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pixie
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« on: August 13, 2010, 10:10:55 AM »

I seem to be quite overcome with wanderlust these days so next week I will be visiting that most romantic of cities, Venice. Yes folks, the one in Italy with water in the streets and the singing gondoliers.

I appreciate this is probably the worst time of the year to go, it will likely be too hot and even more overrun with tourists than usual but once I decide I want to go somewhere there is no putting me off and sooner is always better than later.   

Myself and my companion will be staying at this delightful looking hotel right on the Grand Canal http://www.palazzobarbarigo.com

I'm especially looking forward to the complimentary water taxi motorboat transfer from the airport which brings you in fine James Bond style right to the front door. This time next week I intend to be sipping on a Bellini at the bar.

It's my first time there. Have any of you fine people already visited ? Do you have any recommendations or tips ?

 
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NoGNoG
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« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2010, 12:15:12 PM »

How exciting and romantic  /heart !!

I would not be much help,  I have not been there in over 10 years.  I spent time in the islands walking through glass factories.  :)

I also was hooked up with a cooking class.  Yes, included was walking tours to market (to shop for the day menu) which in turn put me in local neighborhoods and conversing with the locals and drinking local wines.  /clap2  I had the time of my life, but this kind of tourism is not for everyone.

I am going to share a website that is one of my favorites for heads up information:  

  http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/Italy/Veneto/Venice-140867/Off_the_Beaten_Path-Venice-TG-C-1.html

The other time I was there (in another life) was "Carnevale"    /party
« Last Edit: August 13, 2010, 12:17:35 PM by NoGNoG » Logged
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John Oh
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« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2010, 03:30:56 PM »

Venice is one of those places that I have always wanted to visit, but never made it to.

I have a client (of my IT business) who spends ten days there every year in April, so I get to hear all about it.

John.
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xxx
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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2010, 06:18:16 PM »

Looks fabulous, Pixie, I have no doubt you and your companion will have a wonderful weekend there.  I'm always a tad envious of CdM'ers based in Europe, who can nip across to Paris / Rome / Venice for the weekend at the drop of the hat.  Australia is beautiful, but the distance limitations are trying at times.  Unfortunately Venice remains on my list of 'must visit' places, so I'll leave it to the others here to provide some recommendations.  Perhaps Kevin, or Martin can contribute to this thread??

Would love to hear about your Venice adventure when you're back home.  Any account of your gastronomic exploits would be particularly well-received  ;D

Christina  :)
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John Oh
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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2010, 06:30:55 PM »

Quote
I'm always a tad envious of CdM'ers based in Europe, who can nip across to Paris / Rome / Venice for the weekend at the drop of the hat.  Australia is beautiful, but the distance limitations are trying at times.

I will second that.

John.
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NoGNoG
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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2010, 07:26:00 PM »

Looks fabulous, Pixie, I have no doubt you and your companion will have a wonderful weekend there.  I'm always a tad envious of CdM'ers based in Europe, who can nip across to Paris / Rome / Venice for the weekend at the drop of the hat.  Australia is beautiful, but the distance limitations are trying at times.  Unfortunately Venice remains on my list of 'must visit' places, so I'll leave it to the others here to provide some recommendations.  Perhaps Kevin, or Martin can contribute to this thread??

Would love to hear about your Venice adventure when you're back home.  Any account of your gastronomic exploits would be particularly well-received  ;D

Christina  :)

I'll 3rd the envy vote on our Europe CdM'ers and admit I also feel the same of the NZ/OZ CdM'ers.  I am saving for the trip down under.  With the economy here in the U.S. though, who knows when that will be.
 /pray the Great Barrier Reef will still be alive.

~NoG
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John Oh
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« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2010, 08:12:51 PM »

Quote
I am saving for the trip down under.  With the economy here in the U.S. though, who knows when that will be.
 /pray the Great Barrier Reef will still be alive.

Here's praying for the US economy and the Great Barrier Reef.  Not least if it means that you will grace our shores NoGNoG!

John.
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lucifer
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« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2010, 01:16:27 AM »

Venice is one place I did mange to visit. Actually it's not so muci the tourists (they are to be expected) but all the souvenir stands that spoil the details of the city scape.

Orient Express to Vienna!

