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Venice and...? Help!

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Dear Italy Board chowhounds,

My husband and I are considering taking a break from our yearly (frequent-flyer funded ) vacations in France to try Italy for the first time in many years. I have an Italian friend who can put us up in Venice, for free, which is definitely a lucky plus as we will be on a somewhat limited budget (meaning no blow out meals every night). We'll have around two weeks in early Sept. Given that we've both been to Venice (several times, thanks to having such a great friend!) we thought we'd spend a week there and a week...somewhere else. I am lost...help!

The reason I am pleading on Chowhound is because this part of the trip will center on food and wine. Looking for an itinerary that's not too taxing to do from and back to Venice...off the beaten tourist path.... not real urban as we will be staying in the center of Venice. After Venice, I want to see some of the Italian countryside (seaside?) so I feel like I have had the best of both worlds.

I don't want to come back home exhausted, meaning that I don't want to try to cram in too many places. Love art but want the second part of the trip to be about food and wine,and not necessarily in that order! (our original plan had been to spend some time in Paris then go to Burgundy)

What would YOU do given this criteria?
Thanks!

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  1. Have you visited the Veneto, the region on the mainland surrounding Venice? Cities such as Vicenza, Padua, Treviso, Bassano del Grappa are all worth visiting and are all within an easy train ride (suitable for day trips) from Venice.

    The Friuli region is not much further away from Venice, yet the cuisine and the scenery is different. The region produces excellent wines.

    Here is a current thread in dining in the Friuli region: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/791496

    Here is a slightly older, but much more lengthy, thread on dining in the Friuli:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/733817

    1 Reply
    1. re: DavidT

      Here is a current NY Times article on touring in the Collio region of the Friuli:

      http://travel.nytimes.com/2011/07/03/...

    2. Alternatively you could take the ferry from Venice to Croatia - it's about 2 1/2 hours to Rovinj, a lovely beach town with great seafood and day trip possibilities.

      1. Thanks! That all sounds really great for some day trips. We're also thinking of maybe going a little further afield for a few days...again, nowhere where it would be a hassle to get back to Venice for a flight. It''s nice because we can leave our large bags with my friend (cause we always come home laden with goodies)., and we just pack a small bag for...wherever! We've been to Florence and Padua and that' it. I like the suggestion above of trying a region with really different food and wine from what we'll have in Venice (the grappa distillery is now on the list after I told me husband about it :)
        When we were in France last year we spent 4 days in Lyon, picked up a car and spent one night in Provence on a farm, and then spent a 5 days in Nice. They were all really different, but all were food -centered experiences. That's what I'm trying to put together in Italy. Thanks again!

        1 Reply
        1. re: sistereurope

          You should certainll look at the thread just above this one--Trentino/Alto Adige offers great food, wine, and different scenery/culture. And, it's close enough to you....

        2. Here is a recent thread discussing the best eating regions in Italy:

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/739165

          3 Replies
          1. re: DavidT

            Oh thank you! This is all perfect!!! I will definitely report back when we decide on the final itinerary and will be happy to write about our experiences when we return.

            1. re: sistereurope

              After a day spent lounging and reading through many posts gathered from the ones above, I THINK we are leaning towards the Piedmont area around Alba or Asti (unless my friend throws a monkey wrench into the works and decides to have us go to her small place in Puglia, which looks like it would be more than ok too!)
              I'm very excited because this is exactly the kind of info I was looking for.
              And please accept my apologies for not doing a thorough search myself first... I am scolding myself for not seeing the thread above about the best eating regions in the first place! I am a frequent enough lurker on several boards to know that everyone appreciates the search effort...so an extra thanks for your indulgence! More later...

              1. re: sistereurope

                Sister, after doing a tour of Piemonte and E-R last year (after starting with a few days in Venice), I would highly recommend your tour of Piemonte (and E-R if you can swing it). AMAZING food and wine area - you will love it!