This is definitely worth a visit and 5 euro (or free if you’re a student). On display are a bunch of old Olivetti typewriters and the space they are in is a fabulous lobby designed by Carlo Scarpa.
We were here every evening at around 7 for aperitivi and cicchetti.
Today we woke up early and did a little minor exploring over by the Guggenheim museum before leaving. We came back, bought some prosciutto, pasta and onion and I made a little lunch with the chiodini mushrooms over the pasta. We made it safely to Piazzale Roma with our bags and sanity, which, if you’ve ever ventured over the bridges of Venice with rolling luggage, is almost impressive. Turns out the car comes with built in navigation which, if you know my family at all, is absolutely necessary. (I have a superb sense of direction but everyone else doesn’t always listen to my advice…) We still decided to use our handy little Garmin as a backup, just in case.
The 4th day in Venice begins with sleeping in. Oh man oh man, another long day of art. So much art. The Arsenale is the old munitions depot of Venice. It’s basically a few huge buildings with loads and loads of art in them. On the way there we saw an awesome mobile fried fish kitchen on a boat. Hmmmm. Awesome. Pictures below.
So, the Arsenale: smashed mirrors, African villages, bread and bread, mechanical moons, cool benches, neon with mirrors (always cool), bird-feeder-chandeliers and much much more. My favorite installation was a video piece made by two Catalan filmmakers, David Bestue and Marc Vives which I found a pasted in below. Enjoy.
We met our old friend Max, his wife and his new baby girl Margarita for drinks (Margarita did not drink) and then returned to Birraria for a late dinner. Makin’ zucchini flowers for breakfast!
Today started off calmly enough. Actually it was a pretty laid back day, full of churches and six full hours of art. I hadn’t been inside the huge church on Piazza San Marco so we did that first. Surprisingly, there was water in the piazza. Yesterday there was none. Amazing. It comes up through the ground, like oil in movies. Scary and cool. They had the boardwalks up and they were crammed with stupid tourists and us. We are not stupid tourists. The church was huge, gold and extravagant and left little to desire except for maybe breathing room and Judaism.
Next: the Biennale. For those that don’t know, the Biennale is a bi-yearly art show that takes place in the Giardini and the Arsenale in Venice. The Giardini contains lots of pavilions of various architecture and size and each country gets one to fill with (usually) one artist’s work. We began in the Belgian pavilion. The artist, Jef Geys, requested that people from all over the world send in samples of medicinal plants and their locations. He arranged them nicely and I snapped a pic of the ones from New York (below). Finland’s pavilion showcased a man’s obsession with firemen and firemen memorabilia. The American pavilion displayed lots of flashy neon signs with different related words on top of each other. There was also this cool neon piece of two people poking each other in the eye.
Another cool piece displayed in the general exhibition showed the silhouettes of random objects turning on numerous carousels. Very nice. Let’s see, mats made of human hair, 100 euros each, a man with chin-balls, a man who drowned, an extravagant bathroom to symbolize overindulgence, and someone stretching oddly on a bench near the end of our delirious art tour.
We somehow made our way over to La Fenice and bought three tickets off old Italian women. I’m not sure they were even trying to sell them but my mom can be very intimidating when she wants something. It was worth it, I sat next to a little bambini and listened to the symphony orchestra play George Handel’s Musica sull’acqua (Water Music), Bach’s Suite n. 3 (which includes my favorite Bach piece, Air, Pachelbel’s Canon in re maggiore (the wedding song) and more Handel. It really was amazing and I would recommend going and maybe even getting tickets in advance to avoid the craziness that ensues just before show time. If you don’t get tickets, however, definitely try about half an hour before. Here’s a little audio recording I made of the last Handel piece: Georg Händel – Musica per i reali fuochi d’artificio
After the show, we went back to Oliva Nera for another Fritto Misto and this time it was huge. So good. Schie. Perfetto. Mouse-over any image to see a description and click on any of them to see them huge – apologies for the no-roto. May I suggest picking up your laptop and turning it clockwise or counterclockwise, appropriately.
First things first: the fish market. The goal here was to get up as early as possible and get to the market to get zucchini flowers to stuff and fry using the the technique I learned last night at Oliva Nera. We made it, bought flowers, explored a little and then cruised over to Osteria alla Botte for some cicchetti. A friend had taken us to this place on a previous trip and we had really liked it and our return trip did not disappoint. We had white polenta, schie, shrimp, octopus, baccala, sarde (a traditional onion and sardine dish), and cold seafood salad with celery. Go here.
Next we visited some churches and a posh new five star hotel and bough some new glasses at another shop we knew from a previous trip. They sell very cool frames so check them out here.
We ate dinner at a very reasonable (for Venice) pizza place called Birraria. Bad service, good food. Vaporetto home. Click on any photo below to see a super huge version of it! Put your little pointer over them for more info…. Cool, right? nerdy.
My first day in Venezia! We arrived in the early morning and caught a water taxi to our apartment. We’re renting it from the owners of Oliva Nera, a classic Venetian restaurant very close to the San Zacharia stop off the Vaporetto. The apt is great, well stocked kitchen, new bathrooms, non-functioning Internet, and best of all, situated above the restaurants various kitchens and prep kitchens.
We quickly left the apartment before passing out and got espressos and then went and found some chichetti for a snack. Chichetti are like tapas but better. Okay they’re the same, just Italian and they are typically Venetian, and they are usually different kinds of fish, and that is awesome.
We visited a bunch of churches for my mother’s project and explored our new hood. Later we met our friend Max, who stayed with us while getting his masters in Architecture at Berkeley, and his baby daughter, Margarita. Very cute, loved by all, with a powerful baby-cold.
We had dinner at Oliva Nera and it was incredible. We started with fried zucchini flowers stuffed with mozzarella and served on top of mushrooms (stiga, not sure what that translates too). Next we had anchovy pasta and cuddle in its own ink served over a creamy pollenta. For a main we split the mixed fried fish which consisted of everything they could find at the market that day, fried, including (not sure how to spell this) schie, my favorite, which are like little tiny baby shrimp (see below on fork). To finish everything off we had panna cotta with raspberry and preserved and dehydrated orange slices served with desert wine. I might put up some recipes but I can’t divulge all their secrets.