Venetian pastry to both locals and tourists alike. Here, you can select your poison of choice from a large variety of pastries and croissants, as well as deliciously dark-roasted coffee. Order 'al banco' (at the counter) as the locals do, if you are short for time, or grab a seat in the generous table spread in front of the building. What to order? Simple: Espresso, Brioches alla crema and freshly squeezed orange juice. It doesn't get much better than that. What to smoke? Well, given the time of day, a slimmer format such as the El Rey Del Mundo La Reina, would go very well.
The Gritti Palace and Franco Mazzetti
RIVA LOUNGE AT THE GRITTI PALACE
After your breakfast 'all'italiana' and plenty of walking up and down the countless bridges that connect the canals, perhaps it's time for an aperitivo in somewhat of a more refined environment: The Riva Lounge at the Gritti Palace. The Gritti Palace is a former noble residence on the left bank of Venice’s Grand Canal, now a famous five star hotel. The Riva Lounge is a concept bar in homage to the very famous manufacturers of wooden speed boats, namely Riva. The entire furniture reminds one of the luxurious interiors Riva boats are decorated with. In other words, a terribly smart terrace. Heated in the winter and covered when it rains, the Riva lounge is located on the ground floor of the Gritti. We arrived straight from the airport, by boat, and we couldn't help ourselves feeling a little James Bond-ish. Both, the staff as well as the entire setting are very cigar friendly and this is quite rare to find nowadays. What to drink? We'd suggest a variation of the famous Negroni with Cynar (a typical Veneto spirit) instead of vermouth, paired with a fiery Montecristo No. 4.
Terrazza Danieli and Franco Mazzetti
TERRAZZA DANIELI - HOTEL DANIELI
In our opinion, the Hotel Danieli is to Venice what The Peninsula is to Hong Kong: history, tradition, refinement. A sanctuary of old world's service and attention to detail, the exquisite terrazza on the top floor is the the perfect location for a drink and a cigar. A restaurant as well as the ideal location for an Aperitivo, the views from the terrazza - particularly at sunset - are simply breathtaking. When in season order a Bellini, a quintessentially Venetian drink, and pair it with a good Cohiba cigar. The occasion calls for the best!
Red campari, wine and a Laguito No. 6 EGM Custom Blend.
Now, if you’re looking for somewhere casual to smoke, we recommend ‘Aciugheta’ (small anchovy in Italian). Aciugheta is a quaint, little cafe that was initially founded as a ‘bacaro’ - a traditional Venetian bar. The bar specialises in serving wines and small plates of Venetian Cicchetti (small bites). One of the gems of this location is its outdoor, covered terrace, where you can get together with friends, smoke, drink vino and be merry. If you do happen to visit this cafe, we recommend you order a Campari Spritz (just to annoy the Venetian bartender), with a side of bruschetta and baccala.
Caffè Florian and Franco Mazzetti
Perhaps one of the most iconic cigar-smoking locations, Caffè Florian is impossible to miss when you’re travelling to Venice. Yes, coffee here is probably the most expensive in the world; but if you think about it, an hour or two of smoking, comfortably seated in one of the world's most beautiful Piazzas... is it not worth €15 a cuppa? We think it is. Located at the heart of San Marco Square, the cafe is known to be one of the oldest in the world. It was founded in 1720 and hasn't stopped operating since. Service is always accompanied by live classical music, with a lively quartet playing away, and it goes on until late at night. Perfect for a coffee after a sumptuous dinner, sit back in your chair and watch the world go by.
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