Mara Sartore & Matteo Bartoli: From Venice, with love.

Venice is obviously renowned for its canals and Piazza San Marco, but it’s also known as “the city of love”. Year after year, it remains a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. This time around we wanted to see the city from the inside, from a local family’s perspective. That’s why we decided to meet up with Mara and Matteo, a couple of entrepreneurs in the world of wine and art and parents to Eva (11) and Sergio (9). They own the Vino Vero wine bar alongside one of those famous canals! 


When entrepreneurs join forces.

Matteo and I first met when we were both working for the Venice cinema festival OFF back in 2002. Together we took over the festival’s direction in 2004 and a couple of years later – in 2006 - we also founded our own event planning company called Lightbox. We’re specialized in the communication of the main contemporary art appointments, such as Art Basel or the Venice Biennale, with My Art Guide


In 2012, Matteo was one of the founders of a Tuscan natural wine company. Since we were so busy taking care of the marketing and sales, we figured opening our own wine bar in Venice was only logical. It’s called Vino Vero and intends to especially promote locally produced natural wines. By that we mean wines with no or few sulfites, respecting the spontaneous development of the vine, allowing the wine to stay alive and evolve in an organic, natural way. At Vino Vero, we propose more than 500 international natural wines, but also Cicchetti’s, typical tapas from Venice.


The kids go to school from Monday to Saturday. They’re a little older already, so they’re very free, they’re usually either hanging out together or with friends. We’re always going back and forth between our apartment, our offices and the bar, everything is in the same neighborhood. 


Artistic fiber: A family affair. 

We don’t lose a single minute being stuck in traffic because we do everything by foot. We save precious time that way and it allows us to enjoy our family time to the fullest. Also, when Matteo and I are traveling for work, sometimes our neighbors take care of the kids. We think it’s important for Eva and Sergio to also take part in our professional life, so they accompany us to different artistic events when possible, and they get to meet artists and wine producers. 


For example, they both joined us when we went to contemporary art fairs in Dubai, Hong Kong and even Miami. Eva acts in the theatre and Sergio enjoys drawing and playing the drums. Sure, we enable them to meet artists and we stimulate their artistic impulses but at the same time we don’t want to force things. 


Travel destinations.

When we’re staying in or around Venice, we like to take the motor boat to spend the day on the beaches of Palestrina virgin island. We also often go to Tuscany because that’s where Matteo is originally from. There, we usually go to a country house in Mugello. Moreover, we love to sail and have a crush on the Greek Islands and Croatia. 

When on holidays, we usually keep it practical and try to keep our luggage minimal. But when it’s a working trip, the suitcase is more elaborate. The art world allows us to be casual and chic at the same time. 


Tips in Venice:

-      Have a walk in our neighborhood: Cannaregio (Sestriere) or in Zatere (Canal of the Giudeca).

-      Have a snackat Dal Mas or Tonolo!

-      When it’s apero time, come to Vino Vero, where you’ll enjoy natural wines on a sunny terrace, next to the canal. In winter, we’d recommend the Estro bar.

-      Eat the best tramezzini’s (Italian sandwiches) at Ai Nomboli or Da Bepi.

-      Have an amazing dinner at Ostaria Da Rioba.

-      Buy some glass jewelryfrom Mariana and Susanna Sent, and some glass items from Venini.


If you ever had to move, where would you go?

Matteo would opt for Northern Italy (around Alzano), while I would go to the South (near Palermo). Clearly, we won’t easily agree on this, so we’re staying in Venice! If we had to go live in another country, it would probably be Barcelona or Lisbon, but we’re pretty good where we are and not planning to move.

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Pictures by Con Botas de Agua

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