After what seemed to be a never ending winter and several interruptions by undesired Beasts from the East, the sun is finally shining here in London and it has got us dreaming of gelatos by the Grand Canal in Venice.
The Italian city, Venice, is one of the main inspirations behind the SS18 collection and it holds a special place in our hearts here at Shrimps as it is where Hannah got engaged last Spring!
We thought that, in order to celebrate Venice and the arrival of the sunnier days, we would take you on a trip and walk you through our favourite spots; some touristy, some a little less as it is hard not to be a tourist in a city brimming with so many architectural and historical wonders, Tintoretto and Prosecco.
Venice is situated amongst a group of 118 islands spread across a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea.
Amongst those islands are Burano and Murano. They are probably the most well known after Venice.
Both islands are a short public transport boat ride from Venice and feature canals lined by rainbow hued fishermen houses.
This is perhaps the most infamous trait of these islands and what makes their charm (and consequently turns them into Instagram perfect backdrops). Additionally, Murano is home to a plethora of glass-making ateliers where glass is blown in the traditional way.
It is this artisanal glassmaking and the colourful artefacts it produces that inspired our Venezia beaded handbag. The vivid colours of the beads and the floral pattern are the embodiment of the multitude of colours found on the islands and Murano glass.
This place isn’t a secret for anyone but we could not go without mentioning it.
Once the home of art collector Peggy Guggenheim and her husband, the painter, Max Ernst, this lavish house by the Grand Canal is now the host to her Art Collection featuring impressive artworks by Picasso, Dali, Duchamp and Calder to name a few.
The museum is now owned by the Guggenheim foundation and often showcases works by contemporary artists alongside the masters of the 20th Century. We love Peggy Guggenheim as she is such a strong female figure and had an amazing sense of style.
Maybe we should reproduce her beloved sunglasses for our SS19 collection? She is buried by the house alongside her several dogs and a trip to Venice wouldn’t be complete without a visit to her house.
Shrimps love bookshops.It is especially true if the bookshop is somewhat aquatic.
Libreria Acqua Alta or the High Water Library for those of you who aren’t bilingual (we aren’t either) is a lovely and quirky second hand bookshop.The books are disposed in an utterly ravishing chaotic way. They are amassed on boats, gondolas and other aquatic vessels.
They are piled on shelves and tables. Books are strewn all over parts of the floor too.
The main particularity of the shop, apart from the mess and it’s feline guardian, is the fact that it gets flooded during the famous Acqua Alta, the period in which the Adriatic rises and creeps into the city and into this library!
You probably don’t need us to recommend it as this one is a bit of evidence.
The Galleria features artworks by artists such as Tintoretto, Veronese, Canaletto and Titian to name a modest few.
You can also admire da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man” in the flesh.
We like to think that our Venezia bag also features the perfect dimensions that the artwork showcases. It definitely does.
It’s hard to recommend a Church in Venice.
If you have enough time (and interest), please go to every single one of them.
In Summer they make the perfect beacons of peace, marble havens to shelter from the hot Venetian sun.
However, do not forget that the guardians of the Church will make you cover up if you’re wearing shorts or have your shoulders on display. In order to avoid paying a hefty fee for a strange shawl in the Church, we recommend wearing the Matteo dress or another of our flowing summer dresses.
I Gesuiti, as its name indicates, is a Jesuit Church. It is located on a little square and features impressive speckled marble and gold gilding.
It has magnificent paintings including the Martyrdom of St Lawrence by Titian.
Another classic; opened in 1931 by bartender Giuseppe Cipriani, Harry’s Bar is, amongst many things, the birthplace of the Bellini
(and of the Carpaccio if you’re a meat eater) and also Ernest Hemingway’s place of choice.
Match your pink Peach puree (or real pieces of peaches if you go in the summer) prosecco drink with the Pink Domenica clutch, the Luca Peach jacket or the Nico dress and party until “The Sun also Rises”.
Hannah’s favourite. If you want to hide from the crowds, as they can sometimes be quite overwhelming in Venice,
head to this little enclave of peace.
