Shhhh… I have a secret I want to share: I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m besotted with Venice. On the blog, on social media, in person – at any opportunity I want to talk about Venice, dream about Venice – and visit Venice. Living in Berlin, it’s just a short flight away, and I’ve been known to pop in for a tour with a client, a meeting with a new secret source, or to attend a fabulous design salon… and always a prosecco with our two divine Venice guides, Chiara and Orseola. Last year I started taking Italian lessons – because it’s a beautiful language, and I want to be able to greet my friends in their own language. My love affair with Venice is only growing stronger – so I’m taking the plunge! I’m going to experience la dolce vita for more than a few days – I’m packing up my Berlin apartment and moving to Venice very soon. For a few years – I’m going to continue my Italian affair, indulge my passion and live in this beautiful city that makes my heart so happy. There are so many reasons I’m passionate about Venice, the following story is one of them. Ci vediamo…
If famous socialite and art addict Peggy Guggenheim were alive today, she would stumble out the back door of her 18th C palazzo – the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni – facing the Grand Canal and meander over bridges and through calli, campi and campielli’s in her neighborhood – the Dorsoduro sestiere of Venice. As she was window-shopping her way past clothing boutiques, jewelry stores antique shops and art galleries, something would catch her attention in the window of a little shop – a shop that wasn’t there before – at Dorsoduro 868.
She would pause peering in the storefront window of the pop-up shop for Porte Italia Interiors. Her manicured hand would come to cover her mouth as she studied the exquisite craftsmanship and details of the hand-painted traditional Venetian furniture. And I am certain she would sigh… “Porte Italia.” And she would come inside the pop-up shop, opening per se, the Door To Italy.
Porte Italia Interiors, whose headquarters are based north of Venice in Ronchi dei Legionari, has roots reaching back in the past. Their goal was to create furniture inspired by those famous Venetian antiques – the painted furniture of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries that in years past had enlivened Venetian interiors. Traditionally the locally made painted furniture in Venice – like the city itself – was more exuberant, whimsical and over the top than its European counterparts. Bright colors, exuberant silhouettes and whimsical motifs were the name of the game.
Today Porte Italia continues this tradition – employing locally trained artists from Venice Accademia of Arts – to create quality hand-painted furniture that can become the antique of the future. Founded by Enrico Lenarduzzi, this family-run business continues its tradition with son Emilio joining the leadership team at the small company which employees 35 local artists, decorators, frame makers, artisans, blacksmiths and carpenters. Each member of the team is dedicated to bringing the past alive in new interiors.
Each piece in their collection is custom made – and the company specializes in working directly with interior designers. Designers mail the company samples of the fabric to be used in an interior – and Porte Italia creates custom furniture to coordinate with the tissues used.
And like their Venetian forefathers who always had their eyes focused out to sea, Enrico and Emilio are also looking globally for expanding their business. An average week has this father-son duo jetting from Italy to the Middle East to the United Kingdom and then popping across the pond to America. Their client list includes everyone from sheiks and sultans to princes and princesses – rumor has it that Camilla has purchased one of their tables – to rock stars and legends. One of the largest collections of Porte Italia furniture in the United States is actually in the home of a Back Street Boy!
Currently seeking relevant distribution channels in the United States, Porte Italia is bringing Italy to the world. Their collection included painted doors, panels, mirrors, sofas, chandeliers and even frescos. Perhaps their bed collection has been the most popular piece in their collection – making the cover of Architectural Digest magazine as well as decorating 5-star hotels such as Ashford Castle in Ireland and the Castello di Casole in Tuscany, both members of the Leading Hotels of the World.
Discover Porte Italia
- SAN MARCO, 3359 SAN SAMUELE, VENEZIA – ITALY
- +39 0481 476096
Feature image by José Manuel Alorda
Toma – The Antiques Diva
I’m delighted to share with you a guest post by JoAnn Locktov. JoAnn is sharing stunning photographs by talented architects in her new book, Dream of Venice Architecture. You know I’m smitten with Venice and welcome any opportunity to visit with clients, meet with our Antiques Diva® secret sources, or just stroll along the canale or savor a macchiato and work at a small café and relish my surroundings. Our Venice Diva Guides Orseola & Chiara have opened many Venetian doors for me, the architecture at the Fortuny Museo is a favorite of theirs. The lovely photos and charming commentary in Dream of Venice will transport you to this special city. If you haven’t been, you must schedule a trip to Venice very soon. And if you haven’t visited recently, you must return. Until then, I invite you to Dream of Venice Architecture.
