Venice in the winter

This too is Venice: a sprinkle of snow along the quay of Saint Mark, the reflection of a languid ray of sun on the water, gondolas at bay… a young bride clad in tulle. Love for this city has no limits and a wedding in this town may represent the ultimate seal to such love, and to one’s own.

Thus has Venice always struck hearts with its timeless atmospheres, even in winter.

Short days, the cold, fog and high water at times, are not negative elements here, on the contrary, they are part of a “way of being” of the city, which often makes it more real and intimate.

The atmosphere at night, for instance, increases the charm of this period even further. Walking along almost deserted alleys and quays, guided by the sound of footsteps or the faint light of streetlamps is in itself a pleasure that few cities can offer.

Besides, here as elsewhere, winter urges the search for shelter. Here, then, are endless possibilities. There are hotels and museums with the flavour of ancient dwellings, elegant theatres, welcoming restaurants, cafes and pubs, glittering boutiques, art and craftsmanship galleries.

Then there are events, meaning temporary showcases, which have always been the pride of the city. One of them, traditionally opening the new year, the New Year Concert, has become a must within the Venetian calendar. Its scenario, La Fenice Grand Theatre, a true temple of music, is unique, and offers the pomp of its original setting.

The concert, conducted by maestro Myung-Whun Chung, and broadcast live by RAI, will be followed during the month by a series of shows, including two symphony concerts conducted by Jeremie Rhorer and a series of performances of Traviata by Verdi and Werther by Massenet. Concerning theatre again, but for prose this time, the Carlo Goldoni Resident Theatre is presenting a packed programme of shows, including The taming of the shrew, The Nutcracker ballet and a show by the Lopez-Solenghi comedian duo.

Regarding exhibitions, Venice offers a broad range of choice as usual, at least for the first period of the month. Until 6 January this panorama is offering the two exhibitions dedicated to that great figure of the Venetian Renaissance, Jacopo Robusti, named Tintoretto, visible at the Ducal Palace and at the Galleries of the Accademia. Also until the 6th, the anthological one on Albert Oehlen at Palazzo Grassi; sophisticated production by the Cappellin glassworks at the Rooms of Glass on the island of San Giorgio; the retrospective on French photographer Willy Ronis at the Casa dei Treoci, and also the famous painting cycle “The Poem of old age” by Angelo Morbelli at Ca’ Pesaro.

Until 14 January there is also the lovely retrospective on Osvaldo Licini, the protagonist of Italian modernism at the Guggenheim Collection venues. We end instead on the 20th with the fascinating Idols exhibition, an excursus on human depiction. While, ongoing, are FutuRuins, an inquiry into the idea attributed by the western world to ruins; Radical, a contemporary art project focusing on glass matter; From Kandinsky to Botero, an interpretation of some famed Twentieth-century masterpieces through textile art; The last days of Bysantium, at Marciana.

Finally, we may recall the Hibernists’ swim on 1st January, a traditional dip in the sea, with a toast open to the public in honour of the new year on the beach at the Lido; the amusing Befane’s regatta in the Grand Canal on 6 January, a suggestive ice skating-rink in San Polo square, and, on the cultural side, Memory Day, on 27 January, at the Jewish Museum.

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