“Venice is notoriously the quietest, i.e., most noiseless city in the world, which has decided me in its favor.”
— from a letter, dated 24.August.1858, written by Richard Wagner to Franz Liszt
Wagner died in Venice 13.February.1883.
On 29.January.1996 the theater suffered another fire. Arson was the cause; and two electricians were eventually convicted of setting the blaze and imprisoned. In 2001, the rebuilding began; less than two years after it started, construction was completed.
The new la Fenice was built in the 19th-century style of the second theater, designed by the Meduna brothers. Architect Aldo Rossi used old still photographs to develop his design.
A concert, including works by Beethoven, Stravinsky, and Wagner, opened the new opera house in December 2003.
We attended a last-minute performance of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. We bought the tickets at Venice’s tourist info hut in Piazza San Marco, at the base of campanile. Though the price was only 25 euros, our seats were in the peanut gallery, with obstructed sight lines; we had a better view of the ornate ceiling (see photos #4 & #5) than we did of the stage. It was an experience to be sure. The theater is beautiful; I am happy we attended but wish I could have enjoyed the opera more. Next time!
Dress Code: Formal dress to business casual.
“La traviata last night a failure. Was the fault mine or the singers’?”
—from a letter written by Guiseppi Verdi the day after the première of his opera, “La Traviata” at La Fenice on 6.March.1853
Disaster struck again; the theater was destroyed by fire in 1836. It was rebuilt quickly; the architects and brothers Tommaso and Giambattista Meduna guided the process. Roughly a year after the fire the opera house re-opened. It went on to premiere some of Giuseppe Verdi’s well-loved operas Rigoletto and La Traviata.
During the First World War la Fenice was closed; but when it reopened, works by some of the 20th century’s best composers, including Benjamin Britten and Igor Stravinsky were seen there.
Because the building has a history of fire, Venice’s bravest are on duty at every performance (see photo #5).
The story continues with Part III of La Fenice.
Dress Code: From formal dress to business casual
“Dov’era, Com’era” (“How it was, where it was.”)
—a Venetian motto applied to restoring its precious architecture, such as Gran Teatro La Fenice
Teatro La Fenice (Theater of the Phoenix) is Venice’s storied opera house, one Europe’s most renowned, with a long list of premieres during its history.
Construction on the first Teatro La Fenice began in June 1790, sixteen years after a theater on the same spot, the San Benedetto opera house, was destroyed by fire.
Two years later construction was completed; and it was called la Fenice, in honor of the fantastical bird that rises from the ashes. The first opera performed was Giovanni Paisiello’s I Giochi di Agrigento. In the 18th century, Venetians were mad for theatrical entertainment. La Fenice, like many theaters and opera houses in the city, was a popular success, attracting a large audience from all levels of society.
In the early decades of the nineteenth century, Venice was one of the première venues for introducing new operas. Works by Rossini, Bellini, and Donizetti were first performed at Teatro La Fenice.
The story continues with Part II of La Fenice.
Dress Code: From formal dress to business casual
The Fiddler's Elbow opened in 1992 and it is said to be the first Irish Pub in Venice. It has a nice wooden bar and seating inside, but also offers a beer garden outside on the small Campo.
Irish and international beers are on tap. Expect to pay around 4,20 Euro for a Pint of beer (2005).
VAPORETTO - RIALTO MERCATO
This Jazz Club/Pizzeria was directly opposite the hostel (Sweet Dreams) that I was staying at. Coming back late at night, I could usually hear jazz music drifting out across the campo. This was usually recorded music, but this place is noted for its live sessions played here October-April , with Italys top jazz musicians, as well as others from Europe and America appearing.
I called in for a pizza one night (It's also recognised for serving some of the best pizzas in Venice) and really enjoyed the mellow atmosphere. As you might imagine, Jazz is the only music played. The bar area is crammed with memorabilia-old instruments and Black and White photos of well known jazz artistes etc.
It wasn't too busy-It was raining heavily, and it is a bit 'off the beaten track' I was the only non-local eating there. However, reservations are recommended when there are live performances.
Dress Code: Casual-smart was the attire of my fellow diners. Should imagine it would be the same on 'Live Music' nights
Opened in 1931 by Giuseppe Cipriani with financing from Bostonian Harry Pickering, this celebrated watering hole was frequented by Ernest Hemingway, Somerset Maugham, Orson Welles, and Aristotle Onassis, among others. Harry's Bar is famous for its martinis and its Bellinis (fresh peach juice and Prosecco wine).
VAPORETTI -SAN TOMA or FERROVIA
I enjoy wandering around Venice at night, when it takes on a different atmosphere.
I was pleasantly surprised to find myself at the distinctive entrance to the Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista. I had stumbled on it a few years ago, and had been intrigued by this impressive gateway, but it looked even more impressive, with the candle-lit courtyard.