Harry’s Dolci is one of the little siblings of Harry’s Bar. It is located on the Giudecca Canal and in order to reach it you’ll have to take a short boat ride. In this open air restaurant, the tables seem to be displayed right on the water.
Harry Dolci’s has nothing to envy to its big brother. Bellinis are as delicious here as there and might taste even better underneath the sun.
Dishes focus around seafood but do leave enough space for sweet treats, as there are plenty of options for glucose lovers.
Don’t forget your Domenica clutch on the table!
Venice’s mythical Opera House boasts a plush décor of red velvet, gilding and decadent chandeliers.
Currently showing Puccini’s “Madam Butterfly”, a Shrimps favourite, and Verdi’s “La Traviata”.
The Rialto Market is one of the only places in the city where locals and tourists happily mingle.
To get the freshest products arrive at dawn and bring your Rizo bag to pack your finds.
You’ll come across stalls brimming with fresh local seasonal vegetables such as castraure (baby artichokes)
and radicchio trevisano (bitter red chicory). Walk slightly further and you’ll find the fish stalls.
If you want to pretend to be a local buy some goby, a fish that can be found in the lagoon and can be used to make Risotto di Gò,
one of the oldest traditional Venetian dishes invented by fishermen in the 16th Century.
It’s not a secret that we love a good pastry or cake. And it’s not a secret either that whilst exploring, one needs to refuel.
Pasticceria del Mas is the solution to all your needs (sugary that is).
Head over for a scrumptious hot chocolate or creamy cappuccino accompanied by a strawberry tart.
Caffè Florian is another tourist’s favourite (It shouldn’t be disregarded for that matter).
Indeed, it is charged with history as it is the oldest operating caffé in Europe (a fact that the French refuse to believe)
and it was also the first caffé to welcome women.
Located on St Mark’s square, the inside of this coffee house has nothing to envy to the surrounding buildings; the neo-baroque décor is home to probably the most expensive but decadent cappuccino in the city, served on a silver tray to the sound of violins.
If you find yourself overdosing on canals and water whilst in Venice, fear not!
We have the solution; the Giardini Pubblici, today know mostly as Giardini della Biennale, were started when the city was under the control of the French army by Napoleon Bonaparte as Venice’s first public space.
Today, the gardens are also home to part of the Venice Biennale and its Pavilions.
Lovers of contemporary art, flock from all over the world from June to September to locations including the gardens and the Arsenale, admiring the best contemporary art and theatre on offer.
Palazzo Grassi is as impressive architecture wise as it is regarding the art it hosts. It was the last palace built on the Canal before the fall of the Venetian Republic. Its classical style façade is constructed of white marble and the interior is adorned with frescoes on the stairwells and walls.
Today, the Palazzo is home to part of Francois Pinault’s, the head of Kering, Art collection. It also organises temporary exhibitions with full-scale haptic immersive pieces designed specially for the space in order to turn the venue into a work of art itself.
In the past years, the Palazzo Grassi, has shown such artworks by Damian Hirst, Jeff Koons and Joana Vasconcelos.
It was inaugurated in 2006 with an exhibition called “Where are we going?” inspired by a sentence coined in by Gauguin at the beginning of the XXth Century and readapted by Hirst at the beginning of the current one.
It seems that Palazzo Grassi is one answer to this question if you consider it as applied to Venice; by allying past through the architecture and the present through the art it really underlines what the city has best to offer and how buildings can be renovated and repurposed.
Just off the lively Campo Santa Margherita is the Gelateria ll Doge that has some of the best gelato in Venice.
Shrimps favourite flavours include Strawberry, Hazelnut and Pistachio.
Bring your ice cream to the nearby square and sit in the sun to enjoy your treat.
A trip to Italy wouldn’t be complete without a bit of vino. This lovely little bar only has a few seats and serves local and natural wines.
On the menu, food wise, you’ll find amazing gourmet cicchetti, the Venetian equivalent of tapas, but also delicious cheese boards.
On nicer days, the crowd extends beyond the bar flowing onto the street, and on Thursday nights live music is played.
Don’t be afraid to ask for wine suggestions! The bar staff will happily help you out to find the perfect wine for your mood and taste.
Have fun and please send us a postcard!