Category Archives: Venice Instructions

Oh, Toto, I don’t think we’re even in Italy anymore.

Story of Ester Exhibition, Palazzo Grimani

Veronese descends on Palazzo Grimani

After a long, complex restoration, these spectacular canvases that normally soar overhead in Chiesa San Sebastiano have been brought down to earth at Palazzo Grimani until July 24.

Story of Ester Exhibition, Palazzo Grimani

A must, must see.

Cupola, Palazzo Grimani, Venezia

The Palazzo Grimani, unique in the city for construction and style (more Roman that Venetian, really) is a site too rarely seen by the first-time traveler, but one that should be at the top of any returning visitor’s list. The palace is unusual not only for its style, but also in that it does not host large permanent art collection — which the building’s unusual (for Venice) architectural features are in primo piano, brought to the fore.

The absence of a large art collection also makes the Grimani the ideal display case for temporary exhibits like the one there now, Veronese’s The Story of Ester Revealed. Until they are once again reinstalled in their original position on the ceiling of the San Sebastiano Church — which is chock full of other Veronese works and where the artist himself is buried — each of these three magnificent canvases occupies its own room, lit perfectly to highlight the over two-year restoration directed by Giulio Manieri Elia and funded by Save Venice.

The process of the restoration is introduced in a video on the piano nobile, and highlighted in illustrated panels created for each canvas…but you could remain in total ignorance of Veronese, Ester, Grimani and all the rest and still be wowed by these magnificent works.

Veronese exhibition, Palazzo Grimani, Venice

Veronese, The Story of Ester

Museo di Palazzo Grimani?
Ramo Grimani 4858, Castello (off the Ruga Giuffa below Campo Santa Maria Formosa)

Thru July 24, 2011

Mon 9 – 2pm
Tue – Sun, 9am -7pm
Ticket office closes 4 minutes prior

€7, €5 reduced

Info: +39  041-520 0345


When is a typewriter store a work of art?

Ah, but it’s not really a store, and it’s not just any typewriter. It’s the Negozio Olivetti — and a pièce de resistance of architect Carlo Scarpa.

This is the first article by a new contributor, Gioia Tiozzo. Gioia is a journalist, born in Venice and still living here. She’s interested in communication and the Internet, and would like others to know her city better; to that end she has established the web site (in Italian for now, but scan her daily photo blog). Gioia is also interested in the concept of Venice as a water city, and given that water is an indispensable element of life, how important it is to have great respect for it.

Gioia will be submitting articles of interest from time to time, with me translating them. When I received this first one on the recently-restored Negozio Olivetti, I ran right out and shot the photos. Welcome, Gioia!


After years of closure and a 12-month restoration, the magnificent showplace for historic Olivetti office machines has returned to take its rightful place on the Piazza.

Designed by renowned architect Carlo Scarpa (who also is responsible for the impeccable renovation in the basement of the Querini Stampalia), the Negozio is considered a masterpiece of modern art. Conceived in the ‘60s, it has never been a point of sale of typewriters and calculators, but rather the prestigious company’s elegant exhibition hall overlooking one of most beautiful and famous squares in the world. Closed in 1997, the following year Negozio sold tourist paraphernalia. But the restoration in 2010 supervised by the Superintendence for Architectural Heritage has restored all the property’s complex beauty, making it once again available for all to enjoy.

Negozio Olivetti’s story began in 1958 when captain of industry Adriano Olivetti asked Scarpa, one of the greatest architects of the twentieth century, to create a space that would represent the Olivetti company and their products. The result is a space of linear perfection where light and elegance interact flawlessly. Marble, mosaic tiles, glass, water and wood are integrated so seamlessly that the entire space becomes a work of art in and of itself. The marble staircase that leads from the ground to the upper floor is today considered a symbol of Scarpa’s modern art; the colored glass mosaic floor a gesture of his abiding affection for  the city. Reflections and transparencies create a sense of incredible volume to this long, narrow space just over 20 meters long and 5 meters wide.


With the desire to open an exhibition venue in Venice, Adriano Olivetti was pioneering the idea of partnering art with industry, and therefore with sustainability. An art patron who called on Scarpa to embark on an artistic adventure managed to create what is today considered an important work of modern art. The idea of being an entrepreneur and investing in works of architecture able to leave a distinctive mark over time, was one of the elements that distinguished Adriano Olivetti.

The Negozio Olivetti is on the “Quadri” side of the Piazza San Marco, toward the Correr.

Open Tue – Sun, 10-19 (Apr – Oct), 10-17 (Nov – Mar)
€5 entrance fee (full price)

Audio tours are available in Italian only at the time of this writing (in Italian)

The property is owned by Assicurazioni Generali and has been loaned to the FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano, Italian Environmental Fund), who manages it through volunteer participation.