Venice. Venezia. La Serenissima. The city has inspired artists, musicians, writers, lovers, and poets for over a millennium. The beauty of Venice is well documented. Originally through painting and verse, and now through photography, movies and if we’re lucky, our own eyes. But have you ever wondered what makes Venice so mesmerizing? Can we attribute her appeal to one element? Is it the Lagoon light, the dancing reflections, the patina of age, or the subtle hues of salt-washed color?
Venice is an urban oasis. The natural water that you find everywhere, is delineated by the construction of palaces, churches, boatyards, gardens, and bridges-some iconic and many that are humble. We wanted to know if this city that originated over 1,500 years ago could still be relevant to our contemporary lives. This is what we found out. Come take a passeggiata with us and wander through the memories of architects, architectural writers, and the evocative images of the award winning filmmaker and photographer Riccardo De Cal.
All photos and excerpts from Dream of Venice Architecture
Published by Bella Figura Publications
For so many people, cities are captured by the visual memory of an iconic panorama but for me Venice is a wholly visceral experience where what we see is so much less than what we perceive or feel. In Venice, there is all at once the sound and smell of the water, the chiaroscuro of confined passageways that give way to expansive campi, the constant rise and fall of crossing so many bridges and the twisting irregularities of its labyrinthine streets. A place of great intensity; I know no other city where one must navigate by way of intrinsic memory rather than conscious understanding.
Annabelle Selldorf, FAIA
Every entrance has a four-digit number, always applied onto the frame in a uniform stenciled typeface. A few years ago I happened to be passing by the house numbered 1937, which featured a particularly distressed and ominous-looking door. Suddenly I had a strange vision that the horrific memories of the year 1937—Guernica, Kristallnacht, Stalin’s Great Purge—are hidden behind that locked portal. It took a good half-a-bottle of wine before I could let this disquieting fantasy go. Yet ever since, I cannot rid myself of an impression that every Venetian door represents a particular year; that the city is, in fact, a museum that contains all human history and all our future as well. This would of course explain why the doors are so mysterious and forlorn: why they are always locked; why nobody seems to be ever entering or coming out.
Venice may be too hot, too cold, too humid, too crowded or too easy to get lost in, but “her streets, through which the fish swim, while the black gondola glides spectrally over the green water” — as Hans Christian Andersen eloquently stated — release us to imagine alternatives to the general standard of urban living. Venice is not on the sea but of the sea, eclipsing the tale of Atlantis with a modern mythology both repeated and rewritten with every tide.
Just inside the windows, several pet bird cages were hung above a grand piano, and these, plus the lure of crumbs from the damask-covered tables where guests were eating their morning brioche, attracted small flying birds from the square. As we sipped our coffee, birds darted through the windows, soared around the ceiling twenty feet overhead, then hopped and chirped about the rug at our feet. It was pure enchantment. Those first few days in Venice were one of the transformative experiences of my life.
Venice: the ageless city. How can we take measure of her to a finite time, she who is crystallized by the juxtaposition of styles, of forms, of places, of spaces…
When you walk through Venice at night, in the silence, in the darkness, the canale fills you with anguish, fear, anxiety, dissatisfaction, as if you’re seeing a sleepless dormitory town, full of ghosts and dark clouds…
Inside the places on the ground floors you imagine unmoving ghosts reclining on large tables surrounded by chairs with the light filtering through from the outside—thus faint, so very faint, in the depths. The gondolas are moving slowly as the water laps the shore; the silver blades almost black and you think they are open funeral carriages ready for the reclining ghosts in the rooms.
When I hear the voice of Venice, my mind wanders into that nebulous space where time momentarily stops and I am quietly propelled into an intimate dialogue with my own free floating thoughts. The voice of Venice thankfully reminds me that there is an arena in which fantasy and reality can collide, coexist, and comfortably accommodate contradictions. Venice, for me, is a metaphor for unexpected creative possibilities. This notion never fails to captivate me.
Louise Braverman, FAIA
For the architect, the recognizing of a city is nearly always expressed through emerging elements: a bridge, a monument, a tower, a neighborhood or a geometric structure. In the end, nearly all of us reason like collectors of snow globes, those that are found in all souvenir shops, and show the stereotypes of different cities.
