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Venice – La Dolce Vita

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My favourite cities in Europe are Paris, Rome and Florence. And now I would say Venice too, especially after this weekend’s visit. Italy in general has that kind of magic which makes one fall in love with this place so easily. The southern temperament in the country full of sun and warmth with fruitful vineyards everywhere will slowly get into your blood like wine. It’s as if there was something pleasantly sweet in the air. You breathe and you relax. But Venice is a bit different from other Italian towns. It is somehow mysterious.

Venice is a place where one can dream about romance, gentlemen courting ladies wearing elaborate masks, or leisurely cruises along Venetian canals in beautifully elegant black gondolas. Your gondolier will be typically wearing a black-and-white striped T-shirt and a straw hat decorated with a ribbon.

The houses in Venice were built close to each other. They form a labyrinth of narrow streets that creates eternal shade in hot summer days. And it’s exactly this maze of narrow streets intersecting with canals via hundreds of stone bridges that will capture your heart. You must get lost in this labyrinth and explore unknown paths. Who knows where they will take you?

Culturally, Venice is an extremely busy city. Each evening there is a classical concert or another cultural event being held. Very popular is a humorous play „Venezia – The Show of Venice“(at Teatro San Gallo), which tells the story of old days Venice when this city was a marine power. If you want to multiply the effect from this show, you should definitely buy a special ticket with transportation included. This means that you will be picked up by your private gondola which will take you directly to the theatre of San Gallo. Cruising along the green canals of Venice in a gondola while wearing a mysterious mask that matches your shimmering evening gown is a thrilling experience.

At your destination you will be welcomed by a small band of violinists playing splendid melodies just for you. I can guarantee you that you would feel like a film star having photographs taken on the red carpet. Thanks to the nice music there are curious tourists everywhere eager to learn where the music is coming from. They would stand in a semicircle around the band and thus form your admiring audience when you arrive. An enjoyable experience for all parties involved.

My artistic choice was Gallerie dell’Accademia this time. What can be seen here are art pieces by masterful painters who were born in Venice: Carlo Saraceni (early Baroque painter significantly influenced by Caravaggio); Tintoretto (Renaissance painter also known as „Il Furioso“for the phenomenal energy coming out of his paintings; he refused to create paintings which please the eye without being alive. He designed great Bible stories with all the drama); but first of all Tiziano who became almost as famous as the great Michelangelo. You can see three of his masterpieces in the gallery: Pieta, Madonna and Child and Presentation of the Virgin at the Temple. You can study Tiziano´s briliant work with colours. By making certain objects in his paintings brighter or darker he was free to break the rules of composition and still managed to keep the picture balanced.

To truly experience Venice one really has to get in touch with the local waters. How exciting it is to catch a water taxi and criss-cross Venice, cruising the narrow canals between the houses of every possible warm, southern colour romantically smelling of patina. Ladies will certainly appreciate the handsome looks of the appealingly tanned local water taxi drivers. All of them dressed in the best Italian fashion, with their dark, slightly greying hair flowing behind and their brand-name sunglasses covering their seductive eyes.

If you decide to take a water taxi then try to visit the neighbouring island of Murano, where the factory for famous Murano glass production is located. This glass is then sold in Venice shops as a nice souvenir. In the production hall of the factory, you can watch a demonstration of glass blowing. It’s like a miracle, at the beginning one just sees a piece of something undefinable hanging from the blazing iron stick. And after a couple of seconds of pulling the soft substance with metal tongs it starts getting a solid shape. In this case a shape of a horse standing on its back legs. A miracle! The second part of the building is no longer a factory. It is a gallery of incredible creations of Murano glass. Huge chandeliers, wonderful glass statues as colourful as a rainbow, glass aquarium with fish, a glass pony almost in real-life size and a lot more. The prices are almost as beautiful as the whole collection. If you long for a small affordable gift from Murano factory, buy one of the glass cherries lying in a big bowl next to the cashier. Just be careful that you don’t confuse it with a real one so that you don´t break a tooth on it!

My personal cherry on the cake was visiting the Piazza di San Marco at night when there are not so many tourists there. People congregate around gala bands spread around the square on three stages. They give small concerts, playing popular classical, musical and modern melodies to entertain their audience. People dance spontaneously. You can join them unobserved. The whole Piazza di San Marco is completely yours as you switch from jazz rhythms to a Strauss waltz, moving from one stage to another and dreaming of your own mysterious Venice romance beneath the night skies shining with all those endless stars.