We were extremely tired after a very early start but this was washed away by the adrenaline of being in Venice. We first travelled by Vaporetto (Water Bus) to San Giorgio Maggiore, where we climbed the huge tower. We could see the whole of Venice in beautiful spring sunlight, helping us to get our bearings. Our hotel was perfectly positioned on the Dorsoduro, one of the five 'Sestriere' of Venice. With Santa Maria della Salute just behind our hotel and San Marco (Saint Mark's Square ahead), it was a fantastic location for our 'home in Venice.'
The next day, we set off bright and early to capture the empty St Mark's Square and the colourful local fish market. Italian fishmongers and locals were our only company as we took advantage of the peaceful morning to explore. After breakfast, we returned to the now buzzing square, and enjoyed being shown around the city whilst also being blessed with beautiful sunshine. The Doge's Palace was a feast for the eyes, with the huge decorative gold ceilings overwhelming us all. We then visited St Mark's Basilica, which gave us all an opportunity to make sketches working on perspective. After this visual feast, we were able to let our hair down and celebrate Fran's 18th Birthday in an atmospheric location, over-looking the only Gondola workshop remaining in Venice.
The next day we visited the Peggy Guggenheim, where we were blown away by the amazing collection of works ranging from Jackson Pollock to work by Guggenheim's own daughter: Pegeen Vail Guggenheim. We all took so much inspiration from the wide range of contemporary Art, contrasting with the historic Venetian gothic architecture of the city and the ornate churches and cathedrals.
On the penultimate day, after a choppy Vaporetto trip we visited Murano, witnessing glass making at its finest. Viewing the beautiful residential housing, showing "pleasing decay", John Piper style; proved useful for Art projects all-round. The colours here inspired us to start using watercolours in our sketches. From Murano we travelled to the Jewish Ghetto, the Nazi barbed wire still prevalent. The whole experience was brought to life by Mrs Mills' stories about her Jewish grandmother's life in the Warsaw Ghetto.
In stark contrast to the Guggenheim, on the last day, we went to the Accademia Dell'arte, a museum of 14th - 18th Century Art. Here we saw works by the likes of Canaletto, Bellotto, Bellini and Tintoretto. It was truly amazing to see them in person.
On behalf of all the students who came to Venice, I would like to say a huge thank you to Mrs Mills, Amanda and Emma. It couldn't have been orchestrated in a better way, balancing free sketching and shopping time with museums, churches and galleries. We have all walked away (walking averaging 20 thousand steps a day) with enough inspiration for many more Art projects to come.
By Cicely (U6)