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In the Footsteps of Indiana Jones in Venice

Some years ago, a few sequences from the movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, were filmed in Venice. Specifically, in August 1988. Yet the fascination produced by good old Indy’s scenes in the city is still imprinted on our retinas.

Many of us would like to be able to take DeLorean in Back to the Future and travel, not only in space, but also in time, in order to attend the shoot and see the young Harrison Ford performing great feats. Fantasies aside, we can indeed now plan our trip to Venice in the form of a game in which, after the typical tours of St Mark’s Square and theRialto Bridge,we follow the tracks left by Indiana Jones in the beautiful city of canals.

First Stop – the Salute

The Venice scenes begin when Indiana and his colleague, Marcus, meet the archaeologist, Elsa Schneider, on alighting from the vaporetto. The vaporetto is the water taxi that acts as public transport in Venice and plies the regular routes along the Grand Canal and between the various islands in the lagoon. Specifically, they get off at the stop known as Salute, on Line 1 of the vaporetto– the most popular route – immediately alongside the church of Santa Maria della Salute. Clearly, the stop is named after the church. But, those scenes don’t really match the current Salute stop, as they were shot at the jetty of the fondamenta della Dogana alla Salute. From here you can catch a glimpse of the Campanile di San Marco in the distance – located in one corner of St Mark’s Square – as it appears in the movie.

Ponte dei Pugni

Once they have disembarked, they stroll along some of the quiet streets of the Dorsoduro quarter. The gallant Indiana gives Dr Schneider a flower while crossing the Ponte dei Pugni (bridge of fists), curiously named after the years of fist fights between the rival bands of the Nicolotti and the Castellani. The losers usually ended up in the water as, until quite recently, the bridge lacked a railing.

The Chiesa di San Barnaba

Finally, they get to the San Barnaba library – where Indy’s father was last seen – the facade of which is actually part of the Church of San Barnaba (Chiesa di San Barnaba). Bear in mind that, of the natural backdrops to the quests of Indiana Jones, the one the diehards of the saga were most impressed by was the Treasury of Petra, in Jordan, which was used as a secret temple housing the Grail, and the one in the Venice Library, located precisely in this church.

The church of San Barnaba was founded in the 9th century but its current appearance is the result of the 1749 restoration. It is located in the Campo San Barnaba square, where Katharine Hepburn was also the protagonist of a scene in Summertime in which she falls into the canal. Indiana Jones emerges from a sewer in that square once he has escaped from the catacombs under the library, uttering the celebrated words, “Ah, Venice!”

Some Familiar Backdrops

Fleeing from members of the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword, they run along the fictitious street of Santa Lucia. This is where a number of speedboat chase scenes begin which were actually filmed at the jetties of the English town of Tilbury. The Venetian scenes then continue in the vicinity of the Grand Canal and the Palazzo Ducale. Indiana then releases Kazim – a member of the Brotherhood he has captured – opposite the Palazzo Barbaro, level with the Ponte dell’Accademia. This palace, also known as Ca ‘Barbaro, once accommodated such distinguished guests as Sargent, Henry James, Robert Browning, Whistler and Monet. Two other facades can also be distinguished in the scene – those of Palazzo Venier dei Leoni and Palazzo Barbarigo.

Indiana Jones’ adventure in Venice ends with a shot of the most typical Venetian scene – a gondola punting a couple along the Rio del Malpaga, with the Ponte de l’Avogaria in the background.

Venice – a Movie Set

If you like discovering film locations during your trips, try to do it with some of the other numerous movies that have been shot in Venice, notably The Talented Mr. Ripley, Casino Royale,The Tourist or The Italian Job,to mention some of the best known ones. It is a unique, fun way of unearthing interesting spots in the city. What are you waiting for? Check out our flights here.

