Christmas in Venice


Beauty, harmony and humanity… are what we glean from the details of this famous painting by Giovanni Bellini, one of the fathers of great Venetian painting, whom we and the city thus wish to remember 500 years after his demise.

It is the Presentation at the temple, an extraordinary artwork, now preserved in one of the many art containers in town, the art gallery at the Querini Stampalia Foundation, an artwork which we wanted to reproduce for this Christmas issue due to its theme, also in order to remember the many, too many, young mothers who are obliged due to human folly to leave their home, their family, and their land with their children …

But let’s return to what has always been our vocation, providing information on everything the city offers its guests. Here are some quick hints, while details may be found instead within the sections inside.

Let us start with the art exhibitions. Even in winter, choices remains top-tier.

Venice and the Orient are the focusing topics for Ippolito Caffi, a sophisticated Nineteenth century landscape painter, in a substantial exhibition at the Correr museum. We then find visual poetry, but of a totally different kind, at Ca’ Venier dei Leoni, Peggy Guggenheim’s museum-home: in this instance, the protagonist is Tancredi Parmeggiani, a highly original artist from the second half of the Twentieth century. Titina Maselli, another sophisticated Twentieth century Italian artist, recently rediscovered by critics, is hosted instead at the Querini Stampalia Foundation, with a selection of about twenty artworks (from 3 December). Two more important Venetian residences, Ca’ Foscari (the historic seat of Venice University) and Palazzo Pesaro degli Orfei, better known as Palazzo Fortuny, are respectively hosting the exhibition on Han Meilin, an important exponent of Chinese contemporary art, and the one on the Cadorins, the history of a family and its three generations of artists, architects, musicians and photographers working in Venice between the Nineteenth and the Twentieth century.

Again, do not miss the two exhibitions set up in the venues at the Giorgio Cini Foundation: Mindful Hands, a selection of 120 miniatures coming from the collections of Count Vittorio Cini, and Paolo Venini and his furnaces, for the cycle dedicated to Twentieth century glass.

Additionally, Burri and Scianna for photography at the Casa dei Tre Oci; the Under Water installation by Fabrizio Plessi at the Fondaco dei Tedeschi for the contemporary; the Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation Young Artists Collective, achieving the prestigious

milestone of one hundred editions.

The exhibitions offering is followed by the playbill for shows, with La Fenice Theatre presenting five performances this month of Attila by Verdi and four concerts for its Symphonic Season, including two in the extraordinary ambience of Saint Mark’s Basilica. Three more will be added to the latter, in anticipation of the now traditional New Year’s concert.

An extensive programme of concerts, usually classical music performed in palaces and churches in town, will complement La Fenice calendar. We remind fans of other genres of the sixth Jazz Fest edition, programmed until 4 December in various venues, including the Ca’ Foscari Theatre and the Auditorium at San Servolo.

Another important programme, this time in the domain of drama, is offered in town by the Resident Theatre named after Carlo Goldoni, the Venetian playwright par excellence. Its billboard features a performance for New Year’s Eve of Romeo and Juliet, an amusing and thrilling story which will take spectators back to Sixteenth century Venice.

Then add a Christmas atmosphere to the many events, embodied by the presence of numerous churches and their nativity cribs, by the lighting and the street-markets (the most important is the one in Campo San Maurizio) and by the sequence of sparkling shop windows decorated for this great festivity, beginning with those at the spectacular new T Fondaco luxury centre, the first in Europe, recently opened by DFS Group in front of Rialto, up to the equally appealing ones in Saint Mark’s Square, along the Mercerie and in Via XXII Marzo.

If the Saint Mark area will be distinguished by the sophistication of its lights and the big party in the Square for New Year’s Eve, the district of Dorsoduro, on the opposite bank of the Grand Canal, will surprise its visitors with My Christmas Venice, a special itinerary which will present 16 Christmas trees specially created for the occasion by as many artists, from 7 December. Not only, this Christmas trail will be accompanied by a cycle of concerts in the Salute Basilica and a series of entertainments and opportunities offered by churches, museums, shops and restaurants all over the area.

The islands too, will not miss the opportunity of getting together to celebrate this period and welcome their visitors. Venezia Nativa, a consortium associating the islands of Burano, Mazzorbo and Torcello for enhancing their territory, will roll out a series of initiatives for the occasion, to allow a Christmas experience in the most genuine atmosphere of the lagoon.