Virtuoso Life - November/December 2017 - 102
From left: Matteo Bisol and his
family's coveted Venissa wine, made
with the dorona di Venezia grape.
"Some of the best seafood
on Burano is at Trattoria da
Romano, and while much of the
lace-making has left the island,
my insiders tell me that Dalla
Lidia Merletti d'Arte still has
the real thing."
- Adamarie King, Virtuoso
travel advisor, Chicago
where I buy a bussolai, the island's signature butter cookie. I nibble on the dessert as I stroll
past wooden homes with colorful drapery hanging in the doorways, which protects residents
from the sun - and the eyes of curious travelers.
Neighboring Mazzorbo is reached via a wooden bridge on Burano's northwest corner. The island has fewer residents, but offers several restaurants and long promenades
along the water on which to roam. Inside a walled vineyard near the bridge, I meet up with
Matteo Bisol, the 29-year-old son of Gianluca Bisol, patriarch of the Bisol prosecco family.
He tells me this is where his family - already celebrated for their prosecco house in Italy's
Valdobbiadene region - is working to revive a nearly extinct wine-making tradition with
Venice's native grape, the dorona.
The grounds were once home to monks who, for hundreds of years, used the land to produce food and wine. The brick walls, Bisol explains, protect the delicate vines from the sea
just feet away, although it doesn't always work. The vineyard floods often, and the brackish
water gives the wine - which they call Venissa - a distinct but soft salinity. Visitors can try it
here at the Michelin-starred Ristorante Venissa, a romantic space at the end of the vineyard.
It holds just a dozen tables and is open in spring, summer, and fall.
Venice used to be an active viticultural region, but that faded after the great flood of 1966,
when it was believed that the city had lost all its remaining native grapes. That is, until 2002,
when Bisol's father discovered some on Torcello, a five-minute boat ride away.
"Would you like to see?" Bisol asks. "How well do you row?"
THE NEXT MORNING, I SET OFF FROM BURANO TO TORCELLO IN A BATELLINA,
a traditional Venetian rowboat, with the Burano Rowing Association president teaching me
his technique. After a few minutes negotiating with the forward motion this particular style
of rowing requires, we move swiftly through the water, passing boats full of fishermen and a
father and son digging for clams in the marsh.
V I RT U O S O L I F E