It is rare that landscape is used as the substantial element of a city, its GEOGRAPHY. But Venice is the exception.
For all its floating qualities, Venice is heavily laden with history, stone, and gravity. Though its marble monuments aspire artfully upwards, they are ultimately more preoccupied with down than up. One counterpoint to all this weight is the prominent windvane poised lightly atop the Punta Della Dogana. This figure of Fortune, presiding over the Bacino’s daily ballet of watercraft, pirouettes between architecture and flight. It has for centuries signaled the comings and goings of Adriatic weather that tints this city’s beguiling atmosphere. For some, perhaps, it pivots to the ebb and flow of dreams as well.
Max Levy, FAIA
The main facade of the Fortuny palazzo faces the Campo San Benedetto. It is adorned with the characteristic ogee arches of Venetian Gothic, a classification of the Gothic architecture that originated as an ecclesiastical style in northern Europe where it can be dour and forbidding. Venetian Gothic is neither. Adapted to residential construction and suffused with Byzantine and Moorish influences, it is light, graceful, and whimsical—almost feminine. The right setting for the fashion maven who was known as the “Magician of Venice.”
Palazzo Fortuny, Orseola and Chiara’s favorite
Ciao, and pleasant dreams of Venice
Toma Clark Haines – The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
O&C Antiques. These ladies delivered once again by creating a fabulous Salon style evening where artists, designers and collectors came together from all over the world for a few hours of thoughtful discussion while viewing some very special pieces of art and antiques. The mobile Salon (last year I attended their event in Berlin) encourages guests to learn about the pieces which have been curated by Orseola and Chiara, all the while enjoying antiques, art, music and scintillating conversation with like-minded people. The great part is that every piece, be it a rare antique or modern art piece, is available for purchase.s many of you know I recently attended a very special event hosted by my two Diva Guides in Venice, Orseola and Chiara of
While everything at the Salon was gorgeous, I wanted to highlight five of our favorite pieces here on the blog to give everyone an idea of the type of objects these ladies are bringing together – better yet – it just so happens these are still for sale so even if you missed the salon you still have the opportunity to shop it!
First up is the sleek RM58 Classic chair originally designed by Roman Modzelewski in 1958. This fiberglass chair is one of the earliest Polish designs of polyester-glass laminate furniture and has no counterpart from that time, either in Poland or the rest of the world. One of the original chairs was purchased by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and was displayed at the “Cold War Moder: Design 1045-1970” exhibition which was the first to explore the works in modern design, architecture, film and pop culture developed in the context of the Cold War, on both sides of the Iron Curtain. This design is currently available in red, black, white, yellow, and green and is priced at 934€.
A digital print on photographic paper by Costanza gianquinto also caught my eye. Every shot this artist takes represents a moment which lends itself to the story of his mind, an esoteric and symbolic path that enables him to sneak in his perception. In the artist’s own words, “I do not take pictures in order to create, I do photography to communicate, to release myself. I seek to express what I imagine in a tangible way, to discover what makes me worried and what trickles down from the scraping walls of my thoughts. There is not reasonable research, neither an obsession or cruelty but only the sweet
tones of aromas and vibes that lay soaking while they wait to be discovered.” The untitled print is priced at 750 € and would make a fantastic addition to a private collection.
A 1964 fresco on plywood titled, immagine n°509 2b, by artist Gino morandis is another show-stopper. I love the colors and composition of this piece. It is priced at 2500 €.
Dating back to the first half of the 17th century, a pair of miniature Italian portraits of Bianca Cappello and Giovanni di Bianca Cappello added depth to the Salon. These very special enamel on copper portraits of the Florentine School are priced at 4800 €.
I was thrilled to see the work of a friend displayed at the Salon as well. Dutch designer Mariska Meijers is a multi talented artist, boasting her own fabric lines and wallpaper designs. She also paints and offers all of her designs at her showroom in Amsterdam. Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the Salon was seeing her stunning Venetian style lamp shade in Bold Cubisn Parisian Pink (298€) atop an antique lamp base (300€). The juxtaposition of the modern shade and the antique lamp seemed to sum up the feeling of the evening. Mixing the past with the present and curating objects from all time periods is the name of the game and Orseola and Chiara have a flair for winning at that game.
If you’d like more information on any of these pieces or on future Salon events, email us at email@example.com.