Well, Euro train for me actually. But I saw it!
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MC Germany
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« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2010, 07:50:48 AM »

Ok, ok Venice recommendations for pixie and all the other romantic water city lovers here on CdM by your specialist of exceptional travel escapes in Europe - me, the strange German in here - Martin  /rolleye2

In general every day in Venice can be a magical exploration of all of her six districts. There are more than 400 bridges connecting 117 bodies of land and 150 canals (some call that streets with water in it  /TF ), with hidden corners and dedicated artisans in every nook and cranny. Whether you're interested in paintings, sculpture, the famous paper-mch masks, hand-printed or hand-woven silk and velvet fabrics, the designs of a steel foundry, jewelry, bags, mosaics, or our world-famous Murano glass, Venice delivers. It is a city made legendary by her own maritime history and opulence, and immortalized in poems, plays, and music by the works of William Shakespeare, Thomas Mann, Ezra Pound, Igor Stravinsky and many more. This is a place of time-honored traditions that pay tribute, glory and respect to this rare and ever-evolving microcosm of life. Here are a few Venetian favorites for the next time in case one of you will be there at the dates:

Aug. 29 - Sept. 8, 2010
65th International Venice Film Festival ...an exciting, celebrity-filled event held every year to introduce new talent, recognize the brilliance of film production, and provide a significant stage to launch leading international productions. Director, Marco Muller from La Biennale.

47th Campiello Literary Prize
Fenice Theater, 4 September. Gala evening and award ceremony of the literary prize for contemporary fiction writing. Yes, a little bit late to organize it for you this year but maybe you want to catch it next year. The Gala evening always is a hip glamour night. Most interesting for reading people, yep.

September 5
Regata Storica is a local boat racing event dating back to the middle ages proceeded by a procession of historic Venetian boats lavishly decorated as a representation of the city's former maritime dominance. Traditionally, the most-awaited race is that of the gondoliers...all vying for the illustrious #1 finish.

November 21
The Festa della Salute evokes strong religious feelings among the city's inhabitants. The holiday commemorates another bout of the plague, which lasted for two years from 1630-31. The Doge at the time requested mercy from the Virgin Mary and built the Salute as a thankful gesture for her divine intervention and the city's salvation.

What I recommend to visit  /rolleye2

To catch a glimpse of what life was like behind the facades on the Grand Canal, visit Ca' Rezzonico, a former palace now housing the Museum of 18th - Century Venice. It is filled with baroque paintings, stucchi, tapestries, Venetian chandeliers and ceilings covered with allegorical paintings. The Rezzonico family were non-Venetians who bought the unfinished palace, and reached their zenith when their second son became Pope Clement XIII. John Singer Sargent once had a studio there, and Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton danced in the ballroom (www.museiciviciveneziani.it).

Peggy Guggenheim Museum
An eclectic mix of 20th-century paintings, from Picasso to Dal, are hung on white walls...exactly as the indomitable Peggy wanted them. Peggy bought the property, made it her home and opened an art gallery there. She's buried in the garden along with her beloved dogs.

Gallerie dell'Accademia
This is the Venice's single most important art collection with masterpieces by Titian, Giorgione, Bellini, Tintoretto and Veronese.

Santa Maria dei Miracoli Church
Recently restored by the Save Venice Foundation, the church was built between 1481 and 1489 by Pietro Lombardo, and considered one of the hidden gems of Venetian Renaissance architecture. Its multi-hued marble faade is squeezed on the narrow edge of a canal and one of those recommended "off the beaten track" locales. (www.chorusvenezia.org).

Isola San Giorgio Maggiore
Early chronicles of Venice refer to this part of the city as the "Island of Cypresses" with lush fruit and wine gardens. Benedictine monks established one of their most important Italian monasteries in the 10th century on this island. The famed Baroque architect, Andrea Palladio, began his work on the astounding Basilica in 1565. In 1952, Count Vittorio, of the world-renowned Cini Culture Foundation, assumed the patronage and research management of this monastery island. In 1954, in the middle of the lovely Cypress Gardens, architect and acousticians from the Milan Scala "Opera House" created Teatro Verde, an amphitheatre on the green. Visit the incredible library, Biblioteca del Monastero Benedettini and stroll around this incredible Palladian cloister.

Marciana Library
The great architect Palladio considered this building by Sansovino to be the most beautiful in the world. Tourists flock to see it, but few know they can also go inside to view its treasures. ;) The library was built in the 16th-century to house an amassed collection of Greek and Latin works by Cardinal Bessarion of Terbizond. There are Titian-, Veronese-, Tintoretto- and Schiavon- adorned ceilings and walls, and leather-bound books with spine-stamps in gold with the names of Ptolemy, Euclide, Archimede and Pluto crammed among shelves with volumes and volumes of poetry and philosophy.

Convento of San Francesco del Deserto
This is one of the most important Franciscan convents on one of the most beautiful lagoon islands, Torcello. The grounds boast a magnificent garden with age-old trees. It's worth a stop, a lunch, and if you please, a reservation to sleep in the convent cells.