Passing through, into the courtyard, I could hear an operatic performance from one of the rooms above. A poster informed that it was La Traviata. I was quite happy to stand and listen, and enjoy the atmosphere. In a corner 'hidden away' were 2 men in costume (pic 2) enjoying a smoke, nearby were a couple of black hats and the long beaked white masks. I wasn't sure if they were part of the performance, or if they were there to greet the audience leaving the opera. They were happy enough to have their photo taken.
The Scuola was built in 1261. It is well known for its impressive Salone, which contains works of art by Tintoretto and Tiepolo amongst other Venetian artists and has excellent acoustics.
Throughout Venice, Palaces, un-consecrated churches and Scualas are venues for Operatic performances, probably some of these are considered to be 'for the tourists', and some will be better than others.
Hotel receptions often have 'flyers' for productions, or look out for posters and billboards.
For more information about this and other performances VENICE OPERA AND OPERETTA
The Fenice Opera House is considered to be the place to see the best productions of Opera and ballet. Most of the audience will be local. Tickets cost from 20 - 60 Euros, some of these cheaper seats have 'poor visibility'. You can also purchase 'listen only' seats for 10 Euros. Teatro Malibran also has Operatic performances.
I was more than happy enough with my free 'listen only' spot.
Dress Code: Now, this is a FAQ-What should I wear to the opera in Venice? I should have hung around until the end, and snapped some pics of the audience.
Well, after some googling- It appears that anything from Evening wear and furs to 'everyday street wear' are the norm. I should imagine street wear doesn't include shorts and vest tops though!
From my experience, some of these churches/palaces etc can be pretty cold (particularly in winter, when thermals, scarves, hats and gloves are worn to concerts).
Gala nights etc are the occasion for 'Black Tie'
VAPORETTO RIALTO MERCATO / RIALTO
This place had been recommended to one of my fellow roomies at the hostel I was staying at-for its reasonable priced and good food. We were too late to eat here on that particular night. There are menus displayed on the wall of the narrow entrance.
Apparently, it's noted for its seafood salads, fritto misto (mixed fried fish) and typical Venetian ciccetti. Being a few metres from the Peschiera (Fish Market), I should imagine these are pretty good! It's very much a favourite place for Venetians, and has quite a few loyal regulars.
As it was on the way to the hostel, I'd passed by a few times, and it always sounded to have a lively atmosphere.
Heading back late one night, I decided to call in for a night cap.
The entrance area (smoking area) has barrels for tables, and there are more inside. The narrow bar area is dimly lit, and is dominated by the dark wooden bar. A selection of ciccetti was at one end. I wasn't hungry, so didn't get to try them. There is also a dining area for larger 'sit down' meals. There's a wide selection of wines and some beers etc.
Seating is limited, and I felt a bit conspicuous, so I ordered a glass of Pinot Grigio, and scuttled out to the narrow alleyway, which served as an extension to this bar. Apparently Live Music nights happen here, and the back room has examples of artwork by aspiring artists.
Well there were certainly quite a few 'characters' here.
I'll have to give it another try next time I'm in Venice.
OPEN Tuesday-Sunday 11.00 - 14.30 and 18.00 - 01.00
Dress Code: Casual - smart, as only the Italians can! Even those who'd probably come in after a hard day working at the markets had a certain style about them.
For some reason I really wanted to see Piazza San Marco at night so one evening after dinner we headed in that direction, but it was not quite dark by the time we got there. Since I didn't feel like just waiting around, we went in search of a place where we could have a nice glass of wine without breaking the bank. Considering the area we were in and the time of the day (most restaurants were still full with the dinner crowd) we walked around for quite some time before stumbling upon this little wine bar located just one street behind the basilica. Our waiter was very friendly and gave us a summary description of all the wines that were available by the glass. Prices were very reasonable and we enjoyed the ambience and music (there was also a light menu available but we weren't hungry enough to try anything). By the time we finished our wine the sun had gone down so I was able to see Piazza San Marco at night as planned (see photos), all the while enjoying that warm and fuzzy feeling only a really nice glass of Sangiovese can provide :o)
One of the things that I especially enjoy about wandering around Venice is coming across something unexpected. This time it was a free concert.
I had noticed that this church (also known as Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Derelitti) was open, so wandered inside, only to find that a concert was about to begin. I decided to stay.
This was a Concerto di Natale - A Christmas Concert and featured a soprano (Sara Bino) accompanied by Claudio Gasparoni (Viola da gamba - I'll try and find a translation) and Nicola Lamon (organ and clavicembalo).
Prof. Gasparoni is also the Artistic Director
They performed a selection of pieces by Bach, Vivaldi, Handel, Galuppi and Telemann.