 

Text by Scanner FM

Images by Carlos de Paz, Didier Descouens, Frans Persoon, John_k, Bernard-G

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Tapas Hunting in Venice

For those who wonder whether there is any life in Venice beyond the tourist-infested squares, streets and canals, the answer is “yes”. And, for those who think tapas are a wholly Spanish invention, you are sorely misguided. If you’re the kind of sightseer who loves wandering around the city, you’re likely to come across another Venice with quiet corners and spots where the locals lead their lives, far from cruise vessels and selfie sticks. This is the Venice of the bacari or tapas bars. A tour of these locales takes you on a trip into the heart of a city with a life of its own, far removed from its crowded centre. The bacari are Venetian territory and, although you might bump into the occasional tourist, they have largely resisted the passage of time. The first thing to know when you enter one of them is that the snacks are called cicchetti. Indeed, a common saying among Venetians is andare per ombre e cicchetti, meaning to go tapas hunting.Cichetti are fish snacks, usually accompanied with a glass of white wine costing no more than one or two euros a glass, so this is a good way of eating at an affordable price in a city famed not only for its beauty, but also for being rather pricey.

There are many types of bacari, from those frequented by family regulars to others catering to the young set. Each has its own speciality, although all of them serve baccalà mantecato, a type of codfish paste spread on bread, the city’s star dish.

We have selected the five best tapas bars in Venice, just to make sure you don’t miss them.

Osteria Al Portego

A four-minute walk from the Rialto Bridge takes you into the Castello quarter and to one of the favourites among Venetian students. With just a few tables, this tavern is a stand-up place in essence. The owners are young and, among their specialities, you must try the seppie al nero (squid-ink calamari), the tunafish a la livornesa or the spectacular lasagna. Washed down, of course, with a glass of prosecco, the house champagne.

Calle della Malvasia Castello 6014, tel. 041 5229038

Al Merca’

Sited next to the Rialto Market, Al Merca’ is one of the smallest bacari in Venice, but it features a broad selection of wines and beers. The standout dishes of the house are polpettine di carne (meatballs) and tiny ham, cheese and pancetta (bacon) sandwiches. The cocktail de rigueur here is spritz, the Italian national drink.

Fondamenta Riva Olio (Mercato di Rialto), tel. 3468340660

Osteria alla Vedova

Very near Ca’ D’oro, the most famous Gothic palace on the Grand Canal and seat of the Galleria Giorgio Franchetti, lies this delightful bacaro. The baccalà mantecato or sarde in saor (sweet-and-sour-based sardines and onion) are always served with polenta here. It’s finger-licking delicious!

Cannaregio (Ca’ D’oro) 3912, tel. 041 528 5324

Osteria Al Timon

The Osteria Al Timon is one of the meeting points for the city’s modern set. It is located on Cannaregio, alongside the Jewish ghetto. The griddled polenta with fish, and the duck pâté, are their specialities. You can even enjoy them while lounging in one of the boats moored on the canal in front of this bacaro. Things that can only happen in Venice!

(Fondamenta dei Ormesini), Cannaregio 2754 tel. 39 041 524 6066

Il Bacareto da Lele

You simply can’t leave Venice without dropping in on Il Bacareto da Lele. Sited opposite the church of San Nicolò da Tolentino, very near the train and bus stations, the speciality in this snack bar are their panini mignon. These sandwiches, which can be ordered to taste, with bacon, artichoke or pepperoni, are favourites among Venetians and students from the nearby Iuav University.

(Campo dei Tolentini) Santa Croce, 183

I bet we have whet your appetite. Come and relish the best tapas in Venice – check out our flights here.

 

Text and images by Aleix Palau for ISABELYLUIS Comunicación

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The Venice Biennale Art on Steroids

Those who think cultural tourism is a 21st-century invention are well off course – Venice invented it long ago. Intent on setting the city under the international spotlight, the first International Art Exhibition ever was held there in 1895. That is, the Venice Biennale, which has continued until this day.

The undisputed artificer of the avant-garde art pulseDocumenta notwithstanding – the Biennale has run into its 57th edition without losing steam. Six months full-out, from 13 May to 26 November, during which the city is invaded by contemporary art, which takes over both land and sea. What with vaporetti, churches and palazzi, we visited the city of canals to soak up the latest trends, soon to descend on museums and art galleries across half the globe. Let the Grand Tour begin!

Survival Manual

A cautionary word to all navigators – moving through the Biennale is no mean feat. The key – comfortable footwear, strategically placed accommodation and solid planning. The offerings are boundless and the spaces, gargantuan.

The main facilities are located at the Arsenale and the Giardini di Castello. Those are the sites of the official exhibition, Viva Arte Viva, as well as many of the 85 national pavilions dotting the island. And, as if that weren’t enough, the list is augmented by countless top-notch parallel exhibitions and events that have staked out their territory in the city’s historic buildings.

