A weekend at the cinema in Venice

A weekend at the cinema in Venice

The 79th Venice International Film Festival opens on Wednesday. And it starts immediately with a bang, thanks to the horror movie by Netflix, White Noise, by Noah Baumbach with Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig. Then it will be all swarming with Cate Blanchett and Timothée Chalamet, Shia LaBeouf and Anthony Hopkins, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz. Many stars, which will orbit around an even bigger star: Venice. A place of enchantment. Almost an urban oxymoron, capable of offering the cinephile visitor many options to kill time between one projection and another.

The first of all is the visit to the Biennial of art with the great international exhibition The milk of dreams edited by Cecilia Alemani (labiennale.org). What better occasion than a film break to visit the works scattered among the Arsenale Corderie, the Central Pavilion in the Giardini and the dozens of National Pavilions located between Giardini, Arsenale and various parts of the city? To these must be added the collateral exhibitions. Three, for us, are not to be missed for anything in the world (but there would be at least triple): the retrospective of the Anglo-Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor the Gallerie dell’Accademia and Palazzo Manfrin, where the Anish Kapoor Fundation will open; the great exhibition of Anselm Kiefer who has prepared a new cycle of paintings designed specifically for the Doge’s Palace and the moving and poignant anthology open-end by the South African painter Marlene Dumas at Palazzo Grassi. Those who prefer the good old game of ball to contemporary sculptures and installations, in the days of the film festival, can take a leap to the foundations of Sant’Elena where, in the spectacular setting of the Penzo stadiumon 3 September Venezia Calcio challenges Benevento.

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But let’s go step by step. Whoever lands in the lagoon will have to sleep somewhere. Since the Lido is off limits in these festival days, here are some valid alternatives. The first hotel to refer to is Flora House, a sort of social hub born thanks to the initiative of the hotelier Gioele Romanelli (owner of two other hotels in Venice, the Flora hotel and the Novecento hotel) which, inside a Venetian noble palace, has given life to a place contemporary dominated by elegant lines and design objects (casafloravenezia.com).

Another address to mark with the red circle is Combo. It is located inside the former Convent of the Crociferi in Cannaregio, a few steps from the Rialto and the historic fish market. It offers the most disparate solutions, all in a design key: ranging from single rooms to mini-apartments. One of the gems of the structure is the large cloister converted into a multitasking place where DJ-sets, exhibitions and open-air aperitifs are set up (thisiscombo.com).

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The third location is more glamorous: it’s called Experimental Palace and is located in the Fondamenta delle Zattere area, in the Dorsoduro district. It combines contemporary taste and clean lines, and was created within a fifteenth-century structure thanks to the magic touch of the French designer Dorothée Meilichzon. 32 rooms in all, where the postmodern meets the Gothic thanks to the skilful use of materials such as marble and wood and colors inspired by the city (it.palazzoexperimental.com).

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Even for eating, Venice offers truly transversal experiences. For example, there are bacari, which churn out cicchetti in a continuous jet accompanying hectoliters of prosecco and spritz strictly at Select (for sardines in saor go to Fiore, near Campo Santo Stefano, while for meatballs there is Ca ‘ d’Oro Alla Vedova in Strada Nuova). And there are dozens and dozens of real restaurants. Among the addresses most loved by the locals there is The pumpkin, a vegetarian temple also loved by carnivores, located very close to one of the most poetic and least traveled places in the city: Campo San Giacomo da l’Orio. The restaurant has only 35 seats (it is in fact very difficult to find a place), has walls covered in oak, open kitchen and offers a menu with seasonal vegetable dishes (try the pumpkin flan with smoked ricotta and pine nuts) (lazucca.it ).

The restaurant too Star anise worth a visit. Located in Cannaregio (in an area full of aperitif bars), this slightly funky gastro-osteria – as recently defined by the Daily Telegraph – offers a menu where typical Venetian cuisine meets surprising exotic (ginger and coriander in several dishes) and contemporary experiments. Special is also the offer of Riviera, a place opened on the Giudecca canal, recovering an ancient fund converted into a bar in the 1950s. It is a location for omnivores, where everything is impeccable: the service, the hospitality of the host and of course the menu. Do not miss the raw seafood appetizers that melt in the mouth; risotto with squid and pigeon with cocoa and hazelnuts (restauranteriviera.site). Ps- if you can book a table outside: it is right here at the rafts that you can admire the most poignant sunset in Venice.

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The food and wine address of the moment is however Glam, restaurant of the sixteenth-century residence of Palazzo Venart in Calle trono a Santa Croce. The menu is signed by the starred chef Enrico Bartolini (represented here in a sumptuous way by the resident chef Donato Ascani). You can choose the à la carte menu which changes seasonally, but the tasting menus (starting at € 120) are much more exciting (palazzovenart.com).

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For those who, on the other hand, once the feast of films at the Lido is over, would like to live an all-round experience where nature, oenology and excellent cuisine meet must go a little further. Far beyond Piazza San Marco. He has to cross the northern Venetian lagoon and reach the island of Mazzorbo, a place completely off the beaten track, among gardens planted with “castraure” (tasty first fruits of the artichoke) and colorful houses. This is where the Venissa estate, which cultivates a very precious and heroic native Venetian vine that for centuries has challenged water and salt: the Venissa (only 3500 bottles produced each year). In these parts Francesco Brutto and Chiara Pavan interpret local ingredients including fish, vegetables grown in the restaurant’s garden and wild herbs, creating a cuisine that is not only avant-garde, but in some ways moving and magical like a film (venissa.it).

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