We're back from our whirlwind trip to Venice & Milan as part of Modenus' BlogTour Milan. What a truly and utterly incredible journey! Without sounding cliché, there really are no words to begin to articulate what the last 10 days have meant to us... but over the next several weeks we'll certainly attempt to by injecting the blog with heavy doses of the things we saw and experienced on our Italian adventure. After arriving in Venice and taking our water taxi to the hotel, we had some time to settle in and explore on our own. Soon we'll be sharing a BlogTour Milan Photo Album post that encompasses many of our random experiences, but in the meantime we want to tell you about one of our first full days in the city of love. Veronika and Florence of Modenus arranged for us to have a wonderfully personal guided walking tour with Cristina of SlowVenice. She specializes in offering multifaceted experiences of Venice at a slower pace, one that incorporates the history and stories, both past and present, of this culturally rich city. Let us just tell you, she had us all hanging on her every beautiful, Italian-accent-drenched word and oh, oh the places she took us! Aside from wandering through the narrow, cobblestone clad back streets and learning about the vibrant Venetian history and culture, we also had the distinct pleasure of having a private meeting with the Countess Anna Barnabò and seeing, first hand, her family's stunning (and if we've ever said stunning before, we never truly meant it until now) Byzantine style palace, named Palazzo Malipiero.
The palace is located right on the Grand Canal and was originally built in the 11th century, changed hands several times, and was ultimately restored to its splendor by the Barnabò family in 1951 who undertook a substantial restoration, returning the palace to a grand eighteenth-century style. To learn more about this history of this grand home, check this and this out.
We entered the palace from a rather nondescript door on a side street just off of the Grand Canal, but once we stepped into this cool, dark foyer we knew we were in for something very special. Immediately across from the entry door was this monogrammed archway out to the garden which we will show you more of in a bit. You can begin to feel the mood, right? Quiet, serene - almost like a moment frozen in time.
Every detail had us weak in the knees. Like the light fixture and that funky little hand painted bench seat back. Oh my god!
After taking in the entryway, we climbed a set of stairs and stepped into the main hallway of the palace which quite literally took our breath away.
The patina of the cracked plaster walls and that ornate molding painted in lovely pastels took us to a totally different time and place. Oh, yes - and Murano glass chandeliers adorned just about every space we entered in the palace.
The grand living room with floor to ceiling windows that open directly onto the Grand Canal was like a moment frozen in beautiful time.
The sitting room off of the main living room is home to a TV and newspapers, evidence that the Countess enjoys spending time in this space.
Check out the Chinoiserie silk fabric that graces these chairs. To die for.
The rugs throughout the space were beyond anything we'd seen before.
Fabric drenched walls, with an ornate mirror.
The bright and cheerful dining room.
We loved this little bobble head dude... oh, and how about the marbeling in the panels below? Too good.
A view from the gardens, taken above in the dining room.
Just as grand as the interior.
OK, yes, we were being total tourists.... but can you blame a couple of design freaks like us?
After bidding the Countess goodbye, Cristina took us next to the Palazzo Fortuny which is now a museum. For textile addicts like us who adore the sumptuous and always decadent Fortuny fabric line, we were acutely aware of just how fortunate we were that the museum happened to be open when we were there.
This large gothic style palace, the exterior of which you can see below, was transformed by Mariano Fortuny into his personal atelier of photography, stage-design, textile-design and painting. While its own collections are vast and plenty, it remains closed much of the time and only opens to highlight temporary exhibits from different artists. We caught the Spring at Palazzo Fortuny exhibit.
One of the temporary exhibits was that of Ritsue Mishima’s. The thousand-year-old tradition of making glass in Venice, seen through the lens of Mishima’s Japanese culture, results in works forming a highly contemporary alphabet. All lit up in the dark space, these pieces were a vision.
We appreciated the wide-ranging breadth of art and styles represented throughout the space, many of which were hung on a backdrop of Fortuny fabrics.
What a rare and precious opportunity it was to visit these two Venetian palaces. We count our lucky stars every day to be doing what we love on a daily basis, and it is opportunities like these - so graciously provided by Modenus and their forward-thinking sponsors BLANCO America, Gessi, Clever Storage by Kesseboehmer, Dekton by Cosentino, the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), that continue to teach and grow us as designers and bloggers.