This visit to Venice was my second. Because of this I didn’t have the compulsion to visit all the tourist spots. This freed us up to simply live like Venetians for a few days. Which is exactly what we did.
We bought pastries and coffee at a local pasticceria every morning. Strolled around the neighbourood. Went to the supermarket. We avoided any food sellers with photos of their food in the window, English menus and people pulling you in from the doorway.
My one and only tourism must-do was a leisurely 7 minutes walk away.
We got up early to visit Peggy Guggenheim’s collection and there were very few people there at opening. I found myself alone at times in a room – just me and art, and space. To look, to breathe, to absorb, to listen (to the audio guide) to think, and to simply be in the presence of.
This is bliss.
We had locals recommend restaurants that were divine in Thierry understated simplicity and fresh originality. We and took naps, watched a movie when it rained on our laptop and generally just relaxed. No stress, no crowds, no shoving or rudeness, no rushing to be anywhere.
This is luxury.
We passed the men in the tiny corner bacari drinking morning and night. We drank Apertivo in the early evening and snacked on cicchetti (Traditional fresh lagoon foods). By the time we left we knew our neighborhood well and the map had been retired after only a day.
On the last morning we grabbed a croissant from our local and ate it standing, watching people walking their dogs or heading to work. Some by foot, some by boat.
This is a holiday.
Art makes me teary. I’ve cried during extraordinary dance performances, in palaces and in front of monuments. I’ve cried at the concerts of living legends (Celine Dion and Prince – that was you) and I’ve cried in nature.
Tears are my litmus test for art. Defined for me by moments in my life that have touched my heart. Squeezed it so quickly and so firmly that my eyes leak pure concentrated joy.
Most recently it happened in the Palazzo Pitti, specifically in the Galleria Palatina (a room so stunningly beautiful as to make you grateful to have eyes that see). My eyes leaked because the room is currently hosting an exhibition of the photographs of Karl Lagerfeld.
Each photo is printed onto meters of transparent fabric that is suspended from the ceiling. As you move throughout the room the images sway to and fro. They are majestic and reverential. Chandeliers the size of mini coopers punctuate the room.
I want to lie down on the floor and stay in this room forever. I resist the urge. It’s not possible.
Karl and Karl…
I see you Cate Blanchett…
Chandeliers add an otherworldly effect through the fabric…
Modern art meets the masters with more Lagerfeld photos placed throughout the palace…
Sunglasses are always in vogue…
Diamonds & pearls…Chanel artifacts within the costume exhibit.
Classic enduring Chanel.
Sunset and the city of Firenze.
I promise the hike up to Piazzale Michelangelo is worth every butt aching step.
As soon as I arrived in Florence I wanted to see the city from above, to get perspective and depth. Piazzale Michelangelo gives you this. Go at sunset for bonus romantic mood enhancing lighting.
Ponte Vecchio (old bridge) is a medieval stone enclosed arch bridge over the Arno river. Beautiful to view from afar, and Wonderful to traverse if like me you a) like to browse in stores, and b) enjoy history and historical monuments.
The Arno river flows through Italy out to the Tyrrhenian Sea. Each day I saw it on my stay in Florence it had a different character. Still and smooth, swift and textured. It is described as an irregular river because it’s flow changes so much, naturally this gives it considerable beauty:
Special mention must go to the clouds of Florence who have put on a beautiful display in my few days here. Fluffy, wispy, golden, ethereal and menacing (sometimes) – never ever boring.
Clet Abraham is responsible for making me giggle all over Florence with his street sign witticisms.
His art is graffiti of the gentlest kind and is created with stickers that can be removed. Instead the city decommissions signs and he buys them back and offers them for sale from his studio.
Naturally I’m on the hunt for a work of his depicting a cat & mouse but hunting these four (in the montage) down kept me amused for most of the morning today.
I love traveling when I get where I’m going but the travel itself… That I could skip. Give me a pill and wake me when we get there.
My ankles swell beyond recognition and my skin dries out so that I arrive at my destination resembling a raisin.
Jet lag hit me like a truck in London on the flight to Milan. I could not resist sleep. So I slept and drooled. (Probably)
I stayed awake on the train to Florence and promptly fell asleep again as soon as I sat down at our accommodation.
So the tiredness won but thankfully the raisin face is a thing of the past. Luckily for me I’ve been schooled on in-flight skin care by those in the know. I take my make-up off. I hydrate, then I hydrate and after that I hydrate before I apply a new face of make-up. Pure bliss.
Clinique moisture surge face spray is my Bff on a long haul flight as is moisture surge thirst relief. I slather that stuff on like my life depends upon it. Even the flight attendants comment on how fresh I look at the end of the flight.
Serendipity came into play when the day before we flew out Clinique had their bonus offer. I needed a new mascara and I always need more moisture surge so I was able to bring a new bag of tricks on the plane in the form of mini products to try.
This is the third of four flights and excitement is mounting with each embarking.
I love sleep more than I love most things however this morning I got up super early, sent important work emails before 6:20am, ate a delicious cafe breakfast with my lovely husband, stopped to enjoy the sunrise on Oriental Bay beach, met a 5 month old border collie (the complete vision of cuteness and joy), killed time in the comfort and luxury of the Koru lounge while reading interesting and heartwarming articles online.
Now I sit on a plane watching people board. Listening to the warm and cheery greetings of the flight attendants as passengers board.
This getting up early lark pays off.
It’s been a good morning.