Monday, 22 October 2007

Those 25ps add up, you know

A long weekend in Venice with S, to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. Absolute joy. All I'd ever been told about Venice was: touristy, expensive, smells in summer. What I hadn't been told was that it's utterly unlike anywhere else on Earth. It genuinely feels other-worldly. It's not just the canals, it's the buildings. Every single one has decayed to a point of decorative gothicness. Even the boring buildings are atmospheric. Even the nondescript canals are magical. Tiny little details like the stencilled street (alley?) names give it so much texture and character. Bloody loved it.

Some highlights:

A ginger gelatto made with real ginger. Actually hot, like some Fat Duck cullinary experiment (like I'd know).

A side dish of radiccio cooked and sprinkled with oil. We were having lunch on arrival at a neighbourhood bar. Excellent place - our eating companions were builders and boatmen. We felt vey vey authentic.

Frari church with its altar painting by Titian. And another Titian too, which was apparently revolutionary because it dared to place the Virgin Mary off-centre, and made the baby Jesus (or baby Cheeses according to a young relative of mine) alive and playful, tugging at his mother's shawl.

Fabulous Peggy Guggenheim Collection in a beautiful Pallazzo on the Grand Canal. Great Picasso, great Bacon, some very interesting sculptures, scores of gawky British art students manically sketching...

The Biennalle exhibition, featuring Tracy Emin's British pavillion. I have a lot of time for her and was really interested in the neon writings/sketchings. Jenny Holtzer (?) also fascinating - an instalation made of cencored reports of deaths in custody at US military bases in Iraq.

Didn't even mind that we lost the sodding rugby...

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