Nov 212019

The Venetian Lagoon, Photo by Nathan Hoyt/Forktales 2018

No doubt you have heard about the disastrous rains and resulting floods in Venice in recent weeks—the worst since the tragic flooding of 1966 that did so much damage to the city and its art and architectural treasures; to homes and shops and livelihoods. Those of you who have been on our culinary sailing cruises of the lagoon islands no doubt wonder how Mauro Stoppa, our Venetian captain and host and his beloved ship the Eolo, have fared. Because the boat was out of the water for seasonal repairs and maintenance when the violent storms hit again and again over several days, both are safe. Only his small dingy, used for trips to the Rialto market for food supplies, was destroyed.

The Eolo in dry-dock.

You can support our unique and extraordinary culinary sailing tour by joining us for a spring or autumn tour. Participate in a venture designed by our captain and host, a native Venetian who takes great pride in drawing you into the insider’s Venice. Be amazed by these fabled islands that rise out of the sea like a fairy vision. You will no doubt find, as so many of our guests have, that you will have an adventure of a lifetime. Ours are the only tours of their kind that go behind the spectacle that is Venice to explore its nooks, crannies, and backstreets. We take you to the enchanting smaller islands where the native Venetians still live and work far away from the hordes of visitors on the main island. We will expertly navigate the lagoon waters, gliding through the mesmerizing calm and beauty of this sea-within-a-sea while our crew serves you the delights that emerge from the galley based on genuine local cooking that our host learned from his Venetian mother (note that we can custom prepare vegetarian menus and accommodate guests with dietary restrictions).

Greeting Mauro. Photo: Nathan Hoyt/Forktales, 2017

Hundreds of years after the decline of its dominant sea power, Venice, which once controlled the trade routes to Persia, India, and China, survives on tourism, even while foreign cruise ships disturb the fragile ecosystem of their waters and the punishing forces of climate change ravage it. Experts say that just like Atlantis—a continent that sank into the sea many thousands of years ago—Venice will disappear within a hundred years. But Venetians have grit and determination and will rebuild, as they always have. They have already begun. Join us for what so many of our guests say is the trip of a lifetime.

Experience the magic of the lagoon, its history and culture; natural life, music, and rich local traditions.

Summary of our itineraries for the spring and fall, 2020 culinary and cultural tours of Venice & its region with author Julia della Croce & Venetian host and captain Mauro Stoppa

Acclaimed by the Herald Tribune, The New York Times, Condé Nast Traveler, Financial Times, Saveur, The Times (London), The Guardian, and many other prominent food and travel publications

May 18-24 6 days

Sail on our historic vessel for an unforgettable tour of Venice and its lagoon’s lesser-known islands. Journey on to the Brenta Riviera for a land tour of the Renaissance world of Andrea Palladio, one of history’s greatest architects. See Villa Foscari aka “Malconta,” Villa Pisani, and other UNESCO World Heritage sites. Dine with a countess in her ancestral palace. Visit the medieval charms, art riches, and famous markets of Padua. Enjoy superb local wines and the delicate cuisine of the provinces and be amazed at the cultural and gastronomic richness of the Veneto region. Euros 5,800.

September 14-20

Sail Venice and its lesser known islands for a unique insider’s tour of the fabled city and its enchanting lagoon. Our beautifully restored vessel is one of the few remaining purpose-built flat-bottom boats left that were designed during the time of the doges to navigate Venice’s 100 islands and 150 canals. Our generous host and his able crew will draw you into the Venice of yesterday. Lunch at anchor on the quiet lagoon, and enjoy 4 days of island-hopping followed by 3 days in Venice proper with expert native guides at your side. Euros 6,200 (double occupancy)

English spoken by our expert crew and local guides.

Rates and Particulars:

  • 6,200 Euros per person including the last night (7 nights) or 5,800 Euros for 6 nights for accommodations as detailed, breakfasts, lunches and dinners as described, private visits as per itinerary, all entrance fees, cooking lessons during our journey at your discretion, the service of your tour guide(s). Rates based on double occupancy; 20% more for single occupancy.
  • 10% deposit upon reservation, refunded if the minimum of 6 guests is not reached.
  • 40% upon confirmation, the balance 30 days before departure.
  • Minimum 6 guests. Maximum, 10 guests.

*Price covers meals, overnight accommodations in first-rate inns and hotels, guides, cooking lessons, and museum fees.

Not Included

  • Flights, travel insurance, items of personal expenditure (e.g. telephone calls, laundry etc.), discretionary gratuities to boatmen and guides, government levies or taxes introduced after publication of this program).
  • Please note that if circumstances beyond our control necessitate some alteration to the itinerary shown, you will be notified of any such changes as soon as possible.

Contact: For more information and reservations: Write to Mauro Stoppa at the following email address For more information about me, go to You can email me at with any questions you might have.

Oct 042019
Join Our New Adventure: Tour of Venice and the Brenta Riviera, May 18-24, 2020

Dear Hungry Readers, Because many of you have asked, here’s the itinerary for our new 2020 7-day culinary sailing tour in collaboration with Venetian host Mauro Stoppa. This will be a cultural and culinary exploration of the Venetian lagoon and the Brenta Riviera. Boats and traditional means of transport make for a unique journey in one of Italy’s most historically, culturally and gastronomically rich regions. This is a variation of our original tour of Venice and the lagoon islands (that will be offered once again, September 14-20—itinerary to come). OVERVIEW The spring 2020 journey begins onboard the Eolo, the restored historic sailing vessel owned by […more…]

May 282018
Sail Venice and its Lagoon This Fall

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 […more…]

Dec 232017
Holiday Greetings from Julia & Mauro

Dear Hungry Readers and Lovely Eolo Guests, If you’ve wondered why you haven’t heard from me recently, I’ve been immersed in a big book project this year (stay tuned for senstional images from all over Italy). In the meantime, my sailing tours of Venice and its exquisite lagoon, done in tandem with Venetian host Mauro Stoppa on his historic sailboat, continued in spring and autumn. Here’s a photo taken on deck in September as we glided past one of the hundreds of islands enclosed in this little sea, so pristine and still—a side of La Serenissima that so few people, natives and visitors alike, ever see. Additional posts […more…]

Jul 162017
Christie's Loves Our Sailing and Culinary Tour of Venice—Still Openings in September!

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.

May 012017
Forget About Pasta, Pizza, and Smiles: Meet La Nuova Cucina Italiana

Back in the day when nouvelle cuisine was firing up the new chefs of Europe, I wrote in the introduction to my first cookbook, published in 1986, that Italy, a country that has complained about the excesses of French cooking since the 16th century, would never succumb to it. Take, as an example, the words of Gerolamo Zanetti, a 16th century Venetian, which are still uttered by modern Italians: French cooks have ruined Venetian stomachs with so [many] sauces, broths, extracts… in every dish… meat and fish transformed to such a point that they are scarcely recognizable by the time they get to the […more…]

Feb 182017
Learning by the Book with Wine Legend Kevin Zraly

I know relatively little about wine. I was once ashamed of saying so in light of forty years as a food writer—but that changed recently when I admitted as much to world-renowned wine educator, Kevin Zraly. “It’s not surprising,” he said, adding that the same is true for most chefs he knows, and vice versa for wine authorities. As he writes in the introduction to his newly re-issued best-selling Windows on the World Complete Wine Course, “Studying wine isn’t merely learning about a beverage but also understanding the history, language, culture, and traditions of the people and countries where each […more…]

Feb 152017
Venice by Boat Culinary Tour: New 2017 & 2018 Dates

“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 […more…]

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…]