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Dream of Venice Architecture

“With its artfully evocative photography and illuminating, often-poetic, essays, Dream of Venice Architecture pierces the myths and mist of this enchanting city with fresh insights into its myriad sensory pleasures. From exotic buildings whose facades resemble carpets to pirouetting wind vanes that signal the onset of the latest Adriatic weather, Dream of Venice Architecture captures both the magic and the mysteries of this ‘precarious paradise.’”
  Blair Kamin, architecture critic, Chicago Tribune
"More than any other city, Venice embodies a defined urban form, compact fabric and unitary body composed by successive historical transformations."
Mario Botta

"Venice, for me, is a metaphor for unexpected creative possibilities."
Louise Braverman, FAIA

"Venice: the ageless city. How can we take measure of her to a finite time, she who is crystallized by the juxtaposition of styles, of forms, of places, of spaces..."
Enrico Baleri 

"Venice, where everything flows, unpredictable, like nature itself."
Massimiliano Fuksas

Dream of Venice Architecture is the second book in the series on contemporary Venice. 
Dream of Venice Architecture is an intimate journey through the remarkable Venetian urban landscape. A cadre of notable international architects and architectural writers explore the elements that make Venice unique in the world. Dream of Venice Architecture reveals the incredulity of her beauty, from the mysterious sotoporteghi to the complexity of Carlo Scarpa’s "immaculate detailing." 
The book includes architects who have built in Venice (Tadao Ando, Annabelle Selldorf, Mario Botta, Michele De Lucchi, and Valeriano Pastor) as well as Scarpa experts (Robert Mc Carter, Richard Murphy, Anne-Catrin Schultz, and Guido Pietropoli). Representing the 2016 Architecture Biennale, the book includes TAMassociati (curating the Italy pavilion), Cynthia Davidson (co-curating the US Pavilion) and Louise Braverman (exhibiting).
The introduction is by Richard J. Goy, the international authority on Venetian architecture. He bridges the chasm between the original muddy wilderness of the 5th century and the intrigue of the built environment. The evocative photographs are by the award-winning filmmaker and photographer Riccardo De Cal, who shot an image to accompany each essay. A portion of the proceeds from each book will be donated to Foundation Querini Stampalia to support their architectural programming in Venice. 

Where to buy and reviews.

Reopening of the Scuola Grande della Misericordia

Didier Descouens - own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The Scuola Grande della Misericordia is about to reopen after extensive restoration. The space will be used for exhibitions, private parties, fashion shows and conferences.

As unlikely as it seems, the building was a gym for many years and even a basketball court which hosted Serie A matches. The links to sport will continue in the new life of the Scuola as it will host sports conventions, particularly for the Reyer basketball team as Luigi Brugnaro, Venice's mayor and the funder of the restoration is the patron of the team. There will be a documentary to tell the story of the sporting life of the Misericordia - the best gym in the world.

The first exhibition in the Scuola will be about its own restoration, the preservation of the beautiful Veronese School frescoes which adorn the walls and the architectural structure.

From May, the Scuola will host a collateral event for the Architecture Biennale.

Original article on Venezia Radio TV in Italian.

Website of the Scuola

More articles:
Un gioiello restituito alla città!
Posted by VeneziaToday on Thursday, 10 March 2016

RESTAURI & POLEMICHE - Ecco la Scuola Grande della Misericordia, il candidato sindaco si toglie qualche sassolino -->
Posted by Il Gazzettino (sito ufficiale) on Friday, 12 June 2015

Priority for Venetian Residents on the Vaporetto

Photo  Clayton Tang - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
From June, at certain vaporetto stops around the city, priority will be given to Venetian residents.  The detail of the scheme has not been announced yet. The mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, made this part of his election manifesto.

In the summer, millions of tourists flock to Venice every day. The influx of so many people can make getting around the city very difficult for its residents and the workers who commute to Venice from the mainland. To overcome this problem, the proposal is to create two separate queues for the vaporettos at the main stops: Piazzale Roma (the bus station), Ferrovia (the train station), Rialto, San Marco (Saint Mark's Square), the Lido and Murano. Priority will then be given to the residents' queue.

