We had the great pleasure of hosting American travel writer and television personality Rick Steves in late April. For over two decades, he has been North America’s most respected authority on European travel, and we were thrilled when he asked to join us for a few hours of walking through some of Venice’s quieter neighborhood streets while on the lookout for some of our favorite local eateries. He is as friendly and sociable in person as he seems on television, so it didn’t take long to relax and enjoy an evening of sampling wine, food, and sharing each others’ introductory stories about why our paths crossed when they did.
We brought him into Cantinone Gia Schiavi, a treasured Venetian family owned and operated place Maya has been going to for well over 20 years, and where we take our guests everyday on our lunchtime “Off The Eaten Path” tour. It was a packed and festive time, as the next day was the Feast of Saint Mark, one of the biggest holidays in Venice, so Venetians were out to enjoy some pre-celebrations. Rick was just as charmed by the place as we always are, and while collecting our glasses of wine from the counter, we were treated to a colorful plate of mouth-watering traditional, savory Venetian snacks called cicchetti, similar in some ways to Spanish tapas, hand-picked and prepared by Signora Alessandra, the matriarch and Queen of all things cicchetti.
Check out the video below, where he joins us in Gia Schiavi, to enjoy some Venetian hospitality, not to mention delicious food and wine.
After a few hours of visiting several other eateries culminating in a late dinner, we hugged, took a selfie together and said our goodbyes, and waved as Rick boarded the vaporetto. We then turned and smiled at each other as we started the slow stroll home, excitedly chatting about the memorable evening we just had.