Waking up in Venice, there were unusual noises outside my bedroom window. My choice of the wide range of Venice hotels backed on to one of the smaller canals, and the noise I could hear was of two gondoliers, each piloting his boat in a different direction, arguing over who had the right of way.
(photo by: eGuide Travel)
It was the start of my best ever day in this astonishing place. To say it’s just a city awash with water is just the start. There’s beauty around every corner, masterpieces in every church, gondoliers arguing outside your window.
My first stop, by vaporetto, the Venetian waterbus service, was the fruit and vegetable market at the Rialto. Think you’ve been to a market? You haven’t, until you’ve experienced the sights, smells and colours of a Venetian market early in the morning.
After a magnificent espresso at one of the market stalls, I headed out to the main destinations of my day. The Venice Art Biennale was on, the world’s largest exhibition of contemporary art. I started out by popping in to a couple of random churches, home to exhibitions of countries which didn’t have pavilions on the main exhibition sites.
You don’t need to know anything about art to be floored by the collision of new artistic visions with the antiquity of these old churches.
Then on to one of the main Biennale sites, at the Arsenale, once shipyards and armouries. There, from room to room, warehouse to warehouse, my eyes, brain and ears had a feast at some of the oddest and extraordinary work that I’ve ever seen.
After a quick change from jeans to bowtie at my hotel, it was on to an evening of arias at La Fenice, the famous opera house now renovated after a devastating fire.
That’s my amazing day in Venice, ending with a chilled glass of prosecco at the bar at La Fenice. I wonder what yours will be? High culture, high art or just a day hanging out in this astonishing, dream-like place?