Ok ladies " Shopping time"  /cheerleader NO, not the typical stuff  /rolleye2

Caterina Tognon, Contemporary Gallery Art, San Marco 2671
A brilliant Venetian woman is running this contemporary art gallery in Campo San Maurizio (www.caterinatognon.com).

Atelier Venetia by Antonia Sautter - Frezzeria San Marco 1286
Established in 1984 through the efforts and artistic creativity of its founder Antonia Sautter, this group of shops are a meeting point of commerce and culture. View the work of artisan masters who truly take their inspiration from Venetian tradition in the form of elaborate masks, marionettes, dolls, exclusive fabrics, dazzling costumes, and precious art objects (www.ilballodeldoge.com).

Gianni Basso venetian graphic, Cannaregio 5306
An old-world printing shop that makes custom-engraved stationery. It is a place to order elegant letterpress ex libris, calling cards and stationery. He creates hand-set custom printing for writers, nobility and movie stars, namely, Hugh Grant.

Bevilacqua TEXTILE factory and shop, Campo Santa Maria del Giglio 2520
This is the oldest and most famous tapestry and silk velvet house in Venice. Arrange a visit with Mario Bevilacqua to see the original 17th-century treadle looms still in use making the most exclusive, elaborate fabrics. For an appointment, contact the show room in Campo Santa Maria del Giglio.

Massimo Micheluzzi, Dorsoduro 1071
Massimo Micheluzzi's surprising works recall the best of this century's, now classical, Venetian glass, but are defined with a new twist entirely contemporary and entirely personal. Micheluzzi, refreshingly austere and hauntingly romantic, has managed to distill new nectar from the traditional Venetian visual vocabulary. Stressing the monochromatic, Micheluzzi's vessels take on a sculptural quality that extracts the essence of Venetian light playing on water, old stones, and salt-veined brick.

For sing and song lovers coming here I recommend the Fenice Opera House. It is one of Venice's historical landmarks, the La Fenice theatre, was built by a company of upper-tier block holders and ex-proprietors of the San Benedetto Theatre. Right from the start, it became the official theatre of the Venetian aristocracy, also reflected in the elegant architectonic perfection of its decorative appearance. Very pretty glamour indeed.  /thumbsup Inaugurated in 1792 with the musical drama "I Guochi d'Agrigento" by the famous Giovanni Paisiello; the libretto by Alessandro Pepoli; and the ballet "Amore e Psiche" by Onorato Vigan set to music by Giulio Vigan, the new theatre immediately took on a prominent role in the lagoon city, offering performances of the most prestigious music of the time and become a leading house of serious opera. With an impressive calendar of operas, ballets and pieces, an evening at the Fenice Opera House is certainly an unforgettable experience. For more information please visit www.teatrolafenice.it

To travel to the city via the Orient Express is a pretty idea. Usually I do not recommend it for the following reasons. The ride (from Paris for example) is to short in my train travel experience and to touristy. And Europe itself is offering much more interesting train travel experiences. The most arrangements are hooked up to book a Orient Express hotel. For Venice it usually is the Capriani I think. Not sure right now, I do not work with Orient Express. The hotel is good but the city has more spectacular and exceptional locations to offer.

My favorite time to visit is Carneval and the month before and after. Right, no hot summer days but the atmosphere is much more interesting with less tourists.

Martin  /rolleye2
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pixie
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« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2010, 01:52:43 PM »

Thanks for all the recommendations folks. I was only there for a weekend so there was a limit to what I could fit in but my goodness what a truly unforgettable place. I had a wonderful time. Venice was as magical, glamourous, enchanting and romantic as I had imagined.

The hotel http://www.palazzobarbarigo.com , a converted palazzo builit in 1569, was possibly the most decadent looking, sexiest place I have ever stayed. The room was decorated in dark, rich colours with a four poster bed and bedside lamps trimmed with feathers. To top it all next to the window overlooking the Grand Canal there was a large velvet chaise longue positioned opposite a huge mirror.

There was a true attention to detail in the decor as myself and my companion found out when we stepped into the tiny lift to find it fully padded from floor to ceiling in purple velvet. I wasn't really surprised when he said  'Where's the emergency stop button ?'  ;)

I can recommend the private motor boats, called motoscafi, as the ultimate glamourous way to get around. If you want to feel like James Bond and Vesper Lind it's the only way to travel.

I can only say that if you get the chance to visit Venice you really must go and if you can take along a delightful companion then all the better. 
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Julien
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« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2010, 10:57:55 AM »

Hi Pixie,

Next time you should visit the "Venice of the North" ;)

Julien
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