What to see
Museo Palazzo Grimani
Palazzo Grimani is the only Renaissance Roman mannerist-inspired house in Venice, it is the former residence of Antonio Grimani who became a dodge in 1521 who later donated the palace to his grandsons. It remained in the hands of the Grimani family until 1865, becoming a state property in 1981 and later opening up as a museum in 2008. The palazzo is a representation of a Roman residence, in fact, it was decorated with frescos and stucco work by artists from Rome and Central Italy such as Giovanni da Udine, Francesco Salviati, Camillo Mantovano, Francesco Menzocchi and Federico Zuccari. Hence, the palazzo combines Tuscan and Roman elements. It was the first time white stucco work and mannerist frescoes were used in Venice. The Palazzo is a collection of magnificent works, each with their own meaning: you will find stuccos based on ancient cameos and gems owned by the family, sculptures including Greek and Roman works and pieces of contemporary art. WEBSITE
Scala Contarini del Bovolo
A miniature tower of Pisa hidden among the Venetian calli? No, it is a bizarre spiral staircase (bovolo in Venetian) which was added to Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo towards the end of the 15th century. It looks like a gothic loggia that wraps around itself, and turns, similar to that of a surreal drawing by Escher, from where you can see the whole city. WEBSITE
The Palazzo Pesaro degli Orfei was a magical setting for the creative genius of Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo and his wife and muse Henriette Nigrin has just reopened in Venice. Two years after the Acqua Granda, the home and studio of the artist, who at the beginning of the 20th century chose Venice for his eclectic experimentation, is being handed back as a permanent museum celebrating his memory. The fascinating museum layout re-evokes the atmosphere of one of the city’s most iconic palaces at the dawn of the 20th century. WEBSITE
Dorsoduro Museum Mile
Launched in 2015, the Dorsoduro Museum Mile connects four museums along a mile long path in the Dorsoduro district, between the Grand Canal and the Giudecca Canal. On an itinerary of eight centuries of world art history, visitors can admire masterpieces of Venetian painting from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in the Gallerie dell’Accademia and the latest contemporary production on display at the Punta della Dogana. On the way, visitors can also explore the former homes of great collectors such Vittorio Cini and Peggy Guggenheim and view their respective collections. The first benefit for visitors is the possibility of a special discount on admission to each of the museums on the mile. WEBSITE
It goes almost unnoticed in front of the magnificence of Piazza San Marco and its arcades. Yet this shop, owned by Adriano Olivetti, once served as a showroom for his typewriters and calculators, is a hidden jewel of 1950s Italian architecture and design. Ahead of decades, the Ivrea-based entrepreneur had commissioned this exhibition space, more like a modern Apple Store than a shop, from Carlo Scarpa, one of the greatest architects of the twentieth century. There were no budget limits, only time limits: the project had to be completed in one year, and inaugurated in 1957. Today the space, intact and perfectly restored, is open as a museum. In 30 minutes you can visit a masterpiece of modern architecture with all its original pieces. WEBSITE
Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute
Constructions for the Basilica began in 1631 and it was designed by the same architect of Ca Rezzonico: Baldassare Longhena. It’s one of the most majestic buildings in the city, situated along the Grand Canal. It symbolises the Venetians’ gratitude to the Virgin Mary for having freed the city from the terrible plague of 1630 and still today, on 21st November each year, Venice pays homage to the Virgin Mary by performing the rite of pilgrimage to the Church. It is one of the most beautiful works of Venetian and Italian Baroque and inside it houses important works of Tiziano and Tintoretto.
