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Five Spots: Venice

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Sharky's on the Pier / HERALD-TRIBUNE ARCHIVES

As its name suggests, Venice is enamored of all things Italian, especially food, but there are many other reasons to visit this city in the heart of the area we refer to as South County (as in South Sarasota County).

EAT: Made In Italy
117 W. Venice Ave,, Venice; 488-8282; madeinitaly-venice.com
For upper end eating, try downtown’s Made in Italy. Part of South County's recent wave of winning dining changes, the popular restaurant has expanded to include a new bar and appetizer area. Like pizza? We thought so. Try the pizza “al metro.” Basically, you get a yard of marvelous pie that serves about four, or five, or, one, if you’re really hungry.

DRINK: Sharky's on the Pier
1600 Harbor Dr. S., Venice; 488-1456; sharkysonthepier.com
The longtime and undisputed champ is the recently expanded Sharky’s on the Pier, which is the first and No. 1 stop for tourists and other newcomers. You really can’t go wrong with any of these libations at this outstanding location. You’ll find quality food, too.

SHOP: Dick's Shoes
219 W. Venice Ave., Venice; 488-4999; dicksshoes.com
Locally owned Dick’s Shoes downtown has generated a loyal following for its excellent service and more than 300 styles. Everybody brings back T-shirts with silly sayings on them from our beach communities. You could really impress, and surprise, your friends and neighbors by returning with a first-rate pair of footwear.

PLAY: Hecksher Park
450 W. Venice Ave., Venice; venicegov.com
Hecksher Park across from City Hall is a popular spot, featuring free pickup tennis games every morning. You can also get into a basketball game most nights on the outdoor courts. But, you know, without all the craziness depicted in the early 1990s sports buddy comedy “White Men Can't Jump.”

STAY: The Banyan House Historic Bed & Breakfast
519 S. Harbor Drive, Venice; 484-1385; banyanhouse.com
The Banyan House Historic Bed and Breakfast of Harbor Drive managed with great care by Susan and Chuck McCormick features sumptuously renovated accommodations, a great location and gourmet breakfasts prepared by Susan.

Last modified: February 19, 2014
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