The scheme will be an experiment and is intended to start in June. A similar scheme was put in place by the last Mayor at the Rialto vaporetto stop, but didn't last long.

Tutto pronto entro l'estate!
Posted by VeneziaToday on Thursday, 7 April 2016

View original story in Italian on Venezia Today

The Glass of the Architects Exhibition: April to July 2016

Josef Hoffmann, War Glasses, 1914-16, WI 1421, 1423, 1419. MAK - Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art. Photo: © Wolfgang Woessner / MAK

A joint project of Fondazione Giorgio Cini and Pentagram Stiftung

Venice, Island of San Giorgio Maggiore
18th April – 31st July 2016


The Glass of the Architects. Vienna 1900-1937

A cooperation of the MAK in Vienna and LE STANZE DEL VETRO
curated by Rainald Franz, Glass and Ceramics Collection, MAK, Vienna

With over 300 works, mostly from the collection of the MAK in Vienna, the forthcoming Spring exhibition at LE STANZE DEL VETRO will celebrate the birth of Austrian modern glassmaking in the period between the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the first Republic in Austria

The exhibition will feature glass works by the main protagonists of the Viennese Modernism: Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser, Joseph Maria Olbrich, Leopold Bauer, Otto Prutscher, Oskar Strnad, Oswald Haerdtl and Adolf Loos 
With over 300 works, mostly from the collection of the MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art in Vienna and from private collections, the exhibition The Glass of the Architects. Vienna 1900-1937, curated by Rainald Franz, will run from April 18th to July 31st, 2016 on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, in Venice. The exhibition will focus on the birth of the art of modern glassmaking in Austria between 1900 and 1937, a very lively period spanning the years between the last decades of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the First Republic. It will be the second exhibition organized by LE STANZE DEL VETRO - after the Glass from Finland in the Bischofberger Collection show - focussing on the international developments of glass in the 20th century. LE STANZE DEL VETRO is a long-term joint initiative of Fondazione Giorgio Cini and Pentagram Stiftung devoted to studying the art of glassmaking in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Useful information:
Dates:              18th April – 31st July 2016
Open:               10.00am – 7.00pm, closed on Wednesdays
Venue:             LE STANZE DEL VETRO, Fondazione Giorgio Cini
Address:           Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice
Ticket office:     Free admission

The Venice Time Machine

Imagine a facebook of the past or a Google map which lets you see how a city looked in centuries gone by.  That is what the Venice Time Machine project is all about.

Credits : Isabella di Lenardo (EPFL), Giovanni Colavizza (EPFL), Bread and Butter SA.

The Venice Time Machine, an international scientific programme launched by the EPFL and Ca' Foscari University in Venice aims to build a multidimensional model of Venice and its evolution over a period of more than 1000 years. The project will construct a large open access database for research and education. Thanks to a partnership with the Archivio di Stato in Venice, kilometres of archives will be digitised, transcribed and indexed forming the basis of the largest database ever created of Venetian documents. In addition to these primary sources, the content of thousands of monographies will be indexed and made searchable. The information extracted from these sources will be organised in a semantic graph of linked data, and will unfold in space and time in an historical geographical information system.

For more information watch the TED talk below.

This is the Blog from the Digital Humanities School at Ca' Foscari which is working on the Venice Time Machine project.

Venetian Week at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection

Once a year the Peggy Guggenheim Collection offers free entry to Venetian residents (from the Comune and Province of Venice). To prove your residence, just present your ID or a 'Venezia Unica' (the new imob) card.

This year the dates are: 18 to 23 November 2015.

Throughout the week there is a full calendar of free guided tours, workshops for children and special discounts at the Museum Shop and the Cafe.

If you become a Friend of the museum during the week, you can also get 20% off the membership fee and there's 20% off the 'Membership Card for Christmas'.

