Giulia Andreani /
I was born in Venice, clinically dead. Well, in the suburbs of Venice. There was a lot of snow on that day and – rare enough to be mentioned – the lagoon was frozen. The mal del ponte (the bridge sickness) in the fog and the sunset. I have crossed that Mussolinian Ponte della libertà thousands of times. Venetian people hate it because it links the city to the campagna, the main land of the country bumpkins. For a few minutes, I would feel in a kind of limbo, an in-between, out of time. The feeling is very strange and the sight amazing. On one side Venice, that “whore with rotten teeth” as Ezra Pound used to call it; on the other, that enormous petrochemical complex. Everything fades in the colours of the lagoon. No work in the Biennale has ever managed to equate this impression, even if Olafur Eliasson's work in 2005 was quite good. Armenity, the Armenian pavilion on the Island of San Lazzaro, Melik Ohanian's project in particular.
I am also eager to discover the Italian pavilion. I've heard that the work of painter Nicola Samori will be exhibited. Italian Pavilion Curator: Vincenzo Trione. Padiglione Italia, Tese delle Vergini at Arsenale. The Gallerie dell'Accademia that contains the collection of the School of Fine Arts with its masterpieces such as The Miracle of the Slave (also known as The Miracle of St. Mark, 1548) by Tintoretto. I had the great fortune to go to classes in the historical headquarters of the school, next to the museum. After that – and that's what you get when you live in a museum city – the classrooms were moved to another location, close to Punta della Dogana, called the Incurabili: a former psychiatric hospital then a jail for juvenile delinquents. The word means “the ones that cannot be cured”… not bad for young artists! Gallerie dell'Accademia Campo della Carità, 1050 gallerieaccademia.org Scuola grande di San Rocco where one can admire a beautiful group of paintings by Tintoretto. It's something of a ritual for me to visit them every time I go back to Venice.
I really love the Spazio Vedova, a strange museum designed by Renzo Piano dedicated to this informal Venitian painter. Fondazione Vedova Dorsoduro, 42 - fondazionevedova.org
The Bottegon is the wine shop where art school students like me used to drink a lot of wine and spritz after class. They have great cicchetti (small snacks). It's located opposite the Squero where gondolas are made.
Ponte delle tette, the “bridge of the tits” was the sexy neighbourhood of the Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia. The legend says that the courtesans would unveil their charms at the windows to entice the passers-by… Ponte delle tette, Sestiere San Polo Santa Maria dei Miracoli is a very well-hidden church. Its nickname is “the jewel box”. Santa Maria dei Miracoli - Cannaregio, 6074 I love the dark side of Venice, and I must mention Zona Bandita. It's a palazzo that was turned into a kind of squat where a lot of artists used to live and work. I spent a lot of time there, painting and almost living there. There is a fresco of Ceres and Bacchus on the ceiling and a great view on the Grand Canal. In the end it was quite chic, except for the junkies that sometimes slept on the floor. Fondamenta dei Tabacchi Santa Croce
Rio San Girolamo, a canal on the banks of which one can sunbathe, one of the loveliest parts of the Cannaregio neighbourhood where I used to live.
Rio Marin which is of little interest… but where I crossed paths with my great love, a forestiero – this is how we call strangers in Venice. When I think about it my glycaemia certainly gets higher.
“One of the greatest emotions I have ever felt: on the Ponte della libertà. On one side, Venice, that ‘whore with rotten teeth’ as Ezra Pound called it; on the other, that huge petrochemical complex.”