Last September 5th, we took the night train from Lyon to Venice. We stayed in La Serenissima for 5 days, five unforgettable days of baroque beauty and splashing delights. Our tactique was to go on a pre-wedding honeymoon so as to unwind and let go before the big day. Yes, we thought it could help us look at our best on our wedding photos! And it did help. Here is why...
Sunday, September 6th: 9.30 a.m. Arrival at Santa Lucia, Venice. OhhHH! But who is that at the end of the platform? Isn't it Stuart A. Staples from The Tindertsicks? YES, it's him!!!In Venice for the Mostra and Claire Denis's film (White Material), we shook hands with him and Marco posed next to him in the sun. What a plunge! Our pre-wedding honeymoon starts under very good auspices.
Sunday, 10.30am : Private view from the terrace of our hotel on the local canal. Hotel dalla Mora, Santa Croce ; far from the madding crowd, and yet, very central. A wonderful place to stay that was recommended to us by an Italian friend of ours. Don't waste the tip - pass it on!
Sunday 11 am: Ciao Piazza San Marco! Bello Marco @ The Caffè Florian. A classic!
Two espressos + two croissants = 30 euros (the biggest part of the bill is the band playing live on the piazza for you, they charge 6 euros per person!). An expensive treat...but a real treat so, no regrets.
Palazzo Ducale. Think Pink! Well, let's say we were in the right mood, the honeymoon type of mood- how can you go pinker than that??
Sunday afternoon: Passegiata in the Gardens of Palazzo Querini-Stampalia , designed by Carlo Scarpa. This fountain piece reminded me of the snail shape of the city itself...
Monday, September 7th : On the Canal Grande, aboard the vaporetto that was taking us to the Biennale of Contemporary Art at l'Arsenale. Palazzo Ducale partly covered and disfigured by gigantic billboards promoting Chopard or Guess-Marciano...Signs of the times. I heard the Bridge of Sighs silently crying out behind the cover of this ugly curtain of compulsive consumption. Jarring sobs...
Installation at the Biennale.
Marco experimenting the box of colours - a stunning installation.
Playing hide-and-seek, like a chameleon!
Ok, time to leave the box of colours. We tried them all...
After the Arsenale and the Lido beach, where we took a nice swim into the Adriatic, we went back to central Venice.
Monday evening: Mostra film festival. Before the open-air screening of Claire Denis's White Material on Campo San Polo, we stop by our favourite cornucopia-land of pastries - La Premiata Pasticceria Rizzardini. A must, if you go to Venice! We literally succumbed for the Mandorle (sort of almond tart) and the Moro (chocolate, almonds and orange zest).
Tuesday, Sept 8th : Shopping in the districts of San Zulian, Chiesa della Fava and San Moisé - above, the shop window of Ermenegildo Zegna. For ladies, I recommend a beautiful but super tiny place: Ninfea, a jewellery shop (5228 Calle Lunga, Santa Maria Formosa), an incredible bric-à-brac, where, among other treasures, you can find stunning brooches, necklaces, earrings and bracelets made of 1930s bakelite.
For our second visit to the fabulous Osteria- Enoiteca, Alla Mascareta (Castello, 5183 Calle Lunga, Santa Maria Formosa), we got totally out of control, you know the pre-wedding excitement thing.... After 3 or 4 hours of excessively good food and wine, Mauro Lorenzon, the exuberant owner, shows how touched he is by placing his hand on his heart to say goodbye. I am totally PAF! (in a nutshell: quite drunk!). Hum, so much so that when we left the Enoiteca, it took us an hour or so to find our way back to the hotel...
The map became all blurry, the Twilight Zone was happening...the calles were dancing in front of my eyes. Where are we?? Pffew!
Wednesday, Sept. 9th: Ca' Rezzonico (here above, covered by a beautiful screen during the renovation works on the facade)+ the palazzo Venier dei Leoni, or the Peggy Guggenheim foundation; for my third visit to the place...I was a bit disappointed, but well- it remains an incredible collection of modern art!
Cannaregio: one of our best memories, Trattoria Alla Palazzina; GREAT food, impeccable service and great view on the canal! If you go visit this typical district of Cannaregio (my favourite), try also the Osteria Ai 40 Ladroni and the Osteria Anice Stellato, both on Fondamenta della Sensa.
The amazing Paolo Olbi book-binder shop: hand-made articles, covered with marbled paper. We found our wedding photo album in this shop; one of the blue and white photo albums that you can see in the window display. A lot of joy!
Thursday, Sept. 10th: Last day in Venice, we travelled from one bank to the next using the traghetto (0,50 euros) - an experience brief in time but lasting in memory. Loved it!
And off we went for our next stop! After 5 days revelling in Venetian arty lifestyle, and bacchanals, there we were. All relaxed, fresh, and softened by the chiaroscuro quality of natural daylight in Venice. Our pre-wedding honeymoon had done marvels! The strategy had worked very well so far. We were all set to embark on the ferry boat to attend Mirela & Tom's wedding in Rovinj, Croatia. A week prior to our wedding, we were looking forward to sharing nuptial wishes...without having to commit yet.