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
O&C Antiques. The first Salon event they hosted in Berlin last year was themed around “Drama,” and showcased a wide range of antiques and modern art including ancient textiles, precious jewelry, works in mixed media, and photography. This Salon which will take place on October 31 at 6:30 PM is called “FOHAT,” and will be in a gallery space in Venice. Guests will have the exclusive chance to see and buy gorgeous pieces of contemporary art and antiques showcased together for the first time.o you have plans for Halloween? If not, you are officially invited to join me in Venice! I’m thrilled to be the special guest at the 2nd Salon hosted by our Venetian Diva Guides, Orseola and Chiara of
The Salon will feature a selection of antique art objects (O&C Antiques, ANTICHITA’ MARCIANA, Antichita’ Pittarello, Trame d’incanto – Venice), contemporary art (John Kleckner – Berlin, Marco Thiella – Venice), photography (Costanza Gianquinto – Venice) modern art (Gino Morandis, Alberto Gianquinto) design (Mariska Meijers – Amsterdam, NO WÓDKA – Berlin) and a music permormance (Francesco Enrichi – Venice), in an extraordinary visual and conceptual dialogue between objects and time. The event will be curated in collaboration with Venice Actually and Luca Caldironi.
If this sounds like the type of event you want to attend, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to be registered and to have more details about the event. Of course, if you’d like more information on future Salon events or if you’d like me to source pieces for you, please contact me! These international Salons are a truly unique way to acquire one of a kind artworks and antiques. I cannot wait to spend the evening sipping champagne, discussing unique objects, and possibly purchasing something for my own collection!
Ciao for now,
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
hile many of our clients are coming on Antiques Diva Buying Tours with a mission to stock their stores or source the perfect piece for their home, most people that make the trip to Europe also want to take some vacation time to soak up the sights. After all, who would want to travel all the way to Europe without sitting back for a bit to enjoy the culture? Each of our 8 tour countries has something special to offer, and today I want to talk about one of my favorite places on earth…Venice! Our Diva Guides Orseola and Chiara are both native Venetians who are extremely well connected in their city of origin – in fact Orseola’s ancestor was the 5th Doge of Venice so in fact as long as there has been a Venice there has been a Barozzi. Besides knowing where to take clients antiquing, they know all the best restaurants, secret haunts, and have their fingers on the pulse of what’s happening in the art world in Venice.
I asked them which museums they’d recommend to clients who want to experience the richness Venice has to offer and our Diva Guides Orseola & Chiara said, “That’s like asking a mother to choose her favorite child! But if we must pick, one of our favorite museums (it’s so difficult to choose..!) is Palazzo Fortuny.” Once owned by the Pesaro family, this large Gothic palazzo in Campo San Beneto, was transformed in the 19th century by Mariano Fortuny into his own atelier of photography, stage-design, textile-design and painting. Today you can still breathe the atmosphere of his time as the rooms retain his tapestries and collections. Simply walking through the palazzo and observing the wall-hangings, paintings, and lamps, one can’t help but be inspired by his eclectic style. Be sure not to miss the intact library on the second floor which houses a melange of pieces by Fortuny and by contemporary artists from very diverse backgrounds. Depending on when you go, you can see very interesting exhibitions that always create a dialogue between past and present, somehow (right now you can see the show “Proportions”).
Another favorite museum is the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. It’s interesting to note that from 1910 to 1924 the house was owned by the famously flamboyant Marchesa Luisa Casati. In 1949, Peggy Guggenheim purchased Palazzo Venier from the heirs of Viscountes Castlerosse and made it her home for the following thirty years. Early in 1951, Peggy Guggenheim opened her home and collection to the public and continued to do so every year until her death in 1979. The palazzo is one of the most beautiful and unique palazzos facing the Grand Canal where you can see her private collection of modern art and very interesting temporary exhibitions.
To have an idea about what the Venetian lifestyle of the 18th century was like, Ca’ Rezzonico is worth a visit as it is just stunning. The palazzo has been adapted to serve as a museum of 18th century Venice, showcasing pieces as if they were the palace’s original furnishings. To achieve this result, numerous 18th century works that belonged to the other museums of Venice were moved to Ca’ Rezzonico, together with paintings, furnitures, and frescoes from other civic-owned buildings and many works purchased for the occasion. The quality and integrity of the works on display coupled with the historic building they are housed in results in a decadent time capsule that anyone who appreciates fine art and fine living will adore.
