Virtual Retreats in Venice and the Lagoon and Exclusive Online Experiences

Enjoy a virtual visit in the Lagoon, discover its more than 2000 islands and learn more about Venetian cuisine and ancient recipes. A cuisine based on Lagoon fruit and herbs, fragrant blossoms and exotic spices

While Venetian history is well-documented, the culinary heritage of the Republic of Venice is almost unknown! La Spezeria shares the historical food culture, natural remedies and perfumery for which Venice was famous in Europe for more than 1000 years.

Learn to cook historical spice recipes in a secret garden on the premises of the San Zaccaria monastery

The art of using local and exotic herbs, blossoms and spices to create beauty products, natural remedies and delicious food was developed in Venice during the past 1600 years of her existence.

Much of this ancient know-how was used to survive the two world wars in the Lagoon. That's when our grandmother Lina became interested in the recipes of the past which played a big role for her family to survive these difficult times.

Lina opened her first restaurant in Venice in 1945, offering her childhood favorites from the northern Lagoon, where the family had been living during the war, just north of Lio Piccolo and Torcello: People went foraging for herbs in spring and used herbs and wild fruit in their staple dishes in winter.

She also started collecting ancient recipes from monasteries in the Lagoon and in Venice: San Francesco della Vigna, San Lazzaro degli Armeni, and the forgotten libary of San Zaccaria, of whom she is the guardian: 

This was the food eaten in pre-industrial times, serving a purpose: Food = health = beauty. Food was considered the best medicine in the Venice of the past, so we thought that during our current changing, fast-paced and unsure times, adding healthy and delicious touches to food might be useful.

Venice preserved the ancient recipes of fresh and unprocessed food, natural remedies, beauty products and perfumery.

Our online classes share surprising recipes, insights, and tools for you to learn about this fascinating side of Venice. You'll taste ancient recipes using herbs and spices such as fenugreek, liquorice, cardamom and star anise. You'll learn about turmeric, laurel leaves, and the delicious recipes for coffee and cocoa which you can still taste in the coffee stores in Venice. Festive menus, comfort food and home-made remedies made from blossom syrup.

Meet your hosts and instructors

Lina Teresa

Member of Associazione Cavalieri di San Marco and founder of three restaurants in Venice. Co-Founder of La Venessiana Magazine.

Lina is a member of the Cavalieri di San Marco Association, founded by former noble families of the Serenissima Republic of Venice in 1571, when Venice fought the all-decisive battle of Lepanto. She is 97 years old, and opened her first restaurant in Venice in 1945 and hotel in 1968. Lina is deeply interested in Venetian culture, history, garden and culinary heritage. She is the guardian of the former library of the San Zaccaria monastery in Venice, and has curated its gardens since 1968. This garden, and Lina's kitchen is the home of our kitchen and spice atelier! For our website and online courses, Lina provides inspiration, memories of the past, wisdom for the future, and very special family stories.

Iris Loredana

Expert in sustainable economics, Venetian culinary history, health at work and aromatherapy. Co-Founder of La Venessiana Magazine.

Iris (Lina's granddaughter) was educated in Venice and Vienna: She studied Greek, Latin and Venessian, the three official languages of the former Serenissima Republic of Venice. She holds degrees in corporate finance / sustainability, health and environmental economics, and language studies and communications. In her thesis, Iris wrote about the urbanization of the Venetian Lagoon. Her special interest lies in aromatherapy, natural health and beauty concepts, and the culinary history of the Republic of Venice. Amongst others, Iris has been responsible for setting up the Health at Work concept at an international banking group. Together with Lina, she started La Venessiana - Venice for Women Magazine in 2011.

Elizabeth Salthouse writes about us on L'Italo-Americano

 55,000 Venetians live in the historic center. Their numbers are down from 150,000 two centuries ago but this core of residents holds a deep love for their home: Iris and her grandmother are passionate to show people that there's much, much more to Venice than just St Mark's, beautiful though it is. So they write about the hidden, private side of Venice. From courtyard gardens to secet orchards, medicinal botany to vegetable patches. Most lie behind anonymus, vertiginous, red brick walls, totally unknown to passers-by or their guidebooks, and astonishingly gardens cover almost half the surface area of the city. Often the only clue you'll have to being near a secret sanctuary is a waft of heavy vanilla, Jasmine or lemon balm as you pass by. And most of the time you're probably no more than just a few feet away from an old vineyard, an ageing convent garden or, as Iris puts it, the second Venice, known only to residents. If you're lucky she'll take you there through her writing or in person. And if we're lucky Venice, her history and her gardens will survive in the safe hands of Venetians like Iris and her grandmother Lina.

La Venessiana was featured on:

One of the ways to really help the Venetians overcome these challenging times is to support them through online orders .. My favorite is La Venessiana, offering e-books and online courses. The instructors are family members Iris and Lina, and their passion for Venice is illustrated through the exquisite photographs and articles about life and food in Venice.

Janice Mancuso, Italian Historical Society

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I want to live in your Venice! You describe the city in such rich and loving detail. Such wonderful information about a Venice we usually don’t see! Thank you for lending me your eyes and your knowledge.

Kathleen González, Seductive Venice Blog