BETWEEN ART AND CRAFTS
A walk in Venice for Christmas shopping through places
of art, crafts, and iconic Venice"calli"

We have just mentioned a town rich in history, art and events where, unfailingly, craftsmanship and creative talent have always flourished. In addition to museums, exhibitions, art galleries and antique galleries there are also artisan workshops and ateliers, innovative boutiques and concept-stores where you can find precious and sophisticated creations.

Thus, here’s an ideal route of some places where one can discover more about an already extraordinary town.

Christmas in Venice
an itinerary in the city

The itinerary that we walk together through the narrow streets of Venice starts from a building known as the Mariano Fortuny House-Museum, today part of the extraordinary heritage of the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia.

The campo from which we start is that of San Beneto, a hidden campo, like many in Venice, which perhaps assumes a particular value for this alone. It can be reached from Calle della Mandola, a busy shopping street that connects Campo Manin to Campo Sant’Angelo. And you can find it on the map alongside marked with the letter A.
The walk winds between the San Marco and Cannaregio districts arriving in the Ghetto of Venice in a path that seems tortuous, but designed to take a different walk from the usual paths even if obviously we will pass through it.

The points listed are a reference for visits, shopping and art.

A – Fortuny Museum – House Museum
B – Micromega Optics
C – Bugno Art Gallery
D – Ely’s Venice Gallery
E – Goldsmith Jewelery Dogale
F – Ely’s Gallery – Cl. Ghetto Vecchio, 1221
G – Ghetto Et Cetera Art Gallery
Each activity described in the walk has a detailed illustrative page dedicated to it.

Itinerary

Our itinerary starts from the St Mark’s district and from a building known as the House-atelier of Mariano Fortuny, now part of the extraordinary heritage of the Civic Museums Foundation of Venice. We are in San Beneto, a hidden campo, like many in the city, which perhaps acquires a particular added value just for this reason. One can get there from Calle della Mandola, a busy shopping street that connects Campo Manin to Campo Sant’Angelo.

Mariano Fortuny, born in Granada in 1871 to a family of artists who moved to Venice in 1889 in the palace already known as Palazzo Pesaro Orfei, was an absolute genius.

In his life he committed himself to painting, engraving, scenography, stage and lighting technique, and applied arts. Along with his wife Henriette Negrin he also conceived fashion creations with applications and creation of fabrics that have gone down in history.

The opportunity to discover, or rather, rediscover this greatly charming place, forge of ideas and inventions, is the opening of the second floor with a new fascinating display of novel items and a focus on the art of engraving collected by Mariano and his father, known painter, and practiced by the two with such originality to influence through styles, themes and procedures the graphics of the time.

Quoting the President of the Venice Museums Foundation, Mariacristina Gribaudi,

“… Here today it is finally possible to discover or rediscover a piece of the history of Venice, perhaps less famous than others, but certainly not less important; an industrious and cultural history, which continues to amaze for creativity and vision”.

From the “kingdom” of Mariano Fortuny and applied arts we move on to the creations of a company that for years has been one of the most famous brands of Venetian eyewear.

Resuming our route from Calle della Mandola, we turn right towards Campo Sant’Angelo and Campo Santo Stefano. Having reached the monument dedicated to Nicolò Tommaseo, we take the left onto Calle dello Spezier and following the flow towards St Mark, after Campo S. Maria del Giglio we will find on the left the refined windows of Micromega.

Here in the shop-laboratory, the founder and patron of the company Roberto Carlon and his team will present their project, born from a long research that resulted in an essential, light and durable product, that has been able to blend the usage of sophisticated technologies with the skill and deep artisan experience that have won over famous customers such as Elton John, Yoko Ono, Norman Foster, Emma Thompson and prestigious reviews from newspapers such as Vogue, Corriere della Sera, The New York Times.

In addition to the store, where the latest creations are on display, Micromega uses a precious Laboratory, (at Fondamenta Zaguri), the beating heart of their production, which combines skill and craftsmanship with the use of sophisticated technologies.

Not only that, nowadays Micromega has been able to combine its production with a promotion of cultural and artistic activities in an initiative called MAC (Micromega Art and Culture) that offers rendez-vous and evenings dedicated to art, literature and poetry in a nearby space in Campo San Maurizio.

Continuing towards St Mark we arrive in Calle Larga XXII Marzo, the street of the big international brands. From here we will take the left onto Calle del Sartor and after a few meters we will find ourselves in Campo San Fantin, distinguished by the facade of the most famous theatre of the town, La Fenice Theatre.

Becoming visible in front of the theatre are the works in an art gallery, one of the best known in town: the Bugno Art Gallery directed by Massimiliano Bugno.

Founded in 1991 and host of two important archives of artists born in the first decade of the twentieth century, those of Armando Pizzinato and Mario De Luigi, it stands out today for the constant research between modernity and contemporaneity, pairing Venetian masters of the twentieth century, such as Santomaso, Guidi, Tramontin, Vedova in addition to the aforementioned two, with more recent artists, such as Mario Schifano and Salvo, the Venetians Morago and Gardenal, the international Joe Tilson and Gavin Rain.