La scuola grande di san rocco
It was built as the seat of a powerful confraternity, which called Tintoretto to fresco the walls and ceilings with episodes from the Old and New Testament. To finish the cycle of frescoes, comparable to a Sistine Chapel in Venice, the painter took 24 years, from 1564 to 1588. In addition to Tintoretto, one can admire the works of Tiziano, Tiepolo, Giorgione and the engravings by Marchiori, who sculpted the twenty-four wooden doors of the Chapter Hall. WEBSITE
What to do
It is not a tourist package, but a ritual that Venetians have always practiced. At aperitif time, before lunch or dinner, you’ll find them in the wine bars (here they are called bacari) for a glass of wine (even spritz is always welcome from 10.30 am onwards) and some snacks (a local version of tapas). First stop, head to the Erbaria area at the foot of the Rialto Bridge. Other recommended addresses are the recent Bakarò, in Campo Santa Margherita (Spritz Campari from the textbook) and the ancient Cantina Do Mori (San Polo 429, Calle Do Mori), with the wooden demijohns in sight. It seems that here Casanova gave the first date to his lovers. For other addresses, visit bacaro tour Venezia (you can also download a pdf with the most authentic addresses for € 1.39).
A new multitasking space: gallery, bar, restaurant, florist, design shop, haute cuisine and Filipino chef. The sandwiches on the panoramic terrace on the top floor are also delicious.
Where to Eat
The Venetian culinary scene has suddenly become more interesting. There are three new starred restaurants: Local, Wistèria and Zanze XVI . Other Venetian stars of haute cuisine have arrived or even returned to their city, such as Riccardo Canella, René Redzepi’s souschef at Noma in Copenhagen, who has joined the team at the Hotel Cipriani with Oro Restaurant and Lorenzo Cogo who signs the kitchen of the Dama. The menu of the Hostaria Castello is interesting. Also new to try is Il Refettorio which focuses on the quality of local suppliers and on interior design. Then there are the evergreens, such as the popular Osteria Ca ‘d’Oro alla Vedova, unbeatable on meatballs, and the sumptuous Club al Doge of the Hotel Gritti: with both spaghetti with spider crab and Daniele Turco’s cream and raspberry tartlet are incredible, as are the views of the Grand Canal flowing through the windows.
Other restaurants we propose are:
Where to sleep
The St. Regis Hotel
The St. Regis hotel in Venice is tactically hidden at the end of a narrow alleyway allowing maximum peace and tranquility during your stay. It overlooks the Grand Canal offering a picturesque view of the boats and vaporetti driving down from the early hours of the morning. As you step into the hotel, you are immediately greeted with a modern, contemporary and elegant interior that creates a pleasant contrast to the historic provenance of the St. Regis. There is a theme that runs throughout the hotel and that is the combination of pastel coloured, avant-guard decor combined with works of contemporary art spread throughout both the communal areas and the rooms. In fact, inspired by the Venetian masterpieces of former guest and Impressionist painter Claude Monet, the interiors showcase a distinctive colour palette that represents how light changes throughout the day from dawn to dusk. WEBSITE
Run by the Romanelli family for over fifty years and three generations, Hotel Flora is a small, charming hideaway located near St. Mark’s Square. Located within a 17th century palazzo, its history has been reflected throughout the choice of vintage decor in the 40 uniquely decorated rooms. The building encloses a beautiful internal courtyard with cast iron furnishings and luscious vegetation, ideal for an intimate drink or a quiet afternoon reading a book. As the concept is more of a b&b, there is no restaurant, however the breakfast certainly makes up for this, A rich selection of home made cakes and pastries coupled with freshly brewed coffee whose smell oozes into your room every morning. Truly delightful. WEBSITE
Ca Di Dio
Located within a 13th century building of great historical value signed by Jacopo Sansovino, Ca’ di Dio is an evocation of an unconventional Venice combined with a highly refined design concept thought up by the talented Patricia Urquiola. 66 rooms & suites that house precious objects that highlight the refined Venetian craftsmanship from textiles to murano glass lamps. On the culinary front there are two restaurants: the Essentia Restaurant, located within the internal courtyard that follows an ‘all day dining’ concept, serving light snacks. The second, the VERO Restaurant overlooks the laguna and is a charming setting to enjoy sophisticated cuisine that draws inspiration from typical local dishes. Ca’ di Dio also features a reading hall, two private courtyards and a SPA & Wellness centre for those seeking a moment of zen from the busy city. WEBSITE