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/ October 11, 2016 / No comments

5 things I love about Venice

Today, we let our minds travel all the way to fantastic Venice! Cats Love Athens' beloved friend Caterina guides us through this magical city by presenting her 5 most favourite places. Enjoy!

“The Floating City” or “the Bride of the Sea” are among the several nicknames that this unique island of the Adriatic Sea has been given through the ages. Either regarded as a vastly touristic spot, a destination of art lovers or a historical commercial town of the Roman Empire, Venice is a city like no other in the world since its lack of actual roads and land transport is replaced by the constant fluidity of archipelago which adds a unique sense of movement and serenity to the city’s daily life. No wonder why William Wordsworth called Venice “the Eldest Child of Liberty”, and Hugo Pratt’s fictional hero, Corto Maltese, is supposed to have had his own house in Cannaregio district in Venice for some period of time. 

The Garden of Santa Elena
Santa Elena is a tiny island on the eastern side of Venice, connected to the city with a bridge. Tranquil, and next to Giardini (the big garden of Venice), where the Biennale of Architecture takes place, the island is a beautiful residential area with a “floating” park whose view is the archipelago itself. 

1.      Lido di Venezia
Lido is the island where the Venice Film Festival takes place every year, and if you’re lucky enough or plan to be there in September, you can have the exciting experience of seeing some of your favorite actresses and actors on the red carpet. Apart from its festival side though, Lido is a seasonal paradise with little canals, a sandy beach full of seagulls and green roads which can lead you to Malamocco, a small, sunny, Mediterranean-like village where the only things you can hear is the rare sound of sailing boats and the bell-ringing of the local church. 

1.       Libreria Acqua Alta
Acqua Alta is a term used by people in Venice in order to describe the tide peaks and flooding of the city which periodically occurs sometimes during winter. The bookstore which took its name by the Venetian phenomenon, has been characterized as one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world, and its cozy, bohemian atmosphere brings in memory the stacked shelves of Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris. However, most of the library shelves in Acqua Alta are old gondolas, and the bookshop’s cozy reading spot is not a small piano room, but a chair next to the canal. A cat can also be found strolling around books in English, Italian and French language, making it clear that this is a place for book lovers!

      Ghetto di Venezia
I found out about the Venetian Ghetto through a film by artist Mayank Austen Soofi which was screened at the Waterlines Artist Residence’s event at Ca’ Foscari University. The Ghetto is the Jewish neighborhood of Venice which apart from its cultural difference and historical significance, has the tallest buildings in the city, known as the “skyscrapers of Venice”, a famous Jewish Museum, art galleries, and an annual conference on Hebrew Studies. Although the height of the buildings is not as impressive as it might sound, the story behind them is: due to the increasing number of Jewish people in Venice, and the fact that Jews were compelled not to live anywhere else in the city between 16th and 18th century, the habitants of the Ghetto had no other option but to build extra floors to their existing houses. Divided into two parts which are known as the Old and New Ghetto (Ghetto Vecchio and Ghetto Nuovo), the area is also worth visiting for its Holocaust Memorial.

1.      Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Venice is an art city, not only because of the Biennale, but also because it hosts a wide range of institutional initiatives that embrace many forms of artistic expression. Facing the Grand Canal in Dorsoduro district, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection differs from the majority of Renaissance palazzos and museums in Venice as it is specialized on modern and contemporary art. With a program full of children’s activities and a garden as an outdoor space for the sculpture permanent exhibition, the museum offers an excellent contemplation on 20th century art movements, as it includes works of Cubism, Abstract Expressionism, Futurism and Surrealism, with works by Kandinsky, Chagall, Brancusi and Pollock, among others. My favorite part is the recently added Hannelore B. and Rudolph B. Schulhof collection of modern and contemporary masterpieces like Anselm Kiefer’s “Thy Golden Hair Margarethe”, Jasper Johns’ “Three Flags”, and Agnes Martin’s “Rose”.  

*special thanks to Caterina 

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