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Published: 02 October 2013

By Andy Ross

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Venice and the Biennale

I apologise, dear readers, for the lack of newsletter last week. We were in Venice and, although I had intentions of writing, there was no internet connection. I hope this makes up for it!

Venice is a beautiful city, as we all know. Sunrise over the Grand Canal Sunrise over the Grand CanalIt is quiet because of the lack of vehicles although boats and ships take their place, and away from the main tourist attractions such as the Doges' Palace and St Mark's Square, small alleyways and archways beckon. So we spent our week exploring the city and seeing the Biennale. This is what we found.

Everywhere you look in Venice, there is colour and pattern, texture and shape. Mosaic on the Basilica Mosaic on the BasilicaFrom the magnificent Basilica and Doges' Palace to the dramatic views of the Grand Canal, the city is bathed in light which shows off the craft of the stonemasons and mosaic makers of the past. Leopard eating a bees nest Leopard eating a bees nestDon't you love the leopard eating a bees nest on the top of this column and the wonderful mosaics above the entrance to the Basilica?

Mosaics above the entrance to the Basilica Mosaics above the entrance to the Basilica

But what about these pictures? They are of the graffiti and street art of Venice. In spite of the hordes of visitors each year (apparently up to 50,000 a day!), the city lives on, celebrating and protesting through art.

We did the usual visitor attractions including Peggy Guggenheim's art collection where a small stone seat caught my eye because of the carved lettering set into the top.

The Biennale is on at the moment, one of the reasons we went. Two days and we did not see it all but we did see some amazing things. There is a separate post for our favourite pieces but some of those we liked were:-


Portugal boat Portugal boatthe underwater scenes on the floating Portuguese boat, made out of knitting, crochet, sewing and lights! the amazing brocades and printed fabrics of the Venice pavilion which features fabric from the Bevilacqua weavers and other textile pieces including an amazing pod covered with velvet and mirrored on the inside; The Bahamian pavilion with its curious and whimsical focus on the North Pole was a winner too. Who would have thought that the tropics and the polar wastes could have so much in common. My favourite was the upside-down explorer surrounded by humming birds while the snowy owl was also much admired.

There is much more and many more pictures. I will put some on Flickr if you would like to see more of the city and the Biennale.