Visit Venice while drinking a tea that can be “masculine” or “feminine”

Storiedichi_Sala_da_tè_Venezia_wm_01Venice – Autumn also comes to Venice, and among the many calli (narrow Venetian streets) one hunts for nice little spots to relax in the shade, read a book, or chat with friends while sipping tea, coffee, or a flavored drink. Those visiting Venice during this time – though the suggestion is valid throughout the year – can stop at Elena Piaggi’s tea room on the Calle Lunga San Barnaba: the street of Venetian artists, artisans and other innovators of international tastes.

Storiedichi_Sala_da_tè_Venezia_wm_02Open the door, and you could be in the center of London, in an intimate suburb of New York, or on a tree-lined street in Berlin. Certainly also in Japan, seeing as this tea room in Venice is called “Fujiyama” – but even more so in Paris, the city in which its proprietor lived and learned French, and which is the language most spoken over the cups, the teapots, the muffins, and the bountiful cakes whose scents invade the street with temptation.

The “Fujiyama” tearoom in Venice is a place where one forgets the hurriedness outside: better to leave your PC and cell phone at home. The books, the paintings, the Asian-inspired décor and ambiance, and the lounge music that accompanies you to the garden all contribute in indulging in a few moments of tranquility. Once there, you get lost in the harmonious explosion of jasmine, roses, camellias, and wisteria that adorn the small interior courtyard – it only takes an infusion of roses and ginger, nettles or orange blossom, or a “matcha cappuccino” (a cappuccino with green tea Storiedichi_Sala_da_tè_Venezia_wm_03powder) to take you away from it all. Elena Piaggi watches over her garden every day as if it were for the first time, and seems surprised to be there, serving tea, pastries and other delights in such a beautiful place. In fact, Elena arrived at “Fujiyama” after 15 years of having followed many different paths: She has a degree in Economics; while at the Erasmus Program in Paris, she met friends with whom she founded a short film festival entitled “Circuito Off” in her native city of Venice; and she has worked extensively in event planning. Then, life’s circumstances caused her to change everything and to manage the tea room in Venice, which was opened in 2000 by a couple enamored with Asia and Japan and called it “Fujiyama.”

“Fujiyama” is also a Bed & Breakfast, offering four rooms for tourists to rent, and it is mostly the French who book them, fascinated by a place where you mainly go to sleep, but where you can also have a good tea and participate in the cultural events that Elena organizes in the leafy courtyard.

In the years since the business opened, Elena has enhanced the culture of tea. She tells me, “I have discovered that there is masculine and feminine tea. Surprisingly, men like sweet and fruity flavors, like berries. Women, on the other hand, choose flowers, like rose or orange blossom.” The men also seem to have another “weakness” – on the “Fujiyama” menu there is an infusion called “Forever Young.” And Elena assures me that “It’s mostly the men who order it.”