Kempinski Blog Article
The magical winding waterways of Venice are famous all over the world, with tens of millions of tourists travelling to the UNESCO world heritage site every year. Visitors can discover the city’s iconic landmarks, such as the 11th century St Mark’s Basilica, while navigating the 42 kilometres of canals on elegant gondolas.
But many will leave this unique city without really getting under its skin; unknowingly floating by a wealth of hidden sights and secrets. In this guide, we will walk you through some of the lesser-known Venetian highlights so you can really make the most of your next trip.
The Great Plague of the 16th century hit Venice hard, wiping out a huge proportion of the population. When its deadly presence was finally eradicated from the city, the authorities celebrated with a procession to one of the nearby islands, before constructing the Redentore Church.
Fast forward over 400 years and Venetians still mark the third weekend of July with a huge festival. The Festa del Redentore, features an enormous fireworks display, designed to symbolise the purifying fires which plague doctors used to clear the air.
This year to mark the occasion, San Clemente Palace Kempinski Venice created a special six-course evening menu at the Acquerello restaurant, from which diners could enjoy the magic of the fireworks above the stunning Venice skyline.
In the Good Books
The famous canal system may do wonders for tourism and transport in the city, but it does leave the waterfront buildings and businesses dangerously vulnerable to flooding.
One particularly innovative and resourceful entrepreneur has embraced this watery risk in the most creative of ways. Venice resident Luigi Frizzo runs a canal-side library, and to protect his precious stock of books from the inevitable floods he displays them in a variety of bathtubs and gondolas.
The Libreria Acqua Alta provides a quirky insight into the reality of living among Venice’s famous waterways, and visitors can experience the sense of humour and inventiveness which is so instilled in the locals who call it home.
Venice, rather than being a single, but dissected land mass, is actually made up of a collection of over 100 small islands. One of these is the luxuriously private San Clemente, nestled in the idyllic Venetian Lagoon.
The island has a long and fascinating history, with some of the oldest buildings dating back to the 12th century. San Clemente Church, found amongst the grounds of San Clemente Palace Kempinski Venice, was built in 1131, making it the oldest structure on the island. It was originally installed as a place of worship and shelter for pilgrims and soldiers destined for the Holy Lands.
The significance of the building was highlighted in 1288 when the church was chosen to house the relics of Saint Anianus - the first successor of the apostle Saint Mark as leader of the church in Alexandria.
The church’s intriguing past, Romanesque white façade and uninterrupted views over the lagoon make it a thoroughly worthwhile addition to any Venetian itinerary.
Art and beauty
Italy is home to some of the world’s greatest art museums and has produced some of the most gifted artists of all time. While Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Caravaggio will deservedly attract the majority of attention, if you go beyond the surface of the Italian art scene you will discover a new generation of talent aiming to emulate their famous predecessors.
The Galleria Bevilacqua La Masa exhibits work from Venice’s up and coming art students, providing a platform to those looking to get a foothold in the notoriously competitive industry.
Alternatively, drop into the Malandrin Art Studio to view the gorgeous selection of watercolours created by an amazing father and son duo. The gallery also showcases the son, Lorenzo’s, exquisite portfolio of Venetian photographs, allowing tourists a glimpse into their everyday lives.
If you are planning a trip to Venice, we would love to help you plan your itinerary. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at San Clemente Palace Kempinski.