The New Year in town

The New Year in town

The glimpse of a rio (canal) from the balustrade of one of the many bridges linking over one hundred small invisible islands on which the town almost seems to float… It is one of the most frequent, and at the same time, unique views which we encounter on walking through the calli (streets) in town. Our cover page depicts a typically winter one.

It is hard not to stop at least for a moment to take a look. The canals are a genuine part of the urban fabric, the way that roads are in every city. Thanks to the tides, this vital fluid flows through these arteries, on which men, goods and… history, “flow” in their turn.

History, like what may be recounted by the Grand Canal and its most famous bridge, the Rialto, restored a few days ago to its original splendour, thanks to a challenging restoration project carried out through the efforts of a well-known Italian entrepreneur.

A series of events provided by the Municipality and institutions to complement the rich monumental and museum Venetian scenario, are flanked by suggestions you can simply pick up by strolling aimlessly around the city. The billboard this month can only begin from the New Year’s Concert, a traditional “opening” on the most prestigious music stage in town, La Fenice Grand Theatre. Divided into two parts, a first a purely orchestral one, and a second one dedicated to melodrama, it will celebrate the occasion with the classic toast on Giuseppe Verdi’s notes.

Always on the first day of the year, but at the Lido, along the Blue Moon stretch of beach where the first bathing establishments were born in the late Nineteenth century, it will be possible to watch (or join…) a special event, a dip in the sea. The protagonists of this event are the so-called “hibernists”, a handful of men (and women) with a passion for the beach and its romantic (and decidedly alternative) winter season.

The programme includes a festive immersion in the sea and a toast, in a simple and informal atmosphere, accompanied by music and a well-wishing tasting of pork trotter and lentils.

From the sea to the Grand Canal, from the pleasures of a casual environment to one distinguished by art values: another opportunity for toasting the first day of the year is offered by the famous Peggy Guggenheim Collection. It will be possible to toast the new year in its historic home with a spritz, the most classic of Venetian aperitifs. Moreover, this may be the occasion, in addition to its famed collection, to visit the splendid temporary exhibition on Tancredi, an artist with a brilliant and bohemian life, who died very young, and marked a crucial moment in the American collector’s life.

Other opportunities to begin the year with a flourish are offered by some large museums, confirming their opening in spite of the holiday on January 1, among them, the Doge’s Palace, the Correr Museum, Ca’Pesaro and the Museum of Glass in Murano. Among the exhibitions open during the month, we remind you of moreover about the ones on the Cadorins, a dynasty of Venetian artists, at the venue of Palazzo Fortuny; on Han Meilin, the well-known Chinese artist at the exhibition space at Ca’ Foscari;

on the original painter Titina Maselli at the Querini Stampalia Foundation; on contemporary production in Murano, Murano Today, at the Museum of Glass.

We recommend to those who are in town over the festive period (until 8 January), the exhibitions dedicated to the nineteenth-century Venetian landscape painter Ippolito Caffi at the Correr Museum; to the famous fashion designer Gabrielle Chanel, at Ca’ Pesaro; to the two great masters of Italian photography, René Burri and Ferdinando Scianna at the Casa dei Tre Oci on the island of the Giudecca and furthermore, to Paolo Venini and his furnace and to the illuminated masterpieces of Vittorio Cini’s Collection, Mindful Hands, displayed at the Giorgio Cini Foundation, on the island of San Giorgio.

Among recent openings and the forthcoming ones, as regards photography we may mention Arctic, the last frontier, at the Casa dei Tre Oci (from Saturday 14 January); Journey in Mesopotamia at the origins of writing, at Palazzo Loredan (from 20 January); Paradise reconquered in Michele Giambono’s painting at the Galleries of the Accademia.

The Venetian scenario cannot of course be devoid of music, represented by La Fenice Theatre, offering an absolutely outstanding billboard with its three opera, symphonic and chamber Seasons, and prose, represented by another important institution, the Carlo Goldoni Resident Theatre.

Among the various events for their billboards we may recall the concerts by Risto Josst (Malibran Theatre) and by Marek Janowski; the Tannhäuser opera by Richard Wagner (at the Fenice); Romeo and Juliet for ballet and The jealous women for commedia dell’arte, at the Goldoni.

We mentioned suggestions and events, but there is something more available in the city, that is equally tempting, at least for many: it is offered by its parade of shops, boutiques, craft-shops, art and antique galleries.

It is an opportunity confirmed during this month by the sales and special offers period promoted by all major brands on the market, from the fashion industry to luxury accessories, to the historic brands in town and to manufacturers of artistic glass and textiles.

A Guest in Venice is listing a few of these brands, certain that their image represents the value and quality Venice has always been proud of, in every field.