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Ciacoe in Tocio: Ideas, Conversations, and Sauces for Eating with the Lagoon

In partnership with the Center for the Humanities and Social Change - Università Ca' Foscari Venezia


Ocean Space
Admission fee
Free of charge

Reservation is required at the following link


Italian and English

The event, in partnership with the Center for the Humanities and Social Change - Università Ca' Foscari Venezia, draws from Venice’s past and present to reimagine its future.

A recipe for salt calls for two ingredients: the sea and the sun. But what is the recipe for Venice? The city of Venice emerged from salt marshes—from the labor of tides carrying seawater back and forth, in and out. As a “forest on the sea,”[1] Venice is a balancing act and salt knows a thing or two about balance. Salt executes order. It conducts how an ingredient behaves. Too little and even a confident legume tastes like something is missing. Too much and drought spreads across the mouth. The human appetite for salt, as the anthropologist Margaret Visser points out, reveals that we are in fact “walking marine environments.”[2] The sea in our mouths. The lagoon on our tongues. But as much as salt preserves—keeping ingredients in line and flavors in balance—it also damages and erodes. In dialogue with salt’s duality, Ciacoe in Tocio: Idee, Conversazioni, e Sughi per Mangiare con la Laguna (Ideas, Conversations, and Sauces for Eating with the Lagoon) draws from Venice’s past and present to reimagine its future.

An afternoon of culinary conversations, this event casts food as a critical means with which to experience Venice and its lagoon. The table becomes a laboratory for understanding and shaping saltwater worlds and coastal futures. Eating becomes a method of inquiry.

Calling for a move away from an exclusive focus on terrestrial food politics, cultural studies scholar Elspeth Probyn asks: “can we eat with the ocean?”[1] She wonders: “How to eat the ocean well?”[2] We—chef Marco Bravetti, cultural historian L. Sasha Gora, and food designer Katinka Versendaal—speculate answers to these questions. Can Venice eat with the lagoon?

Shadowing the rhythms of the tide, we ask: What does it mean to eat with something? What does it mean to eat with the tide or against it? These questions relate to larger debates about how human appetites change climate and how climate change, in turn, influences human appetites.

[1] Elspeth Probyn, Eating the Ocean (Durham: Duke University Press, 2016), 7.

[2] Ibid., 130.

[1] Karl Appuhn, A Forest on the Sea: Environmental Expertise in Renaissance Venice (Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2009).

[2] Margaret Visser, Much Depends on Dinner (New York: HarperCollins, 2010 [1986]), 115.


In line with the rules to prevent the spread of Covid-19, the capacity of Ocean Space has been reduced to guarantee a safe experience.

Participation is free but reservation is required at this link.

Masks must be worn inside Ocean Space (properly covering both nose and mouth) and hands must be sanitized with the provided sanitizer upon entrance. A temperature check will be carried out at the entrance.


Marco Bravetti is a Venetian chef. Born and raised in Venice, he returned to the city after a few years of wandering through the streets and kitchens of London, São Paulo, and Copenhagen. After bringing his research to some notable restaurants of the lagoon, he founded TOCIA! - Cuisine and Community, a proactive collective born of interdisciplinary and convivial research. Through the languages, practices, ingredients, and rituals of food and cooking, TOCIA! investigates the lagoon’s landscapes and the human relationships that inhabit them.


L. Sasha Gora is a cultural historian and writer. In 2020 she received a PhD from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for the Humanities and Social Change at Università Ca' Foscari. She has given talks at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, the Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow, and elsewhere, and has penned articles for the likes of Gastronomica, VICE, BBC, and C Magazine. Her first book—Culinary Claims: A History of Indigenous Restaurants in Canada—is forthcoming.


Katinka Versendaal is a Dutch food designer and founder of the Eatelier. After having earned a BA in Product Design from Design Academy Eindhoven and an MA in Food Design & Innovation from Scuola Politecnica di Design in Milan, she founded the food design studio The Eatelier in 2017. As a self-proclaimed “gastronomic futurologist,” she is curious about all that goes on in the world of food—the ecological, historical, technological, and cultural forces shaping the way people eat now and will eat in the future.


Camilla Bertoliniis a postdoctoral researcher at Ca’ Foscari University. A benthic ecologist, her research focuses on shellfish and studies how species, particularly sessile, interact with their environment by creating feedback loops for holistic ecosystem health and maintenance.


Lorenzo Barbasetti di Prunis a chef and artist, a researcher and a writer. He is the founder of Prometheus_Open Food Lab, which is a research laboratory dedicated to transforming landscapes through the lens of food. His work in Venice, titled The Tidal Garden, explores the edible potential of the lagoon’s salt marshes.


Michele Savorgnanois a permaculturist who works with communities to design and transform their environments by caring for plants. In 2009 he founded SpiazziVerdi, on the island of Giudecca, (the first community vegetable garden in Venice) and in 2013 he established F.U.D. (Fattoria Urban Diffusa).


Chiara Spadarois an environmental journalist and a PhD candidate in Historical, Geographical, and Anthropological Studies at the Universities of Padova, Verona, and Ca’ Foscari Venezia. Her research concerns the Venetian Lagoon’s food systems from a territorialist vision of local food policies.