Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that Suite 410 has reopened after a months-long closure earlier this year.
In the distant past, travel writers would send their dispatches by telegram, and the words would appear on a ribbon of paper. For instance, "ARRIVED VENICE. STREETS UNDER WATER. ADVISE." Nowadays, tourists home in on Wi-Fi hotspots near the Rialto bridge and send their tasting notes and travel dispatches from The Most Serene Republic of Venice by email.
Since I could only stay for a couple of days on my last visit, I was determined not to get stuck with my nose in a guidebook when it could have been in a wine glass instead. One of those itty-bitty wine glasses called ombre, literally shade, because the real wine bars are found in cool arcades and dusky spots just around the corner from the tourist traps.
And talk about tourist traps! At Caffe Florian, on the Piazza San Marco, for example, it's $20 for a Bellini, with a $6 entertainment surcharge when the tuxedo-clad orchestra plays Viennese waltzes to an audience of giggling Japanese school girls sipping Cokes.
The classic "champagne" cocktail known as the Bellini was invented around the corner by Giuseppe Cipriani, the founder of