After each crisis, a rebirth is hoped for. I wish for Venice a future based on the know-how, on excellence, in the place where human ingenuity has built the impossible on water.
All the invisible cities told by Italo Calvino speak of Venice.
Everyone can look for his/her own.
I found it in Dorsoduro, a sestiere away from the noise of distracted tourism.
When from the Gallerie dell’Accademia I set out for San Vio, each time I know I’m entering another dimension. The shop windows, the galleries, the people: everything tells me that I am in the cultural mile, the Venetian Museum Mile.
The views are elegant and romantic; when you arrive at the bridge over the luminous Canale di San Vio, which leads from the Grand Canal to the Giudecca Canal, the space opens up.
The light is always different and the view takes your breath away. This view is framed by the web cam of Hotel American Dinesen, (in the photo) from which the nostalgic of Venice look out from all over the world: check yourself.
On your right, on the corner, there is Bottega Cini, the concept store of cultural gifts that from June 2020 hosts, as in the Renaissance, also my laboratory of “resident artisan”.
In the shop you will find perfumes inspired by the “Mude”, the ancient convoys of Venetian ships, by The Merchant of Venice, but also Murano glass signed by the best furnaces.
Also noteworthy is the paper, made by hand as in the times of the Doges, by Toscolano, Fallani’s colorful serigraphs, Marsilio’s books, Linea d’Acqua and other Venetian publishers telling the best of Venice.
Let’s not forget that the Serenissima gave the foundations to modern publishing, but at Bottega Cini there are also the reborn porcelains of the eighteenth-century brand Geminiano Cozzi, the hand-woven velvet and brocade bags by Luigi Bevilacqua, unique silky weave in the world.
Bottega Cini is a large living room, where artists and personalities meet, one can watch projections, book presentations, you try a perfume and you can see me thread the beads with the long needles like the impiraresse painted by John Singer Sargent.
Mine is such an ancient profession, the beadstringer, already described in 1700s: it was about creating bunches of tiny beads, the conterie, in order to make them travel smoothly to distant lands.
I use the same techniques but to create adornments and jewels.
The art of Glass Beads is a Venetian tradition, as old as memory can remember. Venice, famous for its glass, hosts an entire community of artisans and artists who, yesterday as today, are reflected in the places, memories, idioms. A precious know-how, an essential texture in the historical and cultural fabric of the city.
Thanks to the application process of Comitato per la Salvaguardia dell’Arte delle Perle di Vetro Veneziane, representing the holders of Venetian art, prepared together with the French Art Beaders, the element “ART OF GLASS BEADS” was inserted on 17 December 2020 in the Representative list of intangible assets of Humanity
The Pearls of Art of the Venetian Museum Mile
If you come to visit us at Bottega Cini we will advise you to visit the adjacent Gallery of Palazzo Cini, with its antique furnishings and paintings and its temporary exhibitions.
And then again to continue your walk towards the Guggenheim Collection, a place like few in the world, where you can still breathe the presence of Peggy, defined as the last dogaressa, godmother of many artists.
The spirit of Peggy Guggenheim is everywhere in these streets, no one forgets her charismatic contribution to the true contemporary vocation of Venice: Art and Culture.
In the spaces of Dorsoduro Charming House, the owner Chiara Bocchini, enthusiastic promoter of events, is dedicating a photographic exhibition to Peggy these days.
But the home that once belonged to Peggy Guggenheim, Ca’ Venier dei Leoni, the unfinished palace , is the same where the magnetic Luisa Casati also lived.
The Marquise of Infinita Varietà, wanted to make her way of life a work of art.
You can imagine taking the gondola with these women, icons of style, crossing the Grand Canal, if you answer the call of a gondolier.
A tip: in the morning you can arrive in the heart of Dorsoduro, from the area of San Marco, also taking the gondola-ferry from Campo Santa Maria del Giglio, next to the Hotel Gritti; for those who are not resident it costs two euros.
If you keep walking forward towards the Punta della Dogana, you will pass through Campiello Barbaro, adorned with roses, behind the famous Palazzo Ca’ Dario, with its beautiful marble and fireplaces.
You will imagine seeing again Woody Allen jogging with Julia Roberts for the shooting of the film “Everyone Says I love You”, shot here in 1996.
A little further on, in Fondamenta Soranzo della Fornasa, there is a “bottega di Remèr” , a craftsman of oars and oarlocks, one of the oldest crafts in the lagoon.
In front of the oars and oarlocks by Saverio Pastor, beyond the canal, the place where a melancholy Ezra Pound lived some of its Venetian days, now a modern hotel, the Salute Palace.
But he is not the only poet to have loved these places, the essay “Watermark” by Josif Brodskij was titled in Italian “Fondamenta degli Incurabili”, a place a few minutes from here, even if the artist Robert Morgan, who is currently exhibiting at Bottega Cini, assures us that Brodskij has never stayed in this area, and that it was he himself who suggested the Italian title to the Poet, since Josif felt “incurable in the soul”. The two were very close friends.
How many wonderful stories, right? But you have not yet visited the mystical wonder of Madonna della Salute, erected as a pledge, in perpetual memory of the plague epidemic that struck Venice in 1630.
You will arrive there after walking through a street full of art galleries and craft shops, and you will also pass in front of one of the most beautiful hotels on the Canal Grande, where you might want to spoil yourself with a very elegant lunch or aperitif: the Sina Centurion Palace
Further on, there awaits you Punta della Dogana stretched out into the San Marco Basin like an ancient ship that contains in the architecture of Tadao Ando the exhibitions of Palazzo Grassi.
You will also spot the “Il Nuovo Trionfo”, the ancient Trabaccolo moored in the embankment, continuously restored by a group of volunteers as it is the only one left.
Here all the winds of the lagoon blow, here the tide is measured. On one side the Giudecca and San Giorgio with its Palladian profile, on the other Piazza San Marco with its ancient glories.
You are in Venice, breathe the Beauty.
***Do you want to discover Dorsoduro with an expert tour guide who knows how to lead you to these places as they really deserve to be visited??
Contact Luisella Romeo, she can also organize a virtual online visit for you, I tried it too and it’s great!