We love you Lino…

LINO TAGLIAPIETRA — From Murano to Studio Glass: works 1954 – 2011

This is Murano Glass (or at least a marvelous rendition of how it has evolved.)

So many travelers come to Venice having heard of Murano’s fame for hot glass, but knowing little else about it. Unfortunately, the best way to acquire some context of this complicated subject is not necessarily from someone trying to sell it to you. Murano seems to be waking up to this idea, thankfully, with inexpensive tours they offer, the current exhibit at the Correr, and now this extraordinary retrospective of master artist Lino Tagliapietra (tah-ya-pee-eh-tra– his first ever in Italy, believe it or not.

Tagliapietra is one of the most famous of the contemporary Murano artists, and in the tradition of Seguso, conceptualizes, designs, and then creates his own works. Tagliapietra has also been an ambassador for Murano glass, one of the few traveling extensively around the world to share his work, his approach, and his Murano life and tradition. “Lino thinks in glass,” is the quote from Rosa Barovier, co-curator of the exhibition and grand dame of the oldest glass-producing family on the island.

The exhibit opens with a brief film, after which you’ll wander through decades of the captivating results of Lino’s artistic thought process: a rich and diverse collection ranging from exquisite examples of scintillating color, to more involved sculptures incorporating techniques that add just enough dimension to exalt without encumbering.

If you have any interest whatsoever in Murano Glass, choosing either this exhibit, the one at the Correr, or if you can manage it, combining the two (the Correr first) would be extraordinarily satisfying activity — and guaranteed to improve your glass awareness in the process.

From Murano to Studio Glass. Works 1954 – 2011

though May 22, 2011
Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti (vaporetto Accademia, San Samuele)
On the Grand Canal at the base of the Accademia Bridge
+39 041 5237819
Tues – Sun, 10 am – 7 pm (ticket office closes at 6 pm) 
Tickets €7, €5 reduced. Call for group prices


Curated by Rosa Barovier Mentasti and Sandro Pezzoli, hosted by the Istituto Veneto di Scienze Lettere ed Arti and Civita Tre Venezie, sponsored by the Regione del Veneto, under the aegis of the Provincia di Venezia and the Comune di Venezia, in association with Venezia Iniziative Culturali. The official exhibition partner is the Scaletta di Vetro gallery.

Rialto Fish Market non se ne va (not going anywhere)

“The Tronchetto fish market will not be moved” affirms Venice Mayor Giorgio Orsoni

It’s as official as it gets around here. According to the press release, neither the wholesale fish market at Tronchetto nor the Rialto Fish Market are in any danger of disappearing:

“‘The Tronchetto [wholesale] fish market will not be moved.’ That was the affirmation Venice Mayor Orsoni at the press conference yesterday. Orsoni stressed to journalists the position of the Administration on sustaining the fish market’s location, seeking to officially calm the fears of Rialto fish vendors:

‘The Rialto Fish Market was never at any risk, and its vendors, with whom I met about 10 days ago, can sleep well. The historic Rialto market is a Venetian patrimony, and any decision must be made with its care in mind. The hypothetical transfer of Tronchetto to Fusina was only that – from the beginning – proposed only to evaluate the feasibility.

During the last few weeks, qualified assessors along with vendors have taken a close look at the situation at the Tronchetto wholesale market: the structure itself is in sore need modernization and, with this goal in mind, a number of restructuring projects will be devised that will be able to satisfy everyone’s needs.'”

The fear was that if the wholesale market was moved from Tronchetto to Fusina, the logistics would make getting fresh fish to the Rialto Market would be impossible. For locals, if the fish isn’t fresh, it’s not worth eating. Having something so precious at stake in a city where residents already feel they have no say in decisions of this type, had rumors flying — let’s hope the actions to renovate the Trochetto market are the end of this discorso.


“Il mercato ittico del Tronchetto non sarà spostato”. È quanto ha affermato oggi nel corso di una conferenza stampa il sindaco di Venezia Giorgio Orsoni. Il sindaco ha sottolineato agli operatori dell’informazione l’interesse dell’Amministrazione verso il mantenimento del mercato del pesce al Tronchetto tranquillizzando così gli operatori dell’ittico di Rialto:

“Il mercato di Rialto non ha mai corso alcun rischio e i suoi operatori, che ho incontrato una decina di giorni fa, possono dormire sonni tranquilli. Lo storico mercato rialtino è un patrimonio per la città e qualsiasi decisione deve essere presa in ragione della sua tutela. L’ipotesi di un trasferimento del mercato ittico dal Tronchetto a Fusina era tutta da vagliare e da approfondire e come tale è sempre stata considerata sin dall’inizio.

