My time in Venice has come to an end, and it’s a bit of a shock to find myself back in Ottawa in the cold and icy winter! The first week of classes at Carleton has come and gone, and I have been reminiscing about Venice as I chip away at the layers of ice on my car. It really was such an amazing experience, and if you have the opportunity to spend a term in Venice (which you do! The program is running again next year for Carleton students!), do it! Not only did we spend almost three months in Venice, but we each took the opportunity while we were there to travel a bit as well, and I was lucky enough to get to go to Croatia, France, and Holland, in addition to Italy.
I thought I would write a final, wrap-up post on Venice with some final thoughts and favourite things. Most have already been discussed in previous blog posts by myself and the others, so I’ll try not to go into great detail, but here are a few of my favourite things (in no particular order):
1) Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore: San Giorgio Maggiore is a small island almost directly across from Piazza San Marco. You might have heard of it because of Palladio’s Church of San Giorgio Maggiore. The church is free to enter, and is very serene and beautiful inside.
Attached to the church is a campanile that you can climb (actually, it has an elevator which does the work for you), where you will find breathtaking views of Venice from the top. Make sure to check out the lovely products made by local monks (creams, candies, liqueurs, etc.) that are for sale at the bottom of the campanile!
The island is also where the Giorgio Cini Foundation of the arts is located (www.cini.it), and there is an absolutely beautiful library that is open for anyone to use, an open air theatre, and a garden with a maze, all available to visit during opening hours. During my time in Venice, there was also a temporary pavilion called the Glass Tea House Mondrian, which was part of the Biennale. It was a small space enclosed by bamboo, with a glass teahouse in the middle of a tiled, geometric pool. It’s hard to describe, but it was incredibly peaceful and calming. You can find more information here: www.cini.it/en/events/glass-tea-house-mondrian-by-hiroshi-sugimoto-2
2) Speaking of the Biennale (www.labiennale.org)… this is one of my favourite things about Venice. The Biennale has been covered extensively in previous blog posts, so all I will say about it is the Giardini location is an amazing escape from the tourists and the crowds in Venice, and I highly recommend making a day of it. If you find yourself there, have lunch at the Serra dei Giardini (www.serradeigiardini.org). Located right outside the Giardini location of the Biennale, it’s a small greenhouse that is sometimes used for art exhibitions and/or events, but is also a café and a garden.
3) The great thing about living in Venice is getting to know your neighbourhood and finding those little places that you end up frequenting. One such place was the little bakery by our house, Dal Nono Colussi (www.facebook.com/dalnonocolussi). I pressed my nose up to the window of this place on many occasions.
Other places close to home where we liked to go were Oke (www.okevenezia.com) for pizza and view of Canale di Giudecca, Pane Vino (www.panevinoesandaniele.net) and Antica Locanda Montin (www.locandamontin.com) for meals on special occasions, and Ca’ Fujiyama (bedandbreakfast-fujiyama.it) for their tea and quiet courtyard. We also liked going to our local florist, who helped us pick out small plants to make our apartment feel more like a home and flowers for special occasions.
4) Laura already talked about our visit to Isola di San Michele, Venice’s cemetery island, so I won’t say too much about it. Only that I wish I had visited San Michele earlier, because I would’ve returned many times throughout my time in Venice. It is hard to describe how beautiful it is, and the photos don’t do it justice.
5) When you think about Venice and what it has to offer in terms of art, you may think about the Biennale, but more often than not, the names of Titian, Bellini, Tintoretto, and Veronese probably come to mind. Museums like the Gallerie dell’Accademia (www.gallerieaccademia.org), churches like the Basilica dei Frari (www.basilicadeifrari.it), and meetinghouses like the Scuola Grande di San Rocco (www.scuolagrandesanrocco.it) will not disappoint, but I was pleasantly surprised by the modern and contemporary art galleries in Venice, which ended up being some of my favourite places to visit. I have discussed some of them in previous blog posts, but the sister contemporary galleries Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana (www.palazzograssi.it), as well as the Peggy Guggenheim Collection (www.guggenheim-venice.it) are must sees if you’re in Venice. If you’re interested, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection also has an amazing internship program for students.
There are other, less tangible, things that are among my favourite things about Venice, like the consistent church bells that tell you the time of day and the sound of the water outside my bedroom window. There is so much more that I can think of to mention, but I’ll stop here. If you’re interested in studying Art History and Italian in Venice (and you really should be!), attend the information session and contact the department for more information.