This year you can also see the most important international contemporary art exhibition, “La Biennale d’arte” (until November 2015).
If you have an interest in taking an Antiques Diva Venetian Tour, email us at email@example.com. We’d love to custom plan your dream tour and show you Venice through the eyes of a local!
The Antiques Diva®
P.S. Stay tuned for a special announcement about a group tour to Venice we’ll be working on in conjunction with 2 outside agencies in Spring 2016!
Dear Diva Readers,
ho hasn’t dreamed of spending a weekend in Venice? Here at The Antiques Diva & Co we are so excited to have two local Venetian Diva Guides who have insider connections, knowledge of antiques and style to boot. If you find yourself pining for a few days in this magical city, keep reading because our locally-based Venetian Guides Orseola and Chiara have put together three different ideal weekend tours that could satisfy any discerning Diva client!
Venice Tour 1. “Antique Venetian Textiles Tour”
This tour starts with a visit to a private fabric factory (not open to the public) to visit one of the most important manufacturers in Venice as it is the last textile workshop in town that still weaves traditional velvets and brocades on the original 18th century handlooms. From there take a Gondola through the Grand Canal to the nearby Rialto to try some typical “Cicheti” (Venetian small appetizers) and a glass of prosecco/spritz which always flows in abundance here. After the “aperitivo”, go shopping for antique fabrics in the historical shops in Santa Maria del Giglio and then visit an antique dealer that is actually the only place in Venice where you can find original Fortuny fabric. After having seen this shop in San Maurizio, visit an antique dealers personal residence nearby, where you can have the unique shopping experience of buying exquisite, museum quality antiques of any kind in the magical setting of an historical private palazzo. There are also great dealers in that area that offer absolutely beautiful carpets.
Venice Tour 2. “Antique Venetian Glass Tour”
For the antique glass lovers who are passionate about the authentic art of glass, we can offer a special tour that starts from Venice and ends up in Murano, where glass is designed and produced. First we’ll visit our dear friend Giuseppe, a young dealer that together with is father offers a great selection of vintage and antique glass and much more in his shop close to the Arsenale. From there we’ll take a private boat to reach Murano island. During the trip we will offer a glass of Prosecco in true Diva style! Once we arrive in Murano, we’ll have lunch there and then visit only historical glass factories and special places which are closed to the public where it is possible to buy dream chandeliers, vases, lamps, glasses by Pauly, Seguso amongst others, from the beginning of the century till 1980. Of course this is our secret source so they make special prices for our clients.
Venice Tour 3. “Antiques” (can be planned also upon specific requests)
Start the morning by meeting in San Barnaba, where we start the shopping tour visiting the historical “bottega” of an “Indorador”, that restores and sell antique frames, sculptures (think gilded antiques). Then we proceed by going close to the Accademia, at our friend Silvana’s shop, where you can find museum quality stone sculptures, some dating back to the 14th century, along with objects d’art and architectural salvage. This is Italy which means Mamma Mia, we must stop for lunch… we’ll make it fast at Fiore, with cicheti and wine, and finally reach one of the most famous antique dealers of Venice, David, a dear friend of ours who sells just amazing antiques of any kind–real collectors items, and antique carpets. One of his very special shops (his family has sold higher quality antiques for generations) is located in a beautiful palazzo in the Canareggio district. With a water taxi then, we will bring our clients to Giuseppe’s shop close to Arsenale.
Can’t Get Enough of Us in Venice? How about doing some Diva Lifestyle Venetian Tours?
As an extra, we’d be glad to plan a trip to Mazzorbo, a very special island in the Venetian lagoon, where it is possible to have a wine tasting of the amazing wine they produce there, from an old variety of grape that was historically growing in the islands of the lagoon (and in Venice itself). This is a very hidden and beautiful little paradise in the middle of the lagoon. In their restaurant, “Venissa” you can enjoy the best creative cuisine made with local products. This is one of our favorite places to eat. Coming back to Venice city center, we love to go to “Estro”, an “osteria” where you can have great wine, cicheti and creative cuisine, perfect for lunch and “Pensione Wildner”, where our friend Luca always advises with the best fresh ingredients of the day and with the best wine pairings, to have a perfect dinner.
If you have an interest in taking an Antiques Diva Venetian Tour, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to custom plan your dream tour and show you Venice through the eyes and footsteps of a local!
