Get­away

This May, the Ar­chi­tec­ture Bi­en­nale takes over the city. To help you make the most of your visit, we re­veal the hid­den cul­tural gems and ro­man­tic canal­side haunts

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Contents -

Jet off to mag­i­cal Venice – where the Ar­chi­tec­ture Bi­en­nale be­gins this month – to ex­plore its an­cient build­ings, ro­man­tic water­ways, mouth­wa­ter­ing lo­cal del­i­ca­cies and, of course, the world-renowned glass­ware from the nearby is­land of Mu­rano

THE CITY

Venice’s Gothic palaz­zos, Byzan­tine basil­i­cas and ro­man­tic bridges make it a mag­i­cal place to visit all year round, but from May, its duomo-dot­ted sky­line will be in­ter­rupted by more than 71 in­stal­la­tions by big-name ar­chi­tects from around the globe. The Ar­chi­tec­ture Bi­en­nale (26 May–25 Novem­ber) is held on al­ter­nate years from its sib­ling, the Venice Bi­en­nale in­ter­na­tional art ex­hi­bi­tion, which be­gan in 1895, and crowds de­scend en masse to wit­ness the clash of an­cient and edgy. Avoid the tourist crowds and fol­low our guide to the best of the city’s hid­den gems.

WHERE TO STAY

To ex­pe­ri­ence Venice like a lo­cal, check into an apart­ment rather than a ho­tel. Casa Flora (over­leaf), a three-bed­room home-from-home in a Re­nais­sance Re­vival palazzo has ev­ery­thing, from Rubelli fab­ric-up­hol­stered chairs to Mu­rano glasses – all crafted in Italy and avail­able to buy. A chef and pas­try ex­pert from Estro, a lo­cal brasserie, ar­rive each morn­ing to make break­fast, which can be eaten in the tiny walled gar­den (from £525 for a min­i­mum three-night stay; casaflo­ravenezia.com). Al­ter­na­tively, try Casa L’ar­se­nale, a villa with spec­tac­u­lar views that sleeps up to 16 (from £8,741 for a four-night stay; ital­ianstylevil­las.com). ➤

BREAK­FAST AND LUNCH

Hop aboard a va­poretto (wa­ter bus) to Giar­dini for mini brioche at co­op­er­a­tive café Serra dei Giar­dini, sit­u­ated in a 19th-cen­tury green­house (ser­radeigia­r­dini.org). Es­presso sipped, head to the for­mer home of leg­endary 20th-cen­tury art col­lec­tor Peggy Guggen­heim, which is now a mu­seum. Af­ter in­spect­ing the Gi­a­comet­tis, Pi­cas­sos and Kandin­skys, stop for a bowl of risotto in the café, or dine out­side in the lush, sculp­ture-scat­tered gar­den ( guggen­heim-venice.it). On a Sat­ur­day af­ter­noon, a visit to Al Muro on the docks, where an open-air cucina is set up right on the wa­ter­side, is es­sen­tial. You can pick up a plate of pip­ing hot fritti misti (as­sorted fried savoury del­i­ca­cies) and a glass of wine for about €10 (murovenezia.com).

WINE AND DINE

For a fix of old-world Vene­tian glam­our, where im­mac­u­late Ital­ian pen­sion­ers catch up along­side Hol­ly­wood stars, it has to be a cock­tail at Harry’s Bar, birth­place of the bellini (cipri­ani.com). Af­ter­wards, wan­der away from the bus­tle of the Grand Canal down lesser-trod­den paths to Os­te­ria Banco­giro, a tav­ern in a for­mer ware­house where you can dine on porcini mush­room and pis­ta­chio lin­guine (os­te­ri­a­banco­giro.it). Also try the scal­lop carpac­cio at Trat­to­ria An­tiche Caram­pane (an­tichecaram­pane.com) and the thyme-roasted pi­geon with cavolo nero at the white­washed L’an­ice Stel­lato (os­te­ri­an­ices­tel­lato.com). Al­ter­na­tively, if you wish to make the most of your pri­vate villa’s state-of-the-art kitchen, pick up a net of just-caught clams and some fresh pasta from the spec­tac­u­lar Rialto Mer­cato be­fore head­ing back to make a sim­ple but sen­sa­tional spaghetti alle von­gole.

CUL­TURE

Tru­man Capote once said, ‘ Venice is like eat­ing an en­tire box of choco­late liqueurs in one go.’ Once you’ve savoured the ar­chi­tec­tural and artis­tic treats around ev­ery cor­ner – from crenelated 15th-cen­tury palaz­zos and gi­gan­tic (up to 22-me­tre wide) paint­ings by Re­nais­sance mas­ters Ti­tian and Tin­toretto to the rain­bow-coloured houses of Bu­rano is­land – it’s time to dis­cover new tal­ent, with a visit to the best of the 2018 Ar­chi­tec­ture Bi­en­nale. Our high­light? A frag­ment of east Lon­don’s Robin Hood Gar­dens (the 1972 hous­ing es­tate and much-loved ex­am­ple of new Bru­tal­ism that has just been de­mol­ished to make way for a £300 mil­lion rede­vel­op­ment scheme), which the V&A is trans­port­ing to Ar­se­nale, Venice’s for­mer ship­yard. Other Brits bring­ing in­stal­la­tions in­clude Turner-prize-win­ning de­sign col­lec­tive Assem­ble, south Lon­don prac­tice 6a Ar­chi­tects and Ali­son Brooks Ar­chi­tects (€25 for a day’s ac­cess to all the ex­hi­bi­tions; la­bi­en­nale.org).

SHOP­PING

Fon­daco dei Tedeschi was orig­i­nally built in the 13th cen­tury as the trad­ing ex­change for Ger­man mer­chants, but has been beau­ti­fully con­verted by Dutch su­per-ar­chi­tect Rem Kool­haas’ OMA stu­dio into Venice’s first lux­ury de­part­ment store, where you’ll find ev­ery­thing from Gucci flares to Puglian amaretti bis­cuits (dfs.com). On the ar­ti­sanal front, pick up a bar of fra­grant or­ange blos­som soap in the Or­ti­gia Si­cilia store (or­ti­gia­si­cilia.com) and a jewel-like glass gob­let, or, in­deed, a chan­de­lier at Sig­noretti, a glass-mak­ing work­shop on Mu­rano is­land – the per­fect place to see the re­gion’s mas­ter crafts­peo­ple at work (sig­noretti.it).

ES­CAPE THE Ci­ty­tucked

into the Eu­ganean Hills, 45 min­utes west of Venice, is La Mu­gletta bed and break­fast, a con­tem­po­rary four-bed­room, larch-clad eco cabin de­signed by ar­chi­tec­ture stu­dio In­te­grate Col­lec­tive. The in-house spa is heated geother­mally, pot­tery classes and shi­atsu treat­ments can be or­gan­ised, and in­gre­di­ents for sup­per come from the re­splen­dent herb and veg­etable gar­den (from £131 per night; lamu­gletta.com).

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