I was happy when my application to be a lecturer of a workshop on EMCC (European Coaching and Mentoring Council) Conference held from 20 to 22 of November 2014 was accepted, not only because I would be the first lecturer from Central Europe there, but also because of the place of a venue -Venice.
When I have arrived to Venice I have fallen in love with the city from the first sight.The words of Mrs Peggy Guggenheim regarding falling in love are totally true (see photo in a slide presentation).
My first WOW I have exclaimed was when entering my room. It was furnitured with wooden board painted with flowers and with extraordinary lamp (see on photo left). Next day I have spotted lamps of such design in shops with Murano glass (famous Venetian glass). This was a beginning of my WOW!
What I find marvellous are the opposite aspects which the city embraces – from one side offering closeness with narrow streets and canals, from another one – spacious squares (piazza); creativity and at the same time harmony (see the picture of facade of a building which has three kinds of windows but still it is harmony in it), vivid atmosphere on the streets and contemplation in churches and museums. At every corner I have discovered the signs of creativity – see photos of a poster with cats – Leonardo da Vinci, Klimt, or Kandisky and more at the slides presentation below.
I like colours of Venice – blue of water and sky, white, rouge and brown buildings and a harmony of all colours (see an example of the Basilica of San Marco, photo on the left).
I have enjoyed good taste and style of Italians – in every detail – even in box for letter (see on the photos on right).
When visiting new places I pay attention to public spaces – parks, squares, sculptures and museums – and all of them are fabulous in Venice.
I like contemporary painting so my first visit was in a museum with Peggy Guggenheim Collection, which is regarded to be the most important museum in Italy for European and American art of 20th century. Peggy Guggenheim, an American heiress assembled the core of the Collection in London, Paris and New York between 1938 and 1947. In 1948 her Collection was exhibited at the first post – war Venice Biennale. She has fallen in love with Venice (see the quotas on the first photo) and as consequence she has acquired a 18th century unfinished palace on the Grand Canal of Venice, where she has spent last 30 years and which still hosts her museum. Earlier she has looked for a place for her collection in New York, London and Nice, but finally she has chosen Venice.
On displays there are masterpieces of Cubism, Futurism, Surrealism, and American Abstract Expressionism. I enjoyed masterpieces of Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall and Pageen Vail, whose paintings I have seen for the first time (see a photo of a picture). The donation by Peggy Guggenheim of collection to a public I regard as an expression of her great soul.
I like very much sculpture so I was very found of some pieces presented in the garden – a sculpture by Henry Moore and an amazing/ surprising sculpture of naked horse’s rider by Marine Marini.
I liked very much tomb of Peggy Guggenheim in the garden – very modest, which again is for me a confirmation of her great soul.
When arriving to Venice I have had no plan how to do sightseeing of the city. As my hotel was at Ca’ d’Oro district in the middle of the city, I could walk to almost all places, which is my favourite way (when possible) to learn a city. This time I let myself be guided by my intuition, so I had not planned itinerary. There are some tips about the best time to visit certain places in a guide, but there were no hints there about best time to make photos regarding light exposure – what by the way is most important element of a good photo. But my intuition guided me to right places at right time, so I could spot the reflections of the tower of Arsenal (see photo on the right)
or the sunset on Grand Canal (next photos).
When visiting a place, sometimes everything is on your side and sometimes not. Venice was very generous for me. Before I arrived, it was rained for a week and during my stay – 5 days of marvellous sun – like in a summer! Next nice surprise I encountered when walking from the Fenice (Opera building) to Guggenheim Collection – I have passed through a bridge which was open just for a few days to celebrate on the 21st of November Festa della Madonna della Salute as an end of the pest in 1634 when 2/3 of citizens of the city died. So I had an opportunity not only to use the bridge but also to take part in the celebration.
All the time I have enjoyed moments of pleasure – when finding same design of a clock with zodiac signs like on the Terre della H’orolage in a shop, when discovering an exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci’s works (no information in my guidebook), when discovering kinds of fishes which I have never seen (see photos in a slide presentation).
Italians seems to me be cheerful people – the waiters are kind, smiling and with good energy. When I asked my host about a way to a given place, she has explained it so long (in a very nice manner), that my perception could not pick up what was important.
It is funny how she has explained me one route – go to Piazza San Marco, than cross Piazza San Sebastian and next Piazza San Paolo (order could be not correct J). I cannot imagine that a person not accustomed with All Saints will remember the route. Even for me, being raised in a Catholic culture was difficult to remember all Saints. There are so many churches in Venice and so many piazza of different Saints, that I have feared to become indifferent to their beauty, but luckily it did not happen.
Dolce vita of Italians
I have never seen so many people standing on the street and chatting. Once I tried to behave as Italians due to an intercultural rule “Being in Rome do as Romes do” in an osteria (a local name for a restaurant). When I start eating my ravioli I have seen men (seemed to be at lunch break) at another table eating their meals. They have already started, so I made a promise to myself to eat at least as long as they would, to enjoy the meal and spritz. They stayed in an osteria more that 1 hour for lunch. For me it was too long to eat a lunch, but I tried hard to live as Venetians do. I have still a lot of to catch up.
Life without cars
First day of my sightseeing I have wondered why I was so relaxed and not tied although I was on feet all day. Than it came to me that it was because there was no car traffic, no fumes and no noise of cars! Venice incorporates for me the ideal way of living. The movement of Slow food came just from Venice.
I like the public space in Venice, already mentioned numbers of squares and the fact, that there are no billboards in the city, which are so common in Poland. The only adverts I have seen were discreet signs on the pavement (see photo).
I like strong city identity, which presents its entire symbols -beginning from a symbol of a city – lion with wings to other artefacts (see photo).
The way of learning a city
I like to immerse in a city and integrate with it. I can recognize this state when I start greeting people in their language (bongiorno), when I buy local food in local shops and markets, when I start chatting with waiters, when I glimpse the details on the way – for example posters – not noticed before (see one of them).
When you would like to see more about Venice have a look at my slideshow.