December, at least in the Western world, symbolically represents Christmas.
The atmosphere that leads to the Advent inevitably characterizes the image of every city, however in the case of Venice, it does not change that mentioned spirit that has always distinguished this town.
As the first lights of Christmas are turned on and the incessant flow of tourism diminishes, at least in the first part of the month, visitors will be able to better appreciate the nature of the town and its people, observe with more calm and freedom its treasures, experience its events.
Here then, is some advice.
St Mark’s Basilica
It is a place not to be missed for its spiritual, artistic and architectural values and of course for being the protagonist of past events for over a millennium of history. It is sufficient to think that the remains of the evangelist Mark have been preserved here since the ninth century and that Popes, patriarchs, doges and kings have passed on its extraordinary mosaics.
Beyond the faith one may carry within, it deserves a visit in this period more than ever, especially during Christmas, which represents the universal message of Peace.
During this month two great events dedicated to the great Christian celebration will take place: the Christmas Concert conducted by Marco Gemmani, organized by La Fenice Theatre (unfortunately by invitation-only) and two Solemn Masses (on the night of Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day) officiated by the Patriarch of Venice.
La Fenice Theatre
Every year it represents one of the great opportunities to experience the town through its events. We’re referring to the New Year Concert or rather to the Concerts, yes, for there will be a good three of them, in addition to the one held as usual on the morning of the first of the year.
These concerts, under the musical direction of the maestro Daniel Harding, will offer the opportunity to celebrate the end and then the beginning of the new year and also to discover this extraordinary theatre and to listen to some among the most beautiful pieces of Italian opera.
The theatre billboard will also offer many other occasions, including a series of symphonic concerts that will see three great masters on stage: the South Korean Myung-Whun Chung; the Israeli Asher Fish and the Swiss Charles Dutoit.
Additionally, seven performances of the Pop Casanova opera (also on the Fenice programme), the first theatre Musical by Red Canzian and the encore concert-show Twelve notes only by Claudio Baglioni will take place, this time on the stage of the Malibran Theatre.
The Teatro Stabile del Veneto – Carlo Goldoni Theatre
It is the town’s oldest theatre that is still in business, recently marking its 400 year anniversary that Venice will commemorate with a three-year celebration and a project called “Theatre 400. The Travelling Theatre”.
This month features a series of performances dedicated to prose, from the Venetian comic duet of “Carlo and Giorgio” to the two Christmas concerts of the Big Vocal Orchestra and, at the end of the year, a love story interpreted by Andrea Chiodi, from the classic goldonian Gl’innamorati (“The lovers”).
The Art exhibitions
The Biennale’s International Art Exhibition’s echo being recently extinguished, the town is continuing to offer some interesting opportunities starting from the exciting and almost shocking display, created by the famous German artist Anselm Kiefer for the Scrutinio Hall of the Doge’s Palace.
Regarding the contemporary, we also mention the important exhibition that the Venetian seat of the Pinault Foundation, Palazzo Grassi, dedicates to Marlene Dumas, one of the most influential and at the same time controversial artists of the international scene.
A few steps away, at the feet of the Accademia Bridge, Palazzo Franchetti offers the experience ofanother exciting exhibition dedicated to two great protagonists of the 20th century Lee Miller, fashion and art photographer, but also photojournalist and model, and Man Ray, famous artist, photographer and director: the focus of the exhibition is the turbulent relationship that blossomed between the two in Paris in 1929.
Beyond the same bridge we find the Accademia Galleries. Among its rooms (some currently closed for restoration work) it is possible to admire the comparison between two extraordinary paintings with the same subject, “The Madonna and Child”, painted by Giovanni and Jacopo Bellini – father and son respectively – interpreters of the great Venetian Renaissance: the first, coming from the Pinacoteca of the Castello Sforzesco in Milan, the second recently returned to its original splendour thanks to careful restoration work.
We also mention, among others, the interactive exhibition aimed at the potential of the human mind A World of Potential, presented by Human Safety Net in its splendid recently restored venue at the Procuratie Vecchie and the Venini Luce 1921- 1985 exhibition at the Stanze del Vetro, in the island of San Giorgio.
For photography enthusiasts there is still the Fabio Zonta’s exhibition dedicated to the work of Canova and another exhibit focused on the massive archive of the Venetian photographer Graziano Arici, visible at the Correr Museum and the Querini Stampalia Foundation.
As for the museums, lastly, we point out some special openings and the extended hours of the Correr Museum and the Doge’s Palace.