I'm just starting to explore things to do, but already have a few things on our must-do list. We will be catching the tail end of the Venice Carnival, which started back in the 11th century and was very popular until outlawed by the King of Austria in 1797, and picked back up after a long absence in 1979. During the Carnival (Carnevale) from January 31 - February 17, 2015, Venice will slough off the winter gloom and burst into life. This most magical of cities fills with a mass of masked party-goers - posing and preening, dancing and philandering, in a slightly surreal re-invention of a great tradition of the city. (Think Eyes Wide Shut.)
What's any historic city without a good Murder and Mystery Tour? Those of you who know me well, know I only watch one channel: Investigation Discovery so this is right up my (dark) alley. Discover an entirely different Venice as we make our way through a labyrinth of narrow alleyways, where shadows linger and footsteps echo. Imagine a dark silent Venice with no lighting, eerie and spooky.
Learn about the public executions in St. Marks square, the inhumane mental asylums situated on the lagoon islands. Anecdotes of the courtesans, casinos and brothels and of course Casanova and 'the last kissing spot'.
There's a story of the mysterious footprints, headless body and the head seen floating in a canal, the assassins alleyway and the murdered women dressed in white! Secret courtyards and architectural gems hidden in the silent alleys, such as the impressive spiral staircase. Finally the story of the ill-fated Theatre, La Fenice and mystery of the last fire...
I'm also excited about where we're staying: the Hilton Molino Stucky on Giudecca Island, facing the Grand Canal. Once a flourishing flourmill, it is now internationally recognized as one of Italy’s iconic pieces of industrial architecture.
Other than that, the rest of our itinerary will be open. Nathan made all of the (first class!) travel arrangements, and said it's up to me to plan what we do while we're there. I like to have things on my must see list, but not in any particular order or day. Having too full of an itinerary is stressful.
I definitely want to see the Peggy Guggenheim collection, attend Mass at St. Mark's Basilica, and explore two of the famous islands of the Venetian Lagoon - Murano and Burano. Burano has all the colorful buildings and is known for its intricate lace (I can't wait to find something for Autumn there) and Murano is known for their precious glass. Lastly, I hope we can catch a show at the Teatro San Gallo close to our hotel.
But mostly, I want to walk down narrow alley-ways holding hands, not knowing where we're going, while getting about as lost as you can on an island.