Last Sunday we had nothing planned so after driving down the motorway we ended up, quite spontaneously, in the fishing port of Chioggia. Known as “Little Venice” because of its ancient origins and strategic placing for sea defence, it’s an unusual grouping of islands within the Venetian lagoon famous for its fish market and seafood restaurants. For a small fee you can take a mini boat cruise, but we opted to stay on dry land and sampled the local “Cichetti” instead. And what are cichetti I hear you ask? Think Spanish “Tapas” , and you won’t be far off the mark.

After parking the car it was getting on for lunchtime so we headed for the nearest bar for an aperitivo, Italian style. That means “Aperol and Crodino”, a bright- red- mildly- alcoholic- bitter-flavoured drink with munchies. We ordered a small portion of grilled calamari, and a wedge of “baccala” (dry- cured cod) fried in a light batter to keep us going until we found somewhere to eat proper. 
We went up and down the main High Street, Corso del Popolo, taking in the sights and came across this beautifully odd shaped chimney. 

A bit of research later and I found out there are actually around 7000 of these chimneys in and around Venice but in the 1500s there were more like 10,357. Many roofs back then were made from straw making fires a common problem for the city. For this reason chimneys were designed with a backwards shaped flue and a cone shaped trunk which obstructed and allowed sparks to cool down. Many chimneys used to be decorated and painted, making them somewhat of a design feature.
I noticed two tell tale signs that it was a beautiful sunny day. Aside from the sunglasses, and seeing this year’s first pair of shorts, we saw countless locals and tourists walking their dogs. And then it was the amount of freshly washed laundry drying on the balconies down the alleyways and side streets. It was like it was Chioggia’s wash day. There were hanging bed sheets and beach towels all over the shop.

And then it was time for lunch. Straight off the BBQ. Two scallops, two king prawns, a piece of Hake, squid, a red mullet, a sea bass and if that wasn’t enough, a dover sole. Wow. Honestly though we over indulged, for the next however long it would be strictly veggies, salad and fruit for us.

The views of the canals, the decadent scruffiness of some once glorious palaces and the dark narrow alleys really reminds of Venice. We definitely recommend the town if walking amongst the crowd of tourists typical of the lagoon is not your thing.

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