To catch a glimpse of what life was like behind the facades on the Gran Canal visit the Ca’ Rezzonico that houses the Museum of 18th – Century Venice; it is filled with baroque paintings, putti, tapestries, Venetian chandeliers and ceilings covered with allegorical paintings. The Rezzonicos were non-Venetians who bought the unfinished palace, and reached their zenith when the family’s second son became Pope Clement XIII. John Singer Sargent once had a studio there, and Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton danced in the ballroom (www.museiciviciveneziani.it).
Peggy Guggenheim Museum.
An eclectic mix of 20th – century paintings, from Picasso to Dalì, is hung on white walls, exactly as the indomitable Peggy anted them. Peggy bought the property, made it her home and opened an art gallery there. She’s buried in the garden, along with her beloved dogs.
This is the Venice’s single most important art collection with masterpieces by Titian, Giorgione, Bellini, Tintoretto and Veronese.
Santa Maria dei Miracoli Church
Recently restored Save Venice Foundation. Built between 1481 and 1489 by Pietro Lombardo, Santa Maria dei Miracoli is one of the hidden gems of Venetian Renaissance architecture. This jewel box of a church, with its multi-hued marble façade, is squeezed on the narrow edge of a canal
Isola San Giorgio Maggiore
Early chronicles of Venice refer to this part of the city as the “Island of Cypresses” with lush fruit and wine gardens. Here the Benedictine monks established one of their most important Italian monasteries in the 10th century. The fames Baroque architect Andrea Palladio began his work on the astounding Basilica in 1565. In 1952, the Count Vittorio Cini Culture Foundation – an institute of world repute – assumed the Patronage and research management of this monastery island. In the middle of the lovely Cypresses Garden, architect and acousticians from the Milan Scala “Opera House”, created the Teatro Verde in 1954, an amphitheatre in the green. Visit the incredible library Biblioteca del Monastero Benedettini, a must – visit destination and indulge walking around those incredible Palladian cloister.
Private Henry James Library
During his Venetian stay, he lived in Palazzo Barbaro, one of the most remarkable , XVI century building in Venice. He assembled, hundred of books into a library overlooking the Grand Canal, which is now privately owned by the Curtis family who live in the palazzo. You may have a chance to meet them eventually walking around Santo Stefano and be lucky enough to be invited for a tea and see this extraordinary and unique collection.
The great architect Palladio considered this building by Sansovino the most beautiful in the world. So tourists flock to see it, but few know they can also go inside to view its treasure. The library was built in the XVI to house the collection of Greek and Latin works, amassed by XV century Cardinal Bessarion of Terbizond. Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto and Schiavon adorned ceilings and walls. Amid shelves crammed with leather bound books, spines stamped in gold with names of Ptolemy, Euclide, Archimede and Pluto…Many, many other volumes of poetry and philosophy.
Convento of San Francesco del Deserto
On Torcello island. It is one of the most important Franciscan convents on one of the most beautiful lagoon islands. Magnificent garden with age-old trees. Lunch there, and perhaps make a reservation to sleep in the convent cells.