Venice Highlights

We stayed at the Villa Igea  sister hotel to the hotel savoie and jolanda and they are both are just round the corner from the Piazza San Marco, great location however at the Igea there’s no view and you have to walk 50m for breakfast so it drops drops a star and 30 euros a night from the savoie but at only 90 euros exceptional value for money including a hearty  international breakfast.

Very friendly staff and very clean throughout and surrounded by bars and trattatoria that are just far enough away from PSM to be affordable and yet close enough to have English speaking waiters.

that said nowhere in Venice is far is far from anywhere as the crow flies or eel swims but it’s a  very different matter as the unguided tourist walks. the main island is quite small and the population of the city is only 60000 or so, so the tourists pretty much outnumber locals for all the year, in peak season it’s 4:1 !

our collection is here

I love Italian food, my wife and I travel a fair bit to Italy although it has to be said we have favoured the south, where flavours are fuller with more Moorish influences and heat from chili but more of the culinary delights later.

Venice is  a bit surreal, there aren’t actually as many canals as you would think, you just cross the ones that are there many many many times, I’d not really considered it before but they’re not actually canals as in the cut my granddad used to talk about they’re inlets of the sea and they follow the tides and have limpets and barnacles and stuff.

The Grand canal is pretty impressive and anything but anything goes by boat, deliveries, ambulances (we saw the obligatory town drunk being decanted from his ambulanza boat into the hospital) and  even hearses which was the most unexpected, it’s the quickest way to get around.

the real highlights were :

  • the accademia : in January we strolled in but apparently there’s a limit to the number of visitors at any one time but fill your boots full of Bellini, Tintoretto and titian if you love icons, there’s plenty to choose from and you can while away an hour or two in here.  
  • the scuola Grande di San Rocco:  quite amazing I’m not going to say anything about this as it’ll spoil the surprise but apparently Tintoretto did the whole job for expenses – downstairs there’s a handful of canvases  but upstairs is remarkable – the crucifixion in the ante chamber is a great place to start when you’ve got your breath back. Ruskin described this as one of the three most precious buildings in Italy – he was probably right.
  • the  chiesa San Giovanni e  Paolo  truly cavernous church  where doges aplenty are buried
  • not there for long but there’s an Albrecht Durer exhibition at the Museo Diocesano – the etchings are amazing, the main collection is an accumulation of bits of old churches, crucifixes and  art and altar pieces rescued from many disused and derilict churches it has some interesting reliquaries as well if you like scattered bits of saints.
  • the basilica ….. gold  gold and more gold mosaic – good but not as impressive as the walk
  • the Friari ( well Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Friari), titians monument a truly stunning reliquary and an altarpiece by bellini, the monuments are well… monumental worth the
  • the Peggy Guggenhein Collection, a fantastic collection of modern art pieces right on the grand canal, there’s a great Klee painting in here as well, great architecture and decent carpaccio :)
  • the Ca d’oro – a highlight because we navigated there without a hitch ( cheating as it’s right on a waterbus stop ) and the painting of san sabastian (the one who dislikes arows) was away for cleaning.

overall Venice is amazing, tortuously twisting streets- NO CARS and the quietest italian city I’ve visited.  


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