The challenge: Order wine in Venice like a local
You don’t order wine in Venice, saying “a glass of wine” (un bicchiere di vino). If you are a local or a well-prepared traveler, then you know that you should order “a shade of wine” (un’ombra di vino). Jot down this phrase in your travel notebook and use it during your next dinner in Venice.
But why, why do Venetians dare to call wine with words other than “wine”?
Why do Venetians drink wine in the shade – the story
Back in the old days, legend has it, wine merchants at Piazza San Marco would move their stalls throughout the day to stay out of the sun, in the shadow of the bell tower. The shadow moved – the merchant moved too. Besides, who would drink warm or spoiled wine!
And so instead of “go and grab a glass of wine” people started saying “go and grab some shade”. And everybody knew what it meant.
Ombra today – what is essential to know
Nowadays many of the historic wine bars in Venice contain “ombra” in their name. And as you can guess, it’s not called a wine tour – it’s an ombra tour.
Have in mind that usually “un’ombra di vino” means a small glass (100 ml) of wine. That’s why you will happily find that you can get an ombra for a very reasonable price. Combine with cicchetti – sandwiches, boiled eggs, olives or vegetables to have as a side dish with the wine.
Venetians know this stuff. The only thing you can do is find your own wine shade.