Jul 162017

Christie’s came on board just a few days after our recent May sailing and culinary tour of Venice and its lagoon and did this story on our salty host and his historic boat. We have a few spots left on our upcoming September 16-22, 2017 cruise. And plenty of room in June 2-8 and September 15-21, 2018 (maximum, 10 people). Here’s the Christie’s story—apologies for the fuzzy images, but I think you’ll get the idea. Join us! Details here.

Christie’s story about our sailing and culinary tour of Venice and its lagoon.

Guests have said that their experience on the Eolo was the highlight of their lifetimes.

Mauro’s beautiful food, from the sea right into your plate.

Sailing to Burano.

A couple of miles from Venice, an ode to empty spaces.

Mauro Stoppa, native Venetian, bought the Eolo and lovingly restored it in the 1980s.

Luigi Divari, local artist and fisherman, delivers his catch to our boat to cook up for lunch.

We spend our first night at the exquisite Venissa, a restored monastery, now an inn and fine restaurant.

Feb 152017

The Eolo sailing past Torcello and the basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, a notable example of Venetian-Byzantine architecture. | Photo: Paolo Spigariol

“I want people to see the lagoon as I see it. So many people come to Venice and never really understand what is out here.” —Mauro Stoppa, host of the Eolo

As recommended by The New York Times, Saveur, Elle, The Herald Tribune, Travel & Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, The Guardian, Tatler, The Daily Meal, Marie Claire, Gente Viaggi, Meridiani, Yacht Digest, Gala, Côté Sud, and other prominent publications.

Join our remarkable culinary tour of the city built on water and its lagoon islands. Our May 2017 tour is fully booked, but we are now offering these new dates:

2017 September 16-22

2018 June 2-8 | September 15-21

In addition, we can schedule customized tours for charter groups of 8-10 people for family reunions, intimate wedding parties, company trips, or other private occasions.

Selected Testimonials

“For centuries, the community’s livelihood revolved around the Arsenale, the shipyard that laid the foundation for Venice’s power, and today many residents still work as fishermen or in shipyards. There is a real attachment to the lagoon and the water beyond it…. Mauro Stoppa moved here to live … on his 52-foot “bragozzo,” one of the last surviving barges of its type, in order, he says, ‘to pay homage to the lagoon.’” —Marbella Caracciolo Chia, The New York Times

“John Ruskin once described this watery city as a ‘ghost upon the sands of the sea, so weak—so quiet–so bereft of all but her loveliness.’…. [153 years] later, he would be more likely to compare this packed tourist magnet to a shopping mall during the sales season than to a shadowy mirage…. But Ruskin’s Venice still exists…. Sitting on a historic fishing boat on a recent July evening, with the sun setting over the island of Torcello and the sound of the gull cries splitting the silence of the seemingly endless lagoon, a visitor might even get a sense of what the Victorian thinker was going on about….” —Elisabetta Povoledo, International Herald Tribune

“…[it] is a splendid vision of Venice past in Venice present…. [on the] … broad beamed fishing vessel that was bought and lovingly restored by a stocky, warm-hearted Venetian named Mauro Stoppa, who takes visitors to parts of Venice other boats do not normally reach…. It is a well-appointed pleasure boat and a fine floating restaurant.” —Condé Nast Traveller

“Out of the tiny galley kitchen emerge plates of squid marinated in balsamic vinegar and arranged with architectural precision among red berries and grapes. Next, a risotto of clams, tender and crunchy in all the right places. The pièce de resistance is the sea bass, flesh falling off the bone, baked with mushrooms and herbs, the latter grown on board. Finally, a helium-light chocolate dessert whipped up by Luigi Biasietto, one of the most famous pastry chefs in the Veneto region…. Finding food this good in the city of Venice would be no mean feat. Even Mauro’s wines – including a Piccolit from Enrico Gatti – would not look out of place on a Michelin-starred menu. Yet even as we salivate, we are transfixed by our watery surroundings. There is a sense that we are glimpsing a private world.…most visitors get no further than the number 12 vaporetto that ferries tourists northwards to the “big three” islands: Murano, Burano and Torcello. Mauro’s trips encompass the latter – he puts his guests up in a private villa there – but he also moors alongside Le Vignole and Sant’Erasmo. These are the market gardens of Venice; rarely visited islands where stagnant canals wind through vegetable gardens. Here…you’ll find Venetians tending the artichokes, aubergines and tomatoes that you later see on the stalls around the Rialto market.” —Rachel Spence, The Guardian

“Morning sightseeing is interrupted with a glass of sparkling prosecco and delicious deep-fried castrauri, tiny local artichokes…. In the galley Mauro stirs a huge frying pan of creamy risotto with courgettes cooked together with their yellow flowers, while in the oven the main dish might be a giant scorfano fish, slowly roasting on a bed of thinly sliced potatoes, or tiny wild ducks bought the day before from hunters on the lagoon, and delicately stuffed with foie gras.” —Orient Express

