All work and no play makes anyone a dull boy, to paraphrase a proverb. So on our trip to Italy to review production of the latest Jill Milan collection we took a few days off for a visit to Venice. Venice is one of Italy’s major fashion and shopping centers. Although not always thought of with Milan, Florence or Rome, it nonetheless is home to flagship stores for some of fashion’s name brands and has been credited with creating the concept of the easily recognizable status bag.
So call this a working vacation.

Peering through a footbridge railing at one of Venice’s many canals

Peering through a footbridge railing at one of Venice’s many canals.

 

Just two examples of the many pieces of art in Venice.

Just two examples of the many pieces of art in Venice.

 

Walking the streets of Venice it’s easy to get lost, but somehow that seems OK. It certainly afforded us the opportunity to see what fashion looked like, both in the stores and on the visitors. And every once in a while we’d come across another canal to cross. Speaking of which, piloting a gondola might look peaceful from a distance, but up close it becomes clear just how much athleticism is required.

Gondolas

Gondolas

For centuries gondolas were the chief means of transportation and most common watercraft within Venice. In modern times the iconic boats still have a role in public transport in the city. Looks easy, does it? Yeah, it’s not.

 

The Grand Canal is another icon of the city and forms one of the major water-traffic corridors of Venice. It is lined by more than 170 buildings, including some fine hotels and restaurants. We had an occasion or two to enjoy meals and adult beverages at some of these establishments.

Grand Canal

One of the iconic views of Venice, looking east on The Grand Canal. The domed structure is the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute (“Basilica of St Mary of Health”). Beyond that are the Lido de Venezia - home of the annual Venice Film Festival - the Gulf of Venice and eventually the Mediterranean.

 

The Basilica de Santa Maria della Salute

The Basilica de Santa Maria della Salute. Built as an offering for the city's deliverance from an outbreak of the plague in 1630, it was an important addition to the Venice skyline and became emblematic of the city.

 

Canals and gondoliers rightfully get much of the attention when you think of Venice but the city offers so much more to see. The Lido de Venezia is an 11-mile-long sandbar about a 4-kilometer boat ride from San Marcos Square and has some great beaches and hotels. The Grand Hotel Excelsior is a famous hotel which hosts the annual Venice Film Festival – and offers one of the world’s great hotel breakfast buffets.

 

We stopped to enjoy this street performer – amazingly talented. The tune he plays in this video seems familiar but we couldn’t put a finger on it. Can you?

 

Venice Marathon

We happened to be in town for the annual Venice Marathon, which snakes along and across canals.

 

Venice Piazza

One of the many – make that MANY – squares one encounters while exploring Venice by foot. In Venice you might feel lost, but it’s so beautiful it does not seem to matter. The lone sightseeing visitor here appears to be on the phone, probably seeking directions

We cannot bring you everything we saw on this trip, nor could we see all there is to see in a single trip. But we are looking forward to our next Venice visit.