It does not matter how many times you can visit Venice, even for a day trip or a few days of escape.. Venice is always unique! I realized that once again during my weekend break in late October, being luckily guided around by a local friend.
Each passing day or even at every hour it reveals different colors, sounds and scenes. You can feel that just by walking through the city, with its streets, crowded of tourists, teeming markets , the Campi where the children play, or else sitting on the stone step of a church or sipping on a glass of wine (an ombra, that means "shade" in italian) in a bar.
Why is it called that way? Back in the old days, the legend says, wine merchants at Piazza San Marco would move their stalls throughout the day to stay out of the sun, in the shadow of the bell tower. The shadow moved – the merchant moved too. Besides, who would drink warm or spoiled wine!
And so instead of “go and grab a glass of wine” people started saying “go and grab some shade”. And everybody knew what it meant.
Also, not to mention, floating along the grand canal on the vaporetto, which is like diving into a strange and marvelous world... I love it! And, lucky girl... this one was during the “acqua alta”.. yes, the famous hi-tide which always drives locals crazy ... but for me, almost ready to go back home on Sunday, it was a secret dream coming true!
(ps: simply ‘cause I did pack my wellington)
In this period of the year, Venice is slightly less crowded so it’s just easy to walk wherever your feet take you… You’ll be amazed by the gems you’ll find, the artisans workshops, the small docks and the rich history that lives in every stone and brick that form the city.
Book lovers? Well, not to be missed it’s Libreria Acqua Alta, yes means hi-water. One of the most original libraries in the world, a fascinating and mysterious place with a huge selection of new and used books set out in undoubtedly special shelving: boats, gondolas, canoes, bath-tubs which will, eventually, float upon the arrival of the high tide. Old encyclopaedias became amazing staircase to look up on the side canal.
I found amazing postcards and wall-calendars as gifts for next friends’s birthdays.
The next mission is to buy multiple colors of the legendary velvet slippers known as friulane, they go well with any kind of outfit and are very chic as home slippers too!
There are authentic little Ateliers like the one owned by a talented venetian lady Style Shoes with one-of-kind handmade bags, coloured pony skin and damask flats.
Venice offers shoppers much more than top-quality brands: exquisite glass wear, jewellery, shoes, lingerie, perfumes... everything a discerning traveller wishes to experience is available at the luxury department store Fondaco dei Tedeschi one of the most famous buildings in Venice located at the foot of the Rialto Bridge on the Grand Canal.
This former post office is now a space that brilliantly balances the old with the new, like exposing the old brick walls in certain areas, maintaining the original archways and untouched corner rooms, and incorporating classic terrazzo floors with 360° view onto the city. Beside the international Brands, the interesting part is the ground floor, a place of discovery for those in desperate search of the real Venetian treasures after weeding through the fakes in the city’s bustling souvenir stores.
There are handmade Murano glass vases in pop colors, embellished Venetian masks in glass display cases, and the ubiquitous gondolier hats and striped shirts, but here they were made of the finest materials, Italian goodies like gourmet pastas, jams, truffles, cheeses, and meats.
Dolce&Gabbana wins the best shop display-prize: a refined and sarcastic theatrical representation of all kitch gadgets that bring us back to childhood memories... when having a plastic gondola as key holder was really cool!
Have you ever realized that the Grand Canal forms the letter S? A cosmic sign that in Taoism symbolizes the fusion between Yin and Yang. It represents balance, energy and the joy of living, all of which are abundant in Venice.
Miss you already my bandoulière!