“Forget churches—Try the lagoon with a view…. A trip on the Eolo reveals a side of the lagoon few tourists – or residents such as myself who don’t possess their own boat – ever see…. Lunch aboard the Eolo is a tour de force. …We start with mussels steamed with white wine and the purple artichokes (castraure) that are a springtime speciality of Sant’Erasmo. Next comes the Venetian classic, risi and bisi (risotto with peas). But it’s the main course, a two-kilo bream cooked to flaking perfection, that wins a round of applause.…Not merely a sailing trip but… a fascinating [exploration] of local history and folklore, gourmet cooking lesson[s] in the galley… and … romantic meal[s] on deck. —Rachel Spencer, Financial Times

“The emphasis is on seasonal tastes, the freshness of the raw materials, and the simplicity of the cooking.”Gourmet Traveller, U.K.

“The adventurer inside you will be thrilled to travel through the northern lagoon and cook the fresh morning catch, while the tourist inside you will be pleased to spend your last few days exploring the famous landmarks in Venice both guided and on your own…. When eating on the sailboat, you will be able to cook the local cuisines right along with your hosts as hands-on lessons using some of the freshest ingredients of local products brought to you daily from the islands. You will be involved in every aspect from preparing to cooking the meals with professional guidance from della Croce and Stoppa.” —Bianca Bahamondes, The Daily Meal

“The Eolo is an undiscovered marvel. Many Venetians we spoke to had never heard of her…. We embark on the sleepy island of Le Vignole, then cruise to the sparsely populated isle of Mazzorbo. Soon we are in another world, far out into the lagoon, egrets and ibis our only company. Mauro and his crew set about preparing a four-course dinner as the sun sets; we eat on deck, the stars as our roof…. the food is wonderful: mussels with chilli, chocolate and fagiolini; seabass steamed with peaches and basil; watermelon gazpacho with pistachios.” —Marcus Sedgewick, Tatler

For Details, Itinerary, Reservations Information, Price, click here

To View a Video of the Eolo Under Sail, click here

The Grand Canal as seen from Ca’ Franchetti. | Photo: Paolo Destefanis for Veneto: Authentic Recipes From Venice and the Italian Northeast, by Julia della Croce

Jan 282017
Venice Culinary Tour, September 16-22: Itinerary

Last Call! On May 15, 2017, our vessel, the Eolo, will shove off for a singular culinary and cultural tour of Venice and its lesser known islands. She is one of the few remaining purpose-built, flat-bottom boats left that were designed during the time of the doges to navigate this fabled city of 100 islands and 150 canals. Here is our itinerary, offering our guests an intimate experience for cruising by day, and first-rate accommodations in historic inns and hotels at night. We invite you to come on board for three days of island hopping, followed by three days of immersion in Venice […more…]

Jan 232017
Sail, Eat, Sleep Venice: Preview Our Video Now

Our culinary tour this Spring will take you to the undiscovered side of Venice that the typical traveler rarely sees. Even if you’ve been there before, you’ve probably never experienced this “most secretive of cities,” to quote author Victor Hazan, who with his wife, Marcella, ran a cooking school there for many years. That’s because it is a city of more than 100 small islands in a lagoon separated from the Adriatic Sea that cannot be reached by foot, but only by canals. To experience Venice behind its touristic facade, you have to get on a boat built to navigate the shallow waters […more…]

Jan 232017

We’re some four months away from my upcoming culinary tour to Italy, immersion in Venice and its lagoon. For those of you who are new to my blog, my new venture will take you to the undiscovered side of Venice that the typical tourist never sees. Even if you’ve been there before, you’ve probably never experienced this “most secretive of cities,” to quote author Victor Hazan, who with his wife, Marcella, ran a cooking school there for many years. That’s because it is a city built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon separated from the Adriatic Sea that cannot […more…]

Oct 102016
Undiscovered Venice May 15-21: Glide Away With Me

A marvelous program, a priceless exploration of some of the secrets of this most secretive of cities. I wish I were fit and free enough to jump aboard. —Victor Hazan Victor Hazan, who lived in Venice with Marcella, his wife and Italian cookbook legend, knows: Few outsiders ever get to see the real Venice.  You have to get off the tourist route and even off the map to seek out the city’s nooks and crannies, her hidden waterways and odd corners. Along with native Venetian Mauro Stoppa, our host and skipper, I will take you there, fork in hand. Now you can […more…]

Jun 302016
Tour Unknown Venice with Me: Sign Up for Our May, 2017 Culinary Cruise!

Almost in the very middle of this little sea, enclosed between the water and the sky, lies Venice, a fairy vision, risen as if by miracle out of the water that surrounds it and like green shining ribbons, cuts through its beautiful body. So wrote Giulio Lorenzetti, in his famous 1926 guidebook, Venice and its Lagoon: A Historical and Artistic Guide (updated in 1994 and still the most authoritative source). Yet there it is, the ancient “Serenissima,” a glittering city decorated with gold, arising out of the lagoon, firm and fixed. We can barely grasp how architects could have imagined its plan and […more…]