Venice Travel Guide


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TCH Collection: Lush Decadence Couture Jewelry

Venice Travel Guide

I remember the day that I fell in love with Venice. It was five years ago on a Friday afternoon, and I was in the Palazzo Balbi Valier. I was perusing a collection of antique Fortuny fabric at Antichita Trois. As painted angels smiled down on me from 17th Century frescoed walls, I heard through an open window a gondolier singing alone in his boat as he drifted by.

                                           "Sul mare luccica

                                            l'astro d'argento.

                                            Placida è l'onda;

                                            prospero è il vento.

                                            Venite all'agile

                                            Barchetta mia!

                                            Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia”

In that moment I knew… Fate had whispered in my ear. Now, five years later, I’m living in Venice and it’s becoming a part of me. As a Venetian insider, I want to share with you the best places to wine and dine as well as where to shop, what to buy, how to be inspired by art and design, and even what to read before your travels. Also, of course, what jewels to wear when feeling inspired by Venice. 


Whereas Fortuny is an Iconic Destination for the Design Tourist, Bevilaqua is a hidden gem in the crown of the Venetian textile trade. Using the original 18th Century wooden looms, Tessitura Luigi Bevilaqua creates by hand luxury velvets, damasks, brocades, and the famous Soprarizzo velvet. Should antiques rather than textiles be more your cup of tea, Antichita Marciana has The Antiques Diva Seal of Approval. Specializing in 18th Century paintings and furniture, they sell everything you could possibly need for decorating your "palazzo". Inquire inside Antichita Marciana's shop, which is located at Sestiere San Marco 1864, about visiting their private "by appointment only" warehouse. 


The chicest seat in town is L'Ombra del Leone with a view of the Salute Church, the Punta della Dogana museum, and the island of San Giorgio. Meanwhile, brother and sister duo Luca and Benedetta Fullin who own and operate Ristorante Local are among my favorite restauranteurs in this city.  Clearly good food is in their genes, as their parents run Pensione Wilder - another "must" destination for seafood.  Last, but not least (I could go on about food all day!), is Taverna La Fenice,  which is located adjacent to a secret door that artists formerly used for entering the opera house and sneaking onto the stage for their performances.


The number of books written on Venice are almost as countless as the number of canals. At the moment, I’m utterly obsessed with Francesa Bortolotto Possati’s book Venetian Chic. Delving into Veni Etiam Naturalia et Mirabilia  by Venetian Lawyer turned artist Gigi Bon is a voyage into this artist's mind, which takes you to other worlds. Those who read The Antiques Diva blog know that I’ve long been a fan of JoAnn Locktov’s books on Venice. And honestly, I’m even enjoying a good murder in Venice with Donna Leon these days.


A walk in the streets of Venice can offer inspiration in itself. For years, I’ve failed to visit some of the most famous museums in town simply because I’m too busy enjoying the street view. As a jewelry designer, I consider the Museo Correr a must-go destination. I was first introduced to it by my dear friend and BBC Antiques Roadshow host Steven Moore. Offering the best view of San Marco from the cafe (not to mention the best priced coffee), the museum extends along the southern part of the square and boasts not only a remarkable jewelry collection, but also the private apartment of Empress Sisi. Do pay a few extra euro to go see the Pala d’oro and Treasury. When you’re sick of the crowds, sneak into this quiet destination for amazing architecture and seemingly miles of fresco: the Palazzo Grimani di Santa Maria Formosa, which is a former residence of the Venetian doge and his heirs.


You can’t say Fashion in Venice without thinking of Fiorella Gallery in San Steffano. Part fashion store - part art gallery, Fiorella Mancini has created one of the most controversial and iconic spots in the city. For Beauty, escape the crowds of San Marco and catch The Bauer’s complimentary water shuttle across the lagoon to the Bauer Palladio on Giudecca. Only a 7 minute boat ride, you might as well be transported to the moon and back for the oasis of calm that awaits in this 16th Century convent designed by the greatest Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio.  But the real magic at the Palladio comes from the magic touch of Spa Manager Angela Spezzacatena. Having studied not just massage therapy but extensively trained in whole body well being, in India, Indonesia, Burma, and Thailand, she is the best masseuse in Venice. Book a combination massage, facial and scalp treatment followed by a prosecco and siesta in the tranquil garden behind the spa.


The Architectural Biennale, which is the lesser known sibling of the Art Bienalle,  opens May 22, 2018. As one of the most famous and prestigious cultural organizations in the world, it addresses the academic side of architecture. While visiting exhibitions located in the Biennale pavilions, the Giardini, the Arsenale, and others around the city are on the agenda, there are also a few special private events organized by Venetian Heritage that are must-do’s. To name a few: Cocktails at the Fondation Louis Vuitton,  coffee with Francesca Bortolotto Possati in a private visit of her famous family home Mocenigo “Nero”, and a behind-the-scenes tour of the 15th Century Gothic private residence Palazzo Barbaro. Hmm, there might even be a private function with Jude Law on the agenda!


I Believe I Can Fly Collection
How fitting that the symbol of Venice is the bronze winged lion in the Piazza San Marco, when wings are also my personal symbol. As a child growing up, my mother had a cross-stitch embroidery in our kitchen that read, “There are two lasting gifts you can give your children. One is roots. The other is wings.” Thanks to my parents, “I Believe I Can Fly."

            Black Rhodium and Rock Crystal. Stone Sizes 14.66ct,  3.61ct,  .54ct