One of the best times of year to visit Venice is perhaps from mid-January to late February, during the so-called Carnevale di Venezia. Venice’s Carnival is just one of the many things about the city that has become legend, and it’s undoubtedly something worth experiencing at least once in your life. The city will be busy, but the show of eighteenth century masks strolling along the narrow alleys and canals and around St Mark’s Square, and the cheerful atmosphere that envelops the whole city during this particularly heartfelt festivity is well-worth the elbowing. If anything else, there’ll be some luscious sweet treats to make up for the overcrowding.
Of the many Venetian sweet treats that are typical of Carnival, the frìtola is perhaps the most widely-known and reproduced by the many pastry shops and bakeries that dot the floating city. Variations on the theme are potentially endless, but they tend to rotate around a common theme. The starting point is always the frìtola venessiana sensa gnente – the first of its kind, and the most classic and traditional among them. But then, one can also find frìtole stuffed with all manners of fillings, from custard to ricotta, as well as frìtole shaped in different ways – round, small, big or with a hole in the middle.
Prices for a frìtola served at the counter range from 1,20€ to 2€ – hardly ever more than that (it’s a popular product after all). The price tag is, however, rarely an indication of quality. Some pastry shops producing excellent frìtole will be extremely cheap, cheaper than others whose frìtole are mediocre at best. Warning signs of a bad frìtola are rather to be found in the amount of stuffing (too much isn’t good); and in the state of the icing sugar (it should powdery rather than sticky). Other than that, follow this guide and you’ll be in for a real treat.
This is a list of Venetian pastry shops selling the best frìtole during carnevale. Their fame precedes them, but they have in time become true personal favourites, too. Each of them is special in its own right, but all of them excel at the art of the fried dough in one way or another, and they are all equally worth a try.