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
mother isn’t supposed to pick favorites…. and as CEO of The Antiques Diva & Co all my tour countries are like my children. And while I’m not supposed to pick favorites one of our new tours has me so smitten I can’t help but to give that child a little extra love. I’m talking about Venice! Our Venice Antique Buying Tours offer beyond gorgeous opportunities for sourcing antiques in one of the most dreamy cities in the world! While Venice is full of historic gems and centuries old buildings (not to mention palazzo’s where you can shop off the palace walls), it is still very much alive as a 21st century city. It’s a complex and magical city – and perhaps one of my favorite places on earth.
Our friend JoAnn Locktov has created a book called “Dream of Venice” that celebrates contemporary Venice while still honoring its past.
“Nothing can really prepare you for Venice. The stunning agglomerate of architectural styles, the sinuous maze of narrow calli, and the languid water that follows you everywhere. It is a city built on dreams. Several years ago I met the photographer, Charles Christopher. He had a portfolio of remarkable Venice images that were unlike anything I had ever seen before. His photographers were personal and textural and so still, you could hear the silence. We decided to collaborate and publish a book on contemporary Venice. We paired the images with words from all sorts of people- writers, poets, film directors, actors, and designers. We identified Venetophiles that had an intimate connection to the city and could express their thoughts in a unique way.
In Dream of Venice there is no table of contents, nor are there page numbers to guide your way. We do not identify any of the locations. It was our intention to create a passeggiata, a meander through Venice, where turning a corner, you never quite know what will greet you. So please, join me for a stroll through the floating city. We’ll stop on our way for an ombra…”
Venice is a state of mind. That is, the scintillating, kaleidoscopic, shifting colors of that watery realm remain alive inside me long after I depart the actual city. -Frances Mayes
I call my late night peregrinations “once around the block,” and although I have discovered many routes and sometimes have the pleasure of choosing different crossroads, I have come to discover that “all roads lead to Rome”- which, for me, always means San Marco. -Hutton Wilkinson
The unexpected mystery of Venice… misleading reflections, startling shadows, ominous light and shade, and endless corners. What’s round the next one? -Julie Christie
At night Venice’s lights dim, its sounds are submerged in those of slapping water, and it wraps itself in mystery, as does our consciousness when dissolved in sleep. -Marcella Hazan
I looked up at these rooms illuminated by enormous chandeliers made centuries earlier in this very city. They didn’t sparkle like the crystal chandeliers of Paris— the Venetian chandeliers glimmered. They glimmered with a dim luster like the inky water that held us aloft as we floated into the heart of my dream city. -Matthew White
From the windows, the curtains are alive, shaken by the wind and the sun. Una meraviglia- a wonder- in the only city that makes you wish, while closing your eyes, to relive each moment just as it has appeared. -Patrizia Gucci”
As JoAnn is an expert on Venice I asked her to share some of her top trips (beyond booking an Antiques Diva(R) tour) on what to do in Venice:
- Lodging: There are many splendid boutique hotels; one of my favorites is Ca’Gottardi in the Cannaregio. If you are looking for modern design in a resplendent palazzo I recommend PalazzinaG designed by Philippe Starck.
- To eat: Venice is famous for their bacari, the small wine bars that offer cicchetti, a Venetian version of tapas. It is easy to make a small meal out of these tasty bites but for a full repast I recommend La Cantina for the convivial spirit and Francesco’s mastery in a kitchen the size of well, it is so small, there actually is no kitchen. Estro is impeccable and Oliva Nera is lovely.
- To shop: The Sent sisters create beautiful and bright modern glass jewelry. Giovanna Zanella is a master cobbler; see her on your first day so that she can measure your feet for a custom pair of shoes. For gorgeous glass, a Venetian artisan tradition, I recommend Seguso. The showroom is by appointment only. The family has been creating glass on Murano since 1397. Giampaolo Seguso, the family patriarch is also a poet. He dreamt an evocative poem for Dream of Venice.
- To do: Did you know Venice had spectacular pastries and chocolate? You can join the irrepressible Monica Cesarato for this sweet tour and walk off any calories you might happen to consume. Venice is best seen from the water, so why not learn to row when you are there? Join Cristina Gregorin for an architectural tour and learn about built Venice, the agglomeration of styles and the architects who designed her most ravishing buildings and bridges. Visit an artisan studio and learn an authentic Venetian craft with one of the workshops offered through Italian Stories.
