ONLY BE VENETIAN

Only-Be Venetian

The Venice Biennale – Venice’s International Film Festival

Ready for the Venice Biennale? The foremost international art exhibition is almost here. The year 1985 marked the inception of the Venice Biennale, which serves the purpose of promoting contemporary artistic endeavors and its new trends at a global level every two years. Although the event itself spans all artistic disciplines (art, architecture, film, dance, drama, music), we are going to focus on its film event, held annually. The Venice International Film Festival is an 11 day-long event held annually in Venice’s well-known Palazzo del Cinema, from Wednesday September 2nd to Saturday September 12th, 2015. The Venice International Film Festival One of the highlights of this event is, without a doubt, the amazing display of well-known faces and dazzling celebrities as they walk down the red carpet, making it the perfect opportunity for fans to get a close-up look of their idols. Just picture that Johnny Deep we are used to watching on screen, or in the role of that handsome Caribbean pirate parading right before our very eyes. I can still recall how starstruck I felt when I was lucky enough to see Richard Gere in the flesh as he walked down the red carpet during a previous edition of the Festival. He walked right over to shake my hand and say, “Hi, how’s it going?” And though I’d much rather have had the Richard Gere in Pretty Woman, it was rather memorable, nonetheless. Surely the reader can conjure up images of their favorite celebrity; someone they dream of meeting, and perhaps they will be present at this very edition of the International Film Festival. The Film Festival...

Venice at its finest: The Acqua Alta Bookshop

Venice is much more than gondolas The canals and the gondola rides are perhaps one of the most acclaimed attractions of this city. For a first contact, it´s a great plan to sail around the canals. However, on foot, there´s much more to discover. Every corner is a surprise and the city´s air smells of Renaissance, culture and music as well as canals when the weather gets hotter. It´s not in plain view and you get there mostly by chance on a long walk or because someone knows about it and expressly goes there. The Acqua Alta bookshop is the most fascinating one in the city. From the outside, the impression is that it´s nothing special but once you´re inside, that perception changes completely. It´s a small treasure inside the even bigger treasure that is Venice. You´d need a whole day in that bookshop to check all the books out properly because, once you´re inside, the untidy chaos draws you in. Photo vía trabalibros.com Irresistible seduction… You can spend hours and hours browsing in this peculiar bookshop. The owner is a charming and pleasant man who welcomes you to learn more about the place and its books. Any book that you want to buy, you´ll probably find it there, in the huge piles, inside bathtubs, gondolas or even a boat, all of which making up a staircase. The books that you can find here are about Venice and a thousand other topics. Also, there are in many languages. It´s a special place that when you think you´ve seen it all, the owner takes you to the second floor so you can see an...

Discovering the true essence of Venice

Few cities in the world have as much to offer in terms of culture, art and tourism as Venice. Its special, cozy and cheerful atmosphere, combined with its impressive architecture, which whisper in your ear a small piece of its great history, have made this beautiful Italian city a tourist destination you must visit before you die. Exploring Venice as a regular tourist is a piece of cake, because wherever you go, you’ll find architectural and historical places of great value. However, for those folks who are always looking for adventures out of the ordinary, we’ve compiled a few sites to visit that will help you discovering the true essence of the city.   Photo: Moroder  The Giudecca You haven’t heard about the Giudecca? You´re missing a lot, if you like being part of the local life while traveling. The Giudecca is a quiet group of islands located on the south of Venice (just 5 minutes by ferry). Considered as the perfect place to get away from the bustle of the city, these islands are the perfect place to enjoy a walking tour around its traditional streets. Renting a holiday apartment in Giudecca is one of the best choices of accommodation in Venice, thanks to its tranquility and less expensive prices in comparison with the most tourist places of the city. Osteria al Portego The Osteria al Portego is the ideal place to explore the Venetian culture from a gastronomical perspective. This traditional tapas bar is small and very frequented by locals, because it is out of most tourist places of the city. Famous for its delicious “cicchetti” (Italian...

Venice Film Festival

There are many film festivals around the world but the festival of Venice, along with the Cannes one, are the most glamorous and prestigious of all. Certainly there are others, like the ones in Berlin and Toronto, which are catching the attention of people for being truly outstanding, but they will never have the experience, quality, beauty and glamour that is the Venice film festival has got. Photo: spaceodissey The Venice Film Festival celebrated its first edition in 1932. Led by Giuseppe Volpi, a Venetian politician and businessman, the festival has been celebrated since then every year in late August and early September, while gathering the best actors, actresses, directors and producers from around the world. The festival takes place on the island of Lido, south of Venice, and is part of the Venice Biennale, which also incorporates other arts such as sculpture, painting and architecture. Finding accommodation in Venice is expensive and complicated, but you’ll always have the chance to book beautiful holiday apartments in Venice at Only apartments, they are a very comfortable and affordable way accommodation. You’ll even find accommodation in Lido itself, so you can have the film stars at the door of your rental. The prizes awarded at the festival are also among the most famous in the world, just a step below the immortals Oscars. The best film is given the Leone d´Oro, while the best director receives the Leone d´Argento. The best actor and actress, get the Volpi Cup prize, which is named after the founder of the festival mentioned above. In addition, a special award commemorating the career of an actor,...

