Destination: Venice

Created as a souvenir painting, or perhaps a study for another work, this light-filled painting by Luigi Loir puts Venice at the top of my travel list. Look at those gondolas sitting idle, just waiting for me! Who doesn’t love a gondola ride? One such experience takes you right back to a day when Venice was a stage for velvet clad Doges and pagentry, not to mention the center of style, music and trade. But here’s another reason to start planning your trip….

The Venice Biennale! While Venice’s past offers historically significant art, music and architecture, today you’ll find some of the most avant-garde art in the world at the Venice Biennale. The 2013 dates have just been announced (June 1-November 25, 2013), making this a perfect time to rush out and reserve your room at a 15th century palazzo.

What is the Venice Biennale:

It’s like the Olympics for art. Countries from around the world have one or two artists representing them who create magnificent exhibits throughout 30 permanent pavilions in a park. Other venues throughout the city also showcase art. Hire a personal guide ( to take you around to all the sites of the 55th Venice Biennale.

When to go:

Go in June if you want to also time your trip to hit Art Basel (June 13-16) in Basel, Switzerland. But, if that’s not a priority, I’d plan a fall trip to Venice. The throngs of tourists have largely gone and a quiet hush covers the city, sometimes in the form of rain, but at least you can see the sights without well, you know, the tourists.

Where to stay:

Palezzetto Pisani: Get the Suite del Doge for your own balcony overlooking the Grand Canal.

Hotel Cipriani: Luxury on a grand scale.

Where to eat:

Alle Testiere: Nine tables, local owners committed to fresh food. Delicious by reputation.

Da Pisis: At the Palazzo Bauer hotel. Their terrace has the best view on the Grand Canal and top shelf dining.

Da Rioba: More casual and modern; get an outside table



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