Grazie Mille JoAnn!
The Antiques Diva
Dear Diva Readers,
O&C Antiques have hand selected for our Antiques Diva® clients! Should you find yourself traveling to this enchanted city on the water (or better yet, if you are booking an Antiques Diva® Venice Tour – mamma mia, the antiquing is shockingly good!), consider checking out these historic luxury accommodations.aving recently launched our Antiques Diva® Venice Tours, I wanted to share a few favorite hotels on the island that our native Diva Guides and Antique Dealers Orseola and Chiara of
The atmosphere of this historic hotel is charming and cozy. Set over looking the lagoon, you are surrounded by gorgeous views of San Giorgio. With a convenient location just steps from the Art Biennale and the Piazza San Marco, this hotel also possesses an amazing collection of art and antiquities. An onsite restaurant that is surprising for the creativity of its award-winning cuisine also has a Michelin Star. Nothing is left to chance here and attention is paid even to the smallest detail.
This 5 star hotel designed by Philippe Starck instantly makes guests feel like they are “temporarily Venetian.” Surrounded by houses of nobles, stores of merchants and a health spa, you couldn’t ask for a better location! No need to travel far if you’re hungry—the open air restaurant has a stunning view of the Grand Canal and the hotel itself is a stone’s throw from Piazza San Marco. Many international celebrities stay at this hotel, so don’t be surprised if you’re rubbing shoulders with the stars!
The motto of this hotel is “An antique setting with a futuristic spirit,” and that is exactly the way to describe it! Set in a period palace with an elaborate Gothic façade, you would imagine the interior to be classic old-school Venice. Instead you are greeted by a futuristic decor and modern design. Surrounded on one side by the waters of the lagoon, and the other by alleyways of Venice, the palazzo is in the heart of this romantic city. And what’s in a name? A coin with the image of the ancient Roman centurion Antinoo was found in the foundations of the hotel and has inspired its name. As if the glorious Roman empire wanted to pay homage to the grandeur of Venice, the greatest trading port of the ancient world.
Bauer Hotels (especially the “Palladio” at Giudecca)
While all 4 Bauer hotels are gorgeous, the Palladio at Giudecca is a favorite. Its main building was originally a XVI century convent, and has been converted to 37 rooms and 13 Suites. The soft color palate of the decor is both warm and welcoming. Many rooms have beautiful lagoon views or enchanting garden views, some featuring small balconies. Some views look across the water to the Doge’s Palace, setting the scene for a romantic and dream-like experience.
This 4-star Luxury rated Hotel is located in an ancient aristocratic Venetian palace of the 17th century, in the historical center of the city, between Rialto and Piazza San Marco. On site are a restaurant, a bar, a conference center and a wellness center—everything you need! Another Palace, Palazzo Gussoni, which dates back to 1500 and was supposedly designed by Pietro Lombardo, is located on one of the hotel wings.
Almost like the set of a 1940’s glamorous movie, the guest rooms and suites of Palazzo Barbarigo are situated on the two floors of the palace and overlook the Grand Canal. The interiors are decorated in Art Deco style and are oh-so-chic! Feathers, fringe, and plumes pay homage to the Venetian setting while adding the glam factor to this beautiful palace.
Looking over the Rio di San Lorenzo o ‘dei Greci’, a typical Venetian canal, the Liassidi Palace Hotel is set in a 15th-century palazzo. With a concierge service available 24 hours a day, your wish is their command. The decor marries contemporary design and 18th-century Venetian Style. Arrive in true Venetian style through the ground floor’s direct water entry from Canal San Lorenzo. Perhaps enjoy a drink at the hotel bar where they specialize in several international cocktails. The hotel is equipped with an elevator and equipment to provide access to all areas of the hotel for guests with limited mobility.
A short distance from Piazza San Marco, this palace is situated on the banks of two canals in a charming corner of the city. The facade of the structure features original frescoes by Palma il Vecchio, which bear witness to the Priuli family’s wealth and prestige. The interior of the hotel maintain classic Venetian character and charm with late 20th century Renaissance style furniture, wrought iron chandeliers, Murano glass, and oriental rugs.
Hotel Palazzo Vitturi is located in the heart of Venice, a few minutes from Saint Mark’s square and Rialto Bridge, and a stone’s throw from many of Venice’s other treasures. Located in one of the most prestigious areas of Venice, this 13th century Venetian palace boasts fresco paintings, gothic architecture and elegantly furnished rooms. This 3 star boutique hotel also has all the modern amenities any guest would require.
