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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com. 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,
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®