Campo Santa Margherita, Venice

If you’re looking for a real Venetian experience, look no further than Campo Santa Margerhita. This bustling Italian courtyard is the social hub of the Dorsoduro district, and at any given time you’re bound to find something going on there. The square itself isn’t all that impressive; however, it’s a peaceful spot, dotted with a few trees and benches. The long open courtyard is surrounded by cafes, bars, offbeat shops and even some private residences – a number of which date back to the 14th century. The buildings enclose the space, making it feel warm, sheltered and friendly. Perhaps that’s what draws so many people to visit and chat.   Photo: Miles Heller The great thing about Campo Santa Margherita is that it’s a local hangout more than a tourist attraction. Far from the hawkers and trinket vendors of the big tourist spots, the Campo hosts a weekday market and a largely local clientele. People show up all throughout the day. Some come to shop for produce, bread, or other daily essentials at the market stands. Some come to browse and window shop at the trendy boutiques. Some come for a leisurely lunch or an afternoon coffee. It’s really the heart of the neighborhood, and you’re sure to find something happening late into the night – even when everything else in Venice is closed down. Right in the middle of the Campo Santa Margherita, you’ll find a flowing water fountain, engraved with a depiction of a mermaid. Fountains like this are common throughout the city’s campos, and while they’re certainly lovely, they’re more than just decorations. Bring a bottle with...

Venice without Barriers

The center of Venice seems too complex, difficult and impassable for people who suffer from a physical or sensory impairment. There are more than a hundred islands connected by over 400 bridges, and it may seem impossible to get aroung on them, as though they serve as authentic architectural barriers. (Photo: Steve A Johnson) But that’s not entirely true. Most of the monuments and bridges can be visited and frequented without much trouble by people with mobility problems. Some guides offer tips and advice to enjoy Venice, with routes recommended by Venetians themselves, who know firsthand about this sort of problem and the best solutions. Probably the most complete and highly recommended itinerary is to first visit the Mariciana Area, including St. Mark´s Square and all the buildings that are there, especially the Palazzo Ducale and the major Italian museums . One usually begins with a trip by the vaporetto no. 2, which allows you to get off at San Marco Giardinetti. But there is another route that lets you see much more, with minimal barriers to wheelchairs, that allows you to see additional notable buildings in the city. Take the bus no. 1 from the bus station (Piazzale Roma) or the train station (Ferrovia) until the stop Marco Vallaresso. When you get off, you arrive at the Campo San Moise and the church of the same name. To access it, there is only a small step. Continuing to the right and you’ll reach the Piazza San Marco, the true heart of Venice and its most famous landmark. There you’ll find the Palazzo Ducale, the Doge´s Palace, and several...

The Carnival of Venice

In many people’s minds, the city of Venice is practically synonymous with life, revelry and fun. At no time is this more apparent than during Carnevale. Every year the city of Venice throws a major bash over a number of weeks, culminating in a final hurrah on Shrove Tuesday (also known as Fat Tuesday or Marte di Grasso). If you’ve never been to Venice, this is the time to visit – and if you know the city well, you’ll already know that Carnevale is the quintessential Venitian experience.   A little history The carnival originally was created to celebrate the victory of Serenissima (old Venice) over the Patriarch of Aquielia in 1162. Every year, the city would gather in honor of the victory, celebrating with song and dance. Over time, the festivities grew and during the Renaissance, the festival became an official event. Though Carnevale went into decline during the 18th century, the tradition was resumed in 1979 and today, over 3 million visitors flock to the city to celebrate. The events Carnevale in 2013 promises to be another fabulous affair. Events range from historic throwbacks to modern celebrations. From ice skating on Campo San Polo to musical spectaculars, from traveling theatrical performances to costume competitions, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Of course, there are a few events that you absolutely cannot miss. Whether you’re short on time and just catching the highlights, or you just want to take in the very best of Carnevale, here are our recommendations for the top Carnevale activities in 2013: The Beautiful Mask Competition This is one of the mainstays of...

The 2013 Befana Regatta in Venice

If you are bored of the usual procession of the Kings on Epiphany and are in search of new thrills, there’s a traditional Italian feast that will surely excite you. It takes place in Venice on January 6 and is called the Befana Regatta. This parade is unusual because the Magi from the East have been replaced by elderly witches who float through the city with their brooms. They can be seen on lots of gondolas and on every street corner, but they’re not there to scare the children. This celebration is quite different, really, and unknown in much of the world. The Witch Befana is very famous in Italy because she flies above the cities every year and fills the houses with gifts. Young children know this quite well. And as the story goes, this old woman led the Magi to the manger in Bethlehem and was even invited to go with them to adore the Child Jesus but chose not to. In spite of what many may think about witches and the Befana’s ragged appearance, she’s a good witch. The Befana in Italy is responsible for filling the houses with gifts, chocolates and sweets. She achieves this by going down the chimney much like Santa Claus does. But those who have behaved badly will only receive a lump of coal, so you better watch out! If you are in Venice on this day, you will see how unique this celebration is compared to what is done in the rest of the world. On the Epiphany there’s a witch race with all of the participants dressed up and...