“The Door of the East” lies in the heart of Venice and offers a more quaint Bed and Breakfast style stay. The B & B overlooks the beautiful field of Santa Maria Formosa, and is just 5 minutes from San Marco. Occupying the first floor of a Venetian palace, it is accessed via a private bridge. Being a private residence, guests experience Venetian daily life, including beauty, magic, dreams and a life that still runs with the natural rhythms where the measure of time is marked only by the speed of our steps.
The Antiques Diva®
Dear Diva Readers,
amma Mia… When an assignment to go to Venice to write about the local antiques scene arose, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. And while I was looking forward to my trip – who wouldn’t be? – what I didn’t expect was the arsenal of antiques that awaited me. I was surprised to discover a varied inventory, ranging from museum quality antiques, statues and paintings to 16th, 17th and 18th C painted furniture, Venetian chandeliers and mirrors as well as gorgeous antique jewelry and antique textiles. And the kicker? I didn’t just find tourist prices. These pieces were selling at market value when you entered with a local. I shopped in private palazzos and in by-appointment-only antique stores deep on back canals and calles I’d never heard of in districts where you found quiet spots the tourists hadn’t discovered or wandered off the beaten path.
On the arm of 2 local antiques dealers – Chiara and Orseola, the latter of whom happens to be from one of the 6 noble families in Venice (and an ancestor of the doges) – I visited local antique dealers, friends of her family and was invited in as if I, too, were a friend of the family. I found myself surprised at every corner that this is not a city just for the tourists to shop – but that some of the top dealers in the world are sourcing at antique shops you’d never discover without an insider making an introduction. (Between you and me I’m utterly convinced I found more than one of Axel Vervoordt’s secret sources though the dealers had complete discretion).
While these ladies were helping me rediscover Venice for an article I was writing, I realized this discovery was too big for simply a magazine feature with a word count limited at 1000. This was my 6th trip to Venice – yet I had never felt so embraced by the city as I did when I visited it with insiders. I wanted to be able to share what Chiara and Orseola had taught me. It wasn’t just about sharing the antique address… but was about giving insider access to the Venice only a local knows about. Plus, when antiquing, Chiara and Orseola give the kind of access that happens when a local calls instead of one of the millions of tourists who come each year. You will show up in a tiny shop and be invited to the vendor’s home on the nearby campo to see more of the collections. Only a small part of the inventory in Venice is kept in store fronts where the space is limited.
After antiquing in Venice several days with Chiara and Orseola I asked these ladies – the dealers who choreograph the amazing collection at O&C Antiques – to join my team as our newest The Antiques Diva & Co Guides leading antique buying tours in Venice and to my great pleasure they said “Si! Si! Si!”, delighted by the opportunity to share their world.
Thanks to a partnership between The Antiques Diva & Co and O&C Antiques, Venice – The Queen of the Adriatic – has just become Antiques Diva Territory! Stay tuned for more details as along with Chiara and Orseola we share more details on how you can bring Venetian Antiques home.
The Antiques Diva®
On a roll, we rounded a corner in the arcades not far from Piazza San Marco and stumbled into one of the most gorgeous antique shops I’ve ever been into – Antichita Marciana!
In typical Venetian fashion the exterior of the building was crumbling around itself, but the goods inside were fit for a palazzo!
Antichita Marciana specializes in 18th C paintings, furniture and special objects that will certainly be “conversation pieces” in your home! Each purchase is accompanied by a certificate of guarantee stating its period, the origin, the state of preservation and restorations done. And if you’re worried that the Italian commode (remember: commode isn’t a toilet in Europe but something similar to a buffet) won’t fit inside your carry on, don’t worry! Antichita Marciana ships worldwide, with specific transporters specialized in the care of high-end antiques and art.
For those arm chair travelers, if Venice isn’t on your travel itinerary, never fear! This shop even offers online shopping, but alas I fear the website is currently only available in Italian. There is an English option, but your mouse just hovers over it without clicking as if insisting you view this Venetian shop in the language it was meant to be seen – Italiano!
On that note, Arrivederci!
The Antiques Diva™
P.S. Stay tuned for an upcoming Diva Blog with divalicious details on Fortuny!!!
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