Thursday, 26 September 2013

Lost In Venice


"There is something so different in Venice from any other place in the world, that you leave at once all accustomed habits and everyday sights to enter an enchanted garden." 
~ Mary Shelley






These days, it is rare for me to leave a performance I am involved in feeling inspired. Last night however, I was involved in a project that left me knowing there was so much more to gain and reminding me how incredible my job really is. I was fortunate enough to perform with the Perth Chamber Orchestra as we presented Vivaldi By Candlelight, a beautiful evening inspired by 1700s Venice. Imagine sitting back in a candle lit church, entertaining the senses with magnificent food and wine, drifting back in time as you explore the exquisite sounds of Vivaldi.
(To read a review on this performance please visit the link here) 

Apart from returning home with new drive for my playing, and looking forward to the next project with this exciting new orchestra - it made me reflect back to my time in Venice... 








I have visited Venice twice now, once in 2006 on my first trip to Europe with my mum and the second in 2011.  Both times falling in love with the fairytale maze of canals and bridges. Allowing myself to be swept away by the charm of this run down city. 


Venice is a city where a map is simply not needed, the joy is through the discovery of hidden treasures found in nooks and crannies stumbled upon as you get lost in the tiny alleyways locals have walked for centuries. To find your way again all one must do is "follow the people". 


My biggest tip would be to stay on Venezia itself. The first time I visited, we stayed on the mainland, Mestre, and caught the train on and off the island. The only way I can describe this is that it is like watching a movie on the television with ads. You want to immerse yourself in the enchantment, not become detached or distracted at the end of your day. 



Be sure to give yourself the space to wander the streets in the late evening and at night - Spending time sitting in Piazza San Marco at midnight, for example, watching the bands dotted in restaurants around the square compete for the remaining audiences attention is quite an experience. 



Don't get me wrong, people watching in Piazza San Marco is a must anytime of day, but the hoards of tourists does become overwhelming at times. But as people can come and go from the island easily, most people are only there for the day. Tour groups and cruise liners just visit for short day trips meaning that after dinner the city is given space to breath.


If you have the chance, after an early morning stop under the breathtaking gold mosaic celling of Saint Mark's Basilica (be sure to visit St Mark's either early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the peak of the day. Make sure to have your shoulders and knees covered out of respect, otherwise you wont be allowed inside) wander next door to the Doge's Palace. 



Constructed in the 14th century the palace is a perfect example of venetian gothic style architecture containing beautifully restored rooms. I have seen a number of palaces across Europe, and found the Doge's Palace to be particularly unique and memorable.


Grab an audio guide to take you on a fascinating tour of the palace as you explore the history of each room. You will also be given the opportunity to walk the Bridge of Sighs, a corridor built in 1614 to connect the palace to its prison.

Whilst buildings are being restored the scaffolding is covered in large ads like the one seen above whilst The Bridge Of Sighs is being cleaned. 
Depending on how long a stay you have, I recommend taking a day to explore the outer islands of the Venetian Lagoon with an all day pass for the vaporetto (Venice's ferry service). 
Why not hop off at Burano and explore the canals lined with brightly coloured houses and stores of the traditional lace specific to the island?





Or how about Murano? An island filled with workshops, galleries and shops dedicated its world renowned hand blown glass. 


This is a photograph of an a sculpture entirely made out of Murano glass. 

There are water taxi's as well, services are on all canals, to all islands, and even from the airport to the main island. If however, you have less time, or don't want the expense of experiencing the canals by private taxi, make sure you jump on the No.1 Vaporetto which will take you for a short cruise down the grand canal.


 


Not only did some of the worlds greatest composers such as Vivaldi once call Venice home, from the late Middle Ages until the mid 18th century, artists of the highest caliber including Titian, Tintoretto, Tiepolo and Canaletto, left their mark on the city. The vivid artistic scene isn't just for the Venice history books with a large contemporary art scene visible in studios and galleries all over as the magic continuously inspires. 


From the galleries, museums and concerts to the gondola rides and aperitivo, there is a huge amount to discover in Venice, most of which I am still yet to explore. No matter what, make sure you simply wander until you find yourself alone - only then will you discover the real Venice. 

I can not wait for my next opportunity to become lost in Venice. 



For more ideas on what to do in Venice visit TimeOut's guide here.

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