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Venice, again

Venice is one of those cities which you cannot go to enough, so I am circling back once again to tell this tale. The mysteries of Venice reveal themselves slowly, each time you go. On this last trip I explored more of the great culinary and artistic traditions which this great city has to offer.

My first stop on this trip was to the fish market, the heart of Venice’s culinary soul, where you see Venetians shopping for their dinner. I too wanted to know what was for dinner!

Wild strawberries are a treat!

The produce wasn’t as varied, but hey..they had wild strawberries. Such a treat!

So many different types of sea food in several open air pavilions.

So many different types of sea food are on display in several open air pavilions. Check out the wooden beams.


Squid and octopus…yum!!

My favorite place in Venice is the Fondazione Querini Stampalia, a 700 year old library with modern and post-modern architectural interventions, and with an art collection of Baroque, Rococo, and modern art. The first floor museum and garden were designed by Carlo Scarpa. These spaces are a sublime ebb and flow of the water, the foundation of the city. I also enjoy how the work of Maria Morganti  (color field paintings) interpret the fantastic paintings by Bellini and Tiepolo. In many respects the play of old and new animate this museum, and the lack of crowds is refreshing.

Fondazione Querini Stampalia

Scarpa’s intervention begins at the waterline, which over fills the pathway in the winter months.

Palazzo Querini Stampalia, Venice

Scarpa reinterpreted the Byzantium mosaics in a modern design.

Scarpa reinterpreted the Byzantium mosaics into a modern design.

Fondazione Querini Stampalia garden2

The garden is the most serene place in Venice.

Fondazione Querini Stampalia garden

Terrazzo flooring is the quintessential material in Venice.

Terrazzo flooring is the quintessential material in Venice.

Next we treated ourselves to the perfect Italian donut. Half the fun was navigating the city to get to this shop written up by the New York Times.

Destination found: Tonolo

Destination found: Pastisseria Tonolo

Number in hand, waiting our turn at Pastisseria Tonolo

Number in hand, waiting our turn at Pastisseria Tonolo

The reward of our journey, Frittelle alla Crema.

The reward of our journey, Frittelle alla Crema.

I like modern architecture in Venice as it cuts the ornateness of most Venetian buildings. Tado Ando now has 3 venues in Venice, and each shines with a restrained intervention of existing space. At the Palazzo Grassi, Ando’s first project in Venice, he inserted a functioning museum into the of an 18th Century palazzo (see Snapshot #11 for other views of this museum). Plaster walls hang suspended on top of, and within, an existing architectural language…like two worlds coming close to each other but not fully interacting. They mesh but don’t necessarily communicate directly to each other, harmonious but also cold.


Plaster wall approach but stand-off from the walls and ceiling.

Of all the shows that I have seen in this space, I have been most moved by the tactile, vibrant intervention of indigo dye applied in this installation, and I love how it shocks the architectural gold leaf cornice details to life.


A former customs house is transformed by Ando into the museum Punta della Dogana. Here the modern vocabulary intersecting with a traditional space is more effective, and the dialogue is more convincing. I think the severity of the modern vocabulary speaks directly to the utilitarian structure. The tactile mix of metal, brick, concrete and wood works so well here.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


Steel passageway (painted the color of concrete) interacts with wood and brick…minimal and chic.



Someone’s ready to leave this museum!

When in Venice, take lots of breaks to drink wine and snack on Cichetti. One of my favorites venues which we stumbled upon was at a local cafe Bar Ai Do Draghi, located on an alley but with seating on Campo Santa Margherita.

A light snack of Cicchetti at Bar Ai Do Draghi. Order what you like at the counter, and then grab a table out in the plazza.

Order what you like at the counter, and then grab a table out in the plazza.

Enjoying the cichetti from Ai Do Draghi.

A perfect late morning snack away from the majority of tourists.

The great thing about Venice is that you run across great architecture at every turn. A walk around Venice reveals new treasures at every turn.

Entrance to a library in Venice.

The entrance to the Biblioteca Marciana, made famous because of the cafes in front facing St. Marks Square.

Beautiful Venetian canal.Church interior in Venice.

We had several great dinners, but our favorite, Osteria Alle Testiera, had few tourists (a hard thing in Venice). It was crowded with locals, sitting for a great dinner, or standing and lounging outside on the stone steps. And what one sees on sale at the fish market in the morning, the soft shell crabs or octopus, is on the menu for dinner at night, completing the circle. Truly a great way to end the day, and a fabulous trip.

David Bjørngaard, October 2014


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