It is an appetizer, consumed usually in the morning when there is no time to lose.
In Venice, the cicchetto is bound inextricably to an “ombra” (“shadow”), ie a glass of wine. This local institution seems to take its name from the habit of merchants to place the barrels of wine in the shadow of the bell tower of San Marco to keep the wine cool, still in the lagoon city is said to “andar a ombre” (“go for shadows”) when wants to indicate the ritual of the mid-morning snack.
There are many bacari (wine bars) where you can find the cicchetti, the composition of which varies depending on the time of year. It is a little taste of fish or meats, hot or cold, resting on bread.
Sipping the “ombra” is possible for example to taste salt cod, sardines in sauce, clams, sea snails, just boiled octopus and nerves (gristle of veal boiled and served in vinegar and oil).