Tuesday, July 12, 2011

a weekend in venice

We had a lovely weekend in Venice, the one travel destination that is always exactly how I expect it to be: gorgeous, glamorous, and hot.

First, the food. We ate spaghetti alla bolognese with white wine or prosecco for every other meal. We had limoncello on the house one night. I also tried the Bellini - the peach prosecco drink that is a Venetian invention. And we had gelato most days before dinner. We're rebels like that. Yum, yum and yum. 

Next, the art. We made a point of visiting Venice this year to see the 2011 Biennale. In other words, Mike very sweetly accompanied me to Venice and tried not to complain about all of the art I made him go see. The Biennale is a major contemporary art exhibition held throughout the city of Venice every two years. It includes national pavilions and exhibitions by artists from 73 countries and is one of the things to see in the art world. I have previously been to the 2007 Biennale with my mother (thanks mum!)

My favourite pavilions this year included Greece, Hungary, France (Christian Boltanski - I'm a die hard fan), South Korea, Egypt, Urs Fischer's Untitled wax sculptures in the Arsenale exhibition and Christian Marclay's Clock video in the same venue. I could have happily watched all twenty-four hours of that Clock video (and I don't even like video art.) Mike was squirming after 20 minutes, so we had to leave. But Marclay's Clock really does live up to the hype - he truly deserves the Golden Lion he won at the Biennale. More information on Clock from White Cube Gallery, Jerry Saltz's review for ArtNet, and a six minute clip of the twenty-four hour video on YouTube.

Finally, the tourist traps. We did most of the typical tourist things in Venice- we sweated it out on the vapparetto water buses, saw the Doge's Palace, St Mark's Basilica, piazza San Marco, and the Campanile di San Marco. We wandered through tiny alleys filled with shops selling carnival masks and Italian leather bags, crossed countless bridges over picturesque canals, and heard gondoliers serenading couples down the Grand Canale. We saw the island of Murano and it's myriad of glass stores. And we explored the lovely Cannaregio area where our hotel was located, which was less touristy than much of Venice but just as lively and pretty. And it was all as wonderful as you want Venice to be. Sure it's old, smelly and extremely hot and humid, but it's enchanting nonetheless. And in the end you don't even mind leaving Venice because it's only ciao for now - it's the kind of place you want to return to again and again.

the Grand Canale, just past the Rialto bridge
piazza San Marco, St Mark's Basilica, the Doge's Palace and the Campanile di San Marco
campanile di san marco

the doge's palace

the doge's palace

the doge's palace

st mark's basilica

isn't he cute?

listening to live classical music in the piazza at night

st mark's basilica by night

the biennale

the dress i won from shop mamie

hungarian pavilion

part of the american pavilion (the treadmill moved the tank's parts)

korean pavilion

canadian pavilion by artist steven shearer

french pavilion by artist christian boltanski

arsenale venue

urs fischer's untitled wax sculptures - lit by internal wicks and slowly destroyed

fischer's untitled (based on the baroque sculpture the rape of the sabine woman)

chrstian marclay's clock

the italian pavilion at the arsenale

the grande canale

eating gelato on murano

cannaregio area (yes, that's mcdonalds. i know, so wrong.)

view from our hotel room
hotel casa martini, cannaregio


- Jess


  1. Love the last three shots! Very creative!

  2. Wow! Gorgeous creative shots. I was actually just in Venice as well & am jealous of your shots.

    I am also a writer & moderator for BlogExpat and truly enjoy your blog. We recently started a
    new project where we feature expat interviews and I was hoping you would be interested. Feel free to check out the first interviews at:

    If you are interested, please let me know and I will send the
    questionnaire. In any case, keep up the great work.

    Erin Porter

  3. Ohhh - I LOVE Venice! I just visited a few months ago and I want to get back to get more into the art of the city.
    - Lana @ www.livelifelikeabestseller.blogspot.com

    1. You could spend a lifetime doing that! Thanks for dropping by our blog :)

  4. Just stumbled across your blog from blogexpat. Love your writing and photos!...I am a U.S. expat in Germany right now and would love to make a trip to Malta (I had to choose between studying abroad in Italy and Malta and went with Italy at the time). I can't wait to read more about this little island :)

    1. Thanks for visiting, Brea! Hope you enjoy following along :)


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