I particularly enjoyed the organ playing from the loft above the front of the church.
The leaflet that I picked up listed a programme of concerts for Autumn and Winter for Saturdays and Sundays, with some weekday concerts too.
These all commence at 17.30 I'm not sure how long this concert lasted.- probably just over an hour.
(I suppose that this isn't strictly a night time tip, but in December it is dark at this time!)
Free admission to the concerts- a donations basket is prominantly placed near the exit.
The church is worth a look around too. There are frescoes by Jacopo Guarana and The Sacrifice of Isaac by Giambattista Tiepolo (1720)
The Ospedaletto was established by the Republic in 1528 as a charitable institution, initially to provide care for the peasants fleeing famine on the mainland. Its aim was to care for the sick and aged and also to educate orphans and abandoned girls. Music was the main subject studied, which resulted in the girls becoming accomplished musicians and singers in orchestras and choirs performing through Venice and beyond. Concerts raised enough funds to enable the building of a Sala della musica in 1776.
Dress Code: It is a church, so dress accordingly - no need for head coverings etc though!
As with most churches in Venice, the heating is minimal! It's quite cold sitting for any length of time- so wrap up warm. I was glad of my heavy winter coat and scarf.
I don't know if I've not just been to the right places, but it seems Venice closes early for the night - especially if the weather is damp and cold. By 8 PM, the only places to go were a handful of pubs and restaurants (around Dorsoduro), which by 10 PM are more likely to be closing shop. Quite strange for such a major tourist city - or was it the season of the year (late autumn)?
So for lack of better things to do, I set out into the night and took these pictures. The pleasant surprise is, there are quite a few like-minded tourists doing the same thing and sharing a few photography tips - so you'll be having good company!
A SWEET JAZZ CONCERT. .THAT I BELIEVE WAS AT THE PONTE DEI SOSPIRI JUST NEAR ST MARK'S SQUARE..IT WAS 25 EURO ..BUT I DID ENJOY THE MUSIC..FROM BOSSA NOVAS TO BEB BOP.. A GREAT EVENING....IT WAS A CONCERT SETTING IN A NICE OLD VENETIAN PLACE.
IF YOU LOOK FOR THIS PLACE ..LOOK FOR POSTERS OF CONCERTS ON THE DOOR ENTRANCE AND WALLS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BRIDGE.. ..MANY OF THE CONCERTS THERE ARE CLASSICAL MUSIC..IF I HADN"T SEEN THE POSTERS ,I WOULDN"T HAVE KNOWN THAT THERE WAS ANY MUSIC BEING PLAYED THERE.
Dress Code: IT WAS CASUAL..OR RATHER KEEP WARM..CLOTHING!!!!!!!
Campo Santa Margherita is where all the young Venetians throng to in the evenings. The largest campo(piazza)on Venice, there are bars,clubs and restaurants.It's a great place to just hang out and watch people. Find youself a table outside one of the many establishments, order a sprizz or two and just enjoy the atmosphere.
Bacarro Jazz is located in the San Marco district of Venice. Its nothing special but you get a good crowd. Open till about 3am, its one of the only places in Venice where you can just get a beer and chill out. Great place for insomniacs or just if you've walked your feet off.
There's no live music, but the do play some great jazz and blues on the hi fi system.
Not expensive(by Venetia standards).- happy hour from 4pm to 7pm.
Dress Code: Very laid back. Blue jeans and T shirts or just a pair of slacks and a shirt. Nobody,s judging.
I am not a nightlife person, at least I won’t go to bars and discos and party the whole night. So I can’t judge where the hot spots are in Venezia.
BUT – the best nightlife you can treat yourself with (no matter if you are a bar-disco person or not) is a trip along Canal Grande in the evening or night. The city has already this magic serene atmosphere without the masses of day tourists and an extra special quietness is hanging over Canal Grande.
As I stayed in Canaregio (thus north), I took my vaporetto 41/42 around the city’s east – and was rewarded already with magic sunset sights when we have turned west at Isola Santa Elena. I switched vaporettos at Arsenale and went on the vaporetto 1, direction Piazzale Roma (= end of car traffic). If you want to relax, line 1 is better, as this stops at every stop along Canal Grande. Line 82 stops only at half of them. The Palazzi just look gorgeous, and even more… I felt like an intruder or voyeur, as I could peek in the houses; something that is not possible during the day, without room illumination. It isn’t easy to take photos, though.
If you want to see more of beautiful Venezia at night, look at Simone’s page – she managed to get marvellous images (haha, as usual :-)).
If you have one of Venezia’s transport cards, it does not cost anything. If not, one ride will cost 6 Euro.
Dress Code: Bring something warm, it can get a bit fresh in the evening (well, I can only judge for May).
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