More information

Saint Martin's Day: A Particularly Venetian Festival

A relief of Saint Martin above the door to the Scuola di San Martino
Saint Martin of Tours was born in Hungary in the 4th century. His father was in the Roman army and he grew up in northern Italy. At the age of 18 he joined the army himself and moved to France. At some point he renounced the army and followed his vocation. Eventually he (apparently reluctantly) became Bishop of Tours. But it was while he was still a soldier that he was riding into the city of Amiens in France when he saw a beggar by the road suffering from the cold in the middle of a downpour. He used his sword to cut his own cloak in two and gave one half to the beggar. Shortly afterwards the sky cleared and the sun came out. That night he dreamt that Jesus was wearing the half that he had given away. It is this story, captured in images of Saint Martin, which is celebrated every November. The story also gives rise to the Italian name given to unseasonally warm weather in early November - L'Estate di San Martino - Saint Martin's Summer.

particolare del bassorilievo di San Martino
A closeup of the relief.

Saint Martin's Day is the 11th November. It is celebrated loudly every year in Venice by children making their presence felt by banging on upturned pans and lids, singing a rhyme, in the expectation of sweets or coins given by shop owners.

The rhyme in Venetian dialect is
S. Martin xe 'ndà in sofita a trovar ea so' novissa (o nona Rita o nona Gigia) so' novissa no ghe gera S. Martin col cùeo par tera
E col nostro sachetìn cari signori xe S. Martin.
 This translates as something like
Saint Martin went into the attic to find his girlfriend (or Grandma Rita or Grandma Gigia). Since he did not find his girlfriend, the saint fell on his bottom. And with our little bag, dear Sirs, is Saint Martin.

chiesa di san Martino, esterno

The Church of Saint Martin

The Church of Saint Martin in Venice is not far from the Arsenale. There are several other churches dedicated to the saint around the city though - one on Burano, one on Murano, and one near the airport among others. The Venice church dates from the tenth century (936) but was completely rebuilt in the sixteenth century from designs by Jacopo Sansovino. The architect turned the entire structure by 90 degrees and gave it a square floor-plan, adding two chapels on each side and a new building to the side of the church became the Scuola di San Martino - School of Saint Martin. Venice has a special tie to Saint Martin as the Scuola once housed the Devotional School of Saint Martin (1335-1771) which owned relics of his finger, tibia and a piece of the cloak. The tibia was given to the Scuola di San Giovanni Evangelista in 1441 in return for restoration work to the church and every year on the 11th of November the relic was carried in a solemn procession from the Scuola di San Giovanni Evangelista to the Church of Saint Martin. This tradition ended with the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797.

If you can read Italian, this is a nice blog with more information about the churches of San Martino in the Lagoon.

The Saint Martin Biscuit

In the days leading up to Saint Martin's Day, the shops in Venice are filled with the Saint Martin's Day biscuit - a knight on horseback - richly decorated with sweets.

This biscuit is given to children by their parents and grandparents.

If you would like to make this biscuit, you can download a template here or draw one of your own.

The recipe:
Ingredients for a 'San Martino' of about 20x30 cm. 

For the biscuit:
250 g plain flour
150 g butter cubed at room temperature
100 g sugar
1 yolk and 1 whole egg
A few drops of vanilla essence

For the decoration:
250 - 300 g icing sugar
1 egg white
5 drop of lemon juice
100 g sweets - smarties, hundreds and thousands, caramels, chocolates

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Prepare the biscuit base by mixing the sugar, butter, egg and egg yolk.
Keep the egg white to use later.
Once well mixed, add the flour and the vanilla essence. Knead lightly and form into a ball.

Roll out the biscuit onto floured baking parchment to a rectangle about 30x40 cm. Use the template to cut out the shape. You can form the offcuts into extra biscuits. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes at 180°C. Leave to cool.

Put the egg white in a bowl and add the icing sugar a spoonful at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon. When the first spoonful has been absorbed, add the second and keep going until you have added half of the icing sugar. Now add the lemon juice and keep stirring and add the rest of the icing sugar a spoonful at a time. Stir briskly for a minute until the mixture is shiny.

Put the icing into an piping bag and pipe onto the biscuit. Add any sweets and chocolates. Leave to dry for about 12 hours at room temperature.

If you want, you can cover the biscuit with melted chocolate or coloured icing. If you make a hole in the top, you can use the same recipe to make Christmas tree decorations.

Recipe from Venezia Unica.