My advice – keep calm and don’t get flustered. The marathon only comes around every two years. Set aside three days on your agenda and you won’t succumb in the attempt. Take up lodgings in the area of Il Castello, the Biennale’s hard core, thereby avoiding vaporetto tickets. And, have a notebook on you and a camera with fully charged batteries so you can review the sights once you’re back home.

In the Giardini – the Cream of the Crop

Separating the wheat from the chaff can be exhausting. By way of a warm-up, we headed south-east, to the confines of the city. Located there are the Giardini di Castello, Venice’s green lung par excellence and the preserve of the national pavilions (a somewhat archaic idea, a reminder that the current Biennale is an updated version of the classical trade fairs of yesteryear). The fact is that in Venice each state has its own building to showcase to the world the cream of the crop of its contemporary art production, by way of an Art Olympics where the winner manages to show the most muscle.

While the Biennale is all about art, it is in fact also about power and architecture. In terms of the latter, some pavilions shine with a light of their own. Not to be missed are the Finland pavilion, built in timber modules by the luminary, Alvar Aalto, the father of modern Scandinavian architecture; the Austrian pavilion, the work of Josef Hoffmann who, together with Gustav Klimt, founded the Vienna Secession, and that of The Netherlands, its open forms highlighting the minimalist elegance of 1950s neoplasticism.

But, let’s get back to art and to the most talked-about offerings. The Golden Lion for the Best Pavilion was awarded to Germany, where artist Anne Imhof installed a glass floor under which performances displaying the world “as a kennel” take place. France depicts a musical space and recording studio, Studio Venezia, an installation designed by Xavier Veilhan where musicians and artists from all over the world perform. And Austria draws all the camera flashes with a lorry standing on its nose by Erwin Wurm, a playful proposal in a pavilion redolent with sculptures which visitors can interact and have fun with.

The Off Programme

Side shows, parallel exhibitions, talks, dialogues, performances and film cycles – no body is built to withstand Venice. Indeed, the official programme is rivalled by a series of first-rate artistic proposals staged in churches, foundations and museums around the city. Here, then, are the juiciest offerings in the Off-Biennale 2017.

Damien Hirst has hit Venice with a two-fold proposal. At collector François Pinault’s art spaces, the Punta della Dogana and the Palazzo Grassi, he has installed his latest eccentricities,including an 18-metre-high sculpture which rises into the firmament. In keeping with the British artist we are familiar with, his show is pure spectacle, and the perfect excuse to visit two historic buildings overlooking the Grand Canal.

The tiny island of San Giorgio Maggiore surrenders unconditionally to Michelangelo Pistoletto. A key figure of Arte Povera and one of the most prominent Italian artists, Pistoletto presents One and One Makes Three, an exhibition housed in an abbey designed by Palladio where he showcases a selection of his works created between the 60s and the present, also featuring his popular “Venus of the Rags”.

We wind up our marathon tour at the Palazzo Fortuny, a Venetian Gothic gem which rises between the Rialto Bridge and St Mark’s Square. This former home and studio of painter Marià Fortuny houses both the artist’s collection and temporary exhibitions. This time around, it is the turn of Intuition, a collective display dedicated to the evocative power of art and featuring such great names as André Breton, Joan Miró, Vassily Kandinsky, Marina Abramovic and Anish Kapoor.

Thus far our review of the Biennale, a centennial event which reinvents itself each year and showcases art to suit all tastes, interests and theories. We’re off to the canals!

Book your Vueling to Venice here

Text by Núria Gurina

Photos by: Andrea Avezzù, Jean-Pierre Dalbéra, Francesco Galli, g.sighele, imagea.org, Erin Johnson

 

 

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Floating Gastronomy – in Venice

Venice envelops you in its melancholy, mist and light. It is also soothing. If you let yourself drift along that winding canal that dominates the city, your visit will flow, too. Notice how there are no cars and that, despite the flood of tourists that enter the city each day, this is a silent destination. Whether you find yourself on a bridge, at an intersection, in the heart of the Campo or in a narrow alleyway, wherever you feel famished, your deliverance is at hand. Not only because you can get anywhere fast on a gondola, but because the capital of Veneto is full of places to enjoy the cuisine. Either at street level or up high, with those views that swayed and swathed writers and intellectuals of all eras. Following are some of those spots with a sparkle of their own and a unique offering.