In queste settimane gli assessori competenti hanno affrontato un percorso con gli operatori dell’ingrosso: le strutture del Tronchetto – ha aggiunto il sindaco – hanno necessità di essere ammodernate e, in questo senso, approfondiremo alcuni progetti di ristrutturazione che possano soddisfare le esigenze di tutti.”


The Closing of the Rialto Fish Market? Sign the petition to Just Say No.

Relocation of the Tronchetto Wholesale Market to Fusina Announced

The Loss of the Pescheria Rialto Fish Market Appalls Fisherman, Locals, Travelers

Below you’ll find an article that Google and I translated from the original in La Nuova Venezia. I’ve added some comments for clarification, and although I’ve done some nosing around, I don’t feel like I have enough info to feel completely informed. I hate to jump to conclusions, but just in case it might help…please SIGN the PETITION to let the powers that be know that even though you may not live in the city, the Rialto Fish Market is important to you. (The petition is in Italian, but fairly straightforward — see additional instructions at the end of the article.)

The longer I live here, the more I am convinced that this fish is some of the sweetest and freshest to be found anywhere. Moving the wholesale market to Fusina would certainly increase the cost of fish (already high) and for fishermen make the logistics of transport to the central market at the Rialto impractical and cost prohibitive. Keep in mind that the fish you find at the Rialto (and at other markets in the city) are more often that not, still alive, because they’ve just been delivered fresh from the catch. How many other fish markets can make this claim?

If you have an opinion, please register it by signing the petition, at least. Tell all the cruise passengers you know, too — it’s the Port that’s organizing this move. What a shame.


From the original article published in La Nuova Venezia (Alberto Vitucci), with additional comments and clarifications:

VENICE. The Rialto is at risk of losing one of its most famous symbols: the Pescheria, or fish market.

This could be the eventual outcome of the announced transfer of the wholesale market from Tronchetto to Fusina, the former Alumix areas. Located away from the “living” lagoon, it’s practically inaccessible to fishermen and traders in Venice.

[Note: Fusina is over 3.5 miles SW of Tronchetto, the current location of the Venice wholesale fish market, just beyond Piazzale Roma. The new location would be build on land, not located on the lagoon. It’s an industrial area inappropriate for fishing.]

And it’s more than a hypothesis, given that Port Authority’s drawings and plans for the new land structure are already being passed around among experts. The operators of the Fish Market, fifteen companies that supply fresh fish for retail throughout the city, are preparing for battle.

“We’ve requested an urgente meeting with the Mayor Giorgio Orsoni,” they say, “we’ll explain that the transfer of the wholesale market will decree the death of the Pescheria and the Rialto Market.”

The project is entering its operational phase. For some time the Port Authority, owner of the area where there wholesale market stands, has reclaimed possession. The parking area in front of the market is to become a roundabout at the exit from the Marittima cruise port. And the area now occupied by the fish market will be transformed into new facilities for large cruise ships, given the proximity of the docks.

It’s a project that risks being “devastating” for the city and in particular for the fish market at the Pescheria [which has existed at the Rialto — the center of all economic activity and commercial life of the Venetian Republic from its inception, before the year 1000.], say the fisherman.

For retailers to reach the city center from Fusina would be impossible and impractical. The reason is the distance of Fusina from the city, the lagoon, and the market itself. The lagoon fisherman [many from Burano, for example, at the opposite end of the lagoon, 10 miles or 16 km from the new wholesale market] will hardly be able get the fish across the lagoon to Fusina, then back to the Pescheria in the city’s center in time for retail sale — especially in inclement weather, in winter, in open boats, facing a bora or garbin wind. Today they go directly by boat from Tronchetto to Rialto. To transport fish from Fusina would demand both truck and boat — too much time and cost prohibitive.

The first consequence of the relocation would be the increase of fish from abroad and even frozen [abhored by locals, as it immediately reduces the quality for which Venice is famous] and reduction of the native species available from the lagoon.

Finally Fusina, located in an industrial zone, is not an ideal place for trade in fish, an activity that had taken place for centuries in the lagoon waters and Rialto.

Perhaps more convenient for Padova, the new location of the wholesale market would be prohibitive for the Venetian locals, and would represent yet another productive activity evicted from the lagoon through the work of a public institution (the Port).

In addition to the operators of Rialto, however, many citizens and even travelers who love Venice and its wonderful traditions. intend to give battle to avoid the death of a tradition and the closure of the Pescheria, says everyone.



Go to this link. Enter your first name, last name, e-mail, and a password. You may also enter a comment in English.

You will receive a confirmation link at the e-mail you provided. Just click the link and your signature will be registered. (You’ll see a request for a donation — this has nothing to do with whether your signature will be added, though.)