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Santa Barbara's guide to what's new and undiscovered for home and garden, entertaining, style and travel. The resource guide below lists local happenings, boutique finds, travel destinations, food artisans and design professionals.

Guide to Venice, Italy

A list of places that you shouldn’t miss when exploring the magical city of Venezia. Wander the back alleys (far away from the crowds in the square) and spend time with the locals by arriving early morning to the Farmers Market.  A list of outstanding churches, museums and the performing arts venues throughout the city.



Avoid the crowds and explore in the evening…Piazza San Marco empties out after 9 PM. and the store windows shine brilliantly at night with stylish seasonal displays.



Shop after the cruise ship and bus crowds have departed in the late afternoon. Most of the stores stay open until 7pm, so make a list of your favorite retailers and visit during the late afternoon/early evening for a more peaceful shopping experience.



Take an early morning stroll across the Rialto Bridge to visit the outdoor market. Vendors display fresh vegetables and the day’s catch from the area. Rialto Market is located at Campo della Pescaria in San Polo, near the Rialto Bridge. This busy daily market stands in the commercial center of the city alongside the city’s famed Grand Canal.

Venetian locals and international tourists alike frequent this centuries-old market for fruit, fish, and vegetables. Open 7:30 to 10:00. Closed Sunday and Monday.



Located on Venice’s Grand Canal, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection is one of Europe’s premier museums devoted to modern art.  Among the artists represented are Picasso, Braque, Duchamp, Léger, Brancusi, Mondrian, Kandinsky, Miró, Giacometti, Klee, Ernst, Magritte, Dalí, Pollock, Rothko, Calder, Moore, and Marini.

The Nasher Sculpture Garden presents sculptures that complement the permanent collection of the museum. Works currently on view in the garden are by such artists as Ernst, Giacometti,  Miró, Moore, Paladino, Calder, and Yoko Ono.



With masterpieces ranging in style from Cubism and Surrealism to Abstract Expressionism, the collection has become one of the most respected and visited cultural attractions in Venice. Visit the well stocked gift store and have lunch at the cafe. Be sure to bring your camera…photography is allowed in the galleries.



The Vivaldi Museum is set in a church and displays musical instruments and and exhibit showing how instruments are made. Venice, the city where the demonstrations take place, has been the “storage” of important instrument constructers, particularly for violins. Its craftsmen were excellent in experimenting and the production of musical instruments.

Palazzo Grassi , located on the Grand Canal, was built in the middle of XVIII century, with a rigorous Classical facade (contrasting with the surrounding Baroque or Byzantine palaces) designed by Massari. After the extinction of Grassi Family, it belonged to many different owners, including the Agnelli family, founders and owners of the FIAT company. In 2005, Palazzo Grassi was bought by French billionaire François Pinault and restored by architect Tadao Ando, with the purpose of housing part of Pinault’s impressive contemporary art collection.



The current exhibition (through 12/31/2014) “Irving Penn, Resonance”, curated by Pierre Apraxine and Matthieu Humery, brings together on the second floor of Palazzo Grassi 130 photographs, taken between the end of the 1940s and the mid-1980s. The exhibition is a collection of 90 platinum prints, 30 gelatin silver prints, 4 colorful dye transfer prints and 17 inter-negatives, shown to the public for the first time.

Also on display,  “The Illusion of Light” explores the physical, aesthetic, symbolic, philosophical and political stakes of an essential dimension of human experience that has also been, since the Renaissance, a fundamental element of art: light.



Take in the evening concert in a grand church. Interpreti Veneziani, a chamber ensemble specializing in Baroque music, plays on period instruments and has received international acclaim for its exuberant and passionate performances. The ensemble performs its seasons, featuring more than 200 classical music concerts, at Chiesa di San Vidal (San Vidal Church) in Venice.

Musica a Palazzo is a cultural association of classical musicians who, since 2005, have produced opera performances staged in the Palazzo Barbarigo Minotto, a Venetian Gothic palace facing the Grand Canal. The performing style follows the 19th-century Italian practice of “Salotto Musicale” (Musical Salon).

The operas are performed without a stage, with the audience becoming part of the scene. For a night, pretend you’re a 17th century Venetian patrician and think about what life in Venice’s heyday would have felt like in the most intimate way imaginable. The three acts are performed in a different room of the palazzo. Prosecco and red wine is served during the intermission. An elegant experience.



Churches…spend some contemplative time visiting the awe inspiring neighborhood churches found in just about every square in the city. 



Teatro La Fenice, “The Phoenix” is an opera house in Venice, Italy. It is one of the most famous theatres in Europe, the site of many famous operatic premieres. Its name reflects its role in permitting an opera company to “rise from the ashes” despite losing the use of two theatres (to fire and legal problems respectively). Since opening and being named La Fenice, it has burned and been rebuilt twice more.

If you can’t make it to a performance, be sure to go on the tour and have coffee in the elegant tearoom. Visit the website for performance and tour schedules:



Just around the corner, the Opera House Jazz Cafe is the ideal place to dine before a performance.



The Gritti Palace was recently renovated and includes a wine and cooking program, spa and restaurant.



Home to Club del Doge Restaurant and the Longhi Bar, the Gritti Terrace is the most desirable outdoor venue on Venice’s Grand Canal. An iconic gathering place for the international and local elite, the splendid Gritti Terrace is the new social hub in Venice where friends meet, couples dine, and late nighters linger over conversation and signature soufflés.



Other outings should include a day trip to visit the Murano Glass factory and the town of Burano is know for its colorful buildings and handmade lace. Visit the three most famous islands in the Venetian Lagoon by motorboat. Watch master glass blowers at work at a factory on Murano, See Venice’s Byzantine churches on Torcello – the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the Church of Santa Fosca.


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