Fish
Given Venice’s seafaring nature, what could be better than to order and savour the city’s fresh fish? A prime spot for eating fish virtually from the market to your plate is the Antiche Carampane for its proximity to the Rialto Market. This simple, family restaurant is frequented by Venetians who know where to find the best of the best, as well as by well-informed celebrities. Here you will witness respect for food and for Venice’s most characteristic culinary tradition, both on and off the menu.

Street Food
In Venice you will wander about willy-nilly to come to grips with its soul. If time is short for having a relaxed meal, an advisable option is the street food. A tramezzino (wedge-shaped sandwich) at some café, or a pizza al taglio (sliced pizza) at Antico Forno, are both generous snacks. But, if you’re after something more authentic without having to sit down to it, better settle for Acqua & Mais, a dainty eatery which makes the most out of the Venetian culinary repertoire when it comes to a practical packaged takeaway. Your eyes will pop out at the fried fish, croquettes, polenta and the classic creamed codfish.

The Confectionery
Here there are two historic and thus essential locations. Two pastry shops, quite a long way from each other, have coexisted as successful local landmarks. However, each one has evolved differently over the years. At Rosa Salva they still serve classic single-helping pastries, buns and ice-creams in an atmosphere more akin to a bar. Colussi, for its part, is celebrated for its focaccia veneziana, which resembles panettone or sweet bread in shape and tastes like a really good ensaimada. It is ideal when eaten with hot chocolate from the same establishment, where they make dough and bake on the premises every day.

Wine and Glasses
Estro - Vino e Cucina is a modern gastrobar and wine bar with a lot of character where you can eat typical Italian dishes and raw fish – a hallmark of the Italo-Japanese chef, Mashiro Homma – marinated in the wine of your choice from among a wide selection within view of the tables. The wine has a “double label” and can also be purchased.

The historical Osteria ai Pugni focuses on aperitifs, sausage boards with regional fare, a variety of different flavoured croquettes and the typical tramezzini with unusual fillings. A striking feature is their wine, served by the glass, which can be savoured in a relaxed atmosphere alongside the Ponte dei Pugni, in the heart of the Dorsoduro district.

Paradiso Perduto
You can either sit at the bar or at one of the many tables in this huge, bustling restaurant which provides live music on Monday nights to fire the after-dinner ambience. Their forte is large helpings of homemade dishes. Their fresh fish comes highly recommended – complete with matching side dishes or contorni (vegetables, field mushrooms or roast potatoes)–as do the lasagna, fagioli (beans) and tiramisu, a dessert that originated in Venice. Keith Richards once played the piano here…

The Vegetarian Streak
The fact that you have to book in advance for La Zucca is the best compliment you can pay it. The artificers of the restaurant have managed to remain faithful to the origins of the business, where pumpkin is the major attraction and the basis of many of the homemade dishes on the reasonably priced menu.

Accommodation
If you can afford it, the Hotel Danieli is one of those places that leave their mark on you. Commensurate with the beauty of Venice, this luxury hotel is part of the city’s living history. It is just two-minutes’ walk from St. Mark’s Square and its two highly distinct buildings – the rooms in each hardly resemble one another – recreate the splendour of times past with an evocative atmosphere that fits in well with their 21st-century service. Their majestic Carnival ball, held near the lounge, is celebrated, while you can have a unique, enogastronomic experience in their new Wine Suite. You can also have one in the Danieli restaurant and terrace, a spot which entices you with its views over the Grand Canal and the Adriatic, as does the creative fare provided by their executive chef, Dario Parascandolo, featuring perennial classics and in-house recipes based on local products.

Souvenir
If you appreciate little gifts and good craftsmanship, treat yourself to a book marker, a notebook, a print, a postcard or one of the hand-painted recipe books by the artist, Nicola Tenderini. You cannot leave Venice without a keepsake that takes you back to the city, as far away as you might be.

I bet you can’t wait to delight in fine Venetian cuisine. Check out our flights here.

Text and photos by Carme Gasull and Belén Parra from Gastronomistas

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