The gallery has also a particular focus aimed at photography, which includes Luca Campigotto, Andrea Morucchio and Marco Zanta among its authors.

The gallery is also joined by another evocative space called “in Corte”, a place dedicated to curatorial projects by already well-known artists.

An ideal meeting place for artists and art lovers, in addition to being in the centre this gallery offers the plus of being situated in one of the pivotal localities of Venetian culture, between La Fenice Great Theatre and the Ateneo Veneto.

Once back in the street, at the corner of the Gallery, we will take the Calle drio la Chiesa to continue till the intersection with Calle dei Fuseri. Crossing the bridge and after a few meters on the right, we will find Ely’s Venice Gallery, a gallery dedicated to one of the symbols of Venice in the world: glass work.

Born from an enthusiast’s idea with the intention of retracing the ancient times, namely to bring back to the town’s heart that artisan spirit which identified Venice not so long ago, this gallery stands out as a real showroom of classic Murano glass sculptures and, at the same time, as a constantly evolving space, able to surprise in different ways every time one visits it.

Here, in an setting that recalls the ancient palaces of the Serenissima, one can admire, along the great classics of tradition such as the rampant horses or the Murano goto (drinking glasses), true collector’s items, like crystal shoes (Cinderella style) or boats with imaginative shapes.

From the art of glass to that of jewellery, the step, at least in our itinerary, is short.

Continuing on the Calle dei Fuseri and arriving in Campo San Luca, the campo that geographically marks the centre of the town, turning immediately right, after the picturesque Orseolo Basin used as a gondola station, we emerge into the scenic St Mark’s Square.

Following the outline of the Old Procuratie (recently re-opened and visitable entering from number 105) we take Calle della Canonica, adjacent to the left side of the Basilica. After crossing the homonymous bridge, from where you can have a view of the famous Bridge of Sighs, on the left we will find the Dogale Jewellery directed by Giorgio Berto, one of the last master goldsmiths left in the town.

With the passion that only a true craftsman can have towards what he considers an art, he manages his atelier along his sons Alessandro and Ursula, refining gold in real time.

Anyone can see him creating small precious and unique objects with their own eyes, like the “Venetian Moretti”, a jewel of ancient tradition, designed to represent the victory of Venice over Turkish pirates and that have been essentially produced at the Dogale since the late 50s.

Other precious proposals are represented by the rings with engraved stones; the Chevalier rings with noble coats of arms and the Vanitas jewels, namely the skull-themed memento mori: from the cheerful and lively ones to those in Mexican or rock style.

Many have passed through the atelier of Giorgio Berto such as the countess Marzotto, the financier Robert de Balkany and demanding customers of the European aristocracy, but also gallerists, designers and great entrepreneurs from all over the world.

We are in St Mark but there is still a place in our ideal itinerary that we would like to showcase. To get there one can choose between a walk of about two kilometres (see our map) or get on an ACTV boatline 2 towards Rialto and get off at the pier of San Marcuola. The destination is now in the heart of the ancient Jewish Ghetto, that area of the town where the Jews were forced to reside – starting from 1516 – during the period of the Republic of Venice.

Today, this is one of the most distinctive spaces of the town, sought for its quietness, its Jewish Museum, its synagogues, but also for its artisan shops, restaurants, art galleries.

Here, along Calle of the Ghetto Vecchio we find the second venue of Ely’s Gallery.

Presented in a characteristic setting among the exposed stones in Calle of the Ghetto Vecchio 1221, it offers a tempting variety of jewellery to its visitors, between tradition and modern looks embellished by the special combination of Jewish tradition and Murano glass.

One can then admire Menorah, Hannukkah and precious objects with sacred images but also precious vintage vases and unique pieces from the most prestigious glassworks.

From here we will continue along the street and its homonymous bridge that will lead to the heart of this area, the Campo of the Ghetto Novo. Our last destination will be the Ghetto et Cetera Gallery, born from the union and the twenty-years of experience of the Melori & Rosenberg Art Gallery.

Here Donatella B. Melori, founder of the historic gallery – the first in the Ghetto area – and Alice Faga, the young and passionate Art director, will continue the original artistic research with this new project by hosting solo exhibitions and offering services for artists want to display their work in Venice, in a space that nowadays is also virtually accessible.

To the temporary exhibitions, the gallery will add the permanent collection showcasing works by Luigi Rocca, a hyperrealist painter inspired by America and in particular by the United States; by Lucia Sarto, from Friuli, known for her style called “Romantic Realism” and also with works by Fabio Colussi, Donatella Bedello, Ari Erom and Giorgio Rocca.

The gallery, with its two windows and the entrance door, faces the Campo of the Ghetto Nuovo, right in front of the new entrance of the Jewish Museum (now undergoing renovations) next to the bridge that leads to the busy Fondamenta degli Ormesini.

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