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Il Palazzo Experimental.
Il Palazzo Experimental

In the hectic month of May, I decided to use the one advantage of working for yourself—freedom. I went to a wedding in Spain and from there took a trip to Venice. Venice is the perfect place for solo travel. Especially if you, like me, are happy with the company of podcasts and other people's conversations. The last time I went to Venice, I was 18. It was a memorable trip, but with the benefit of age and a little more money in the bank, it was a little easier to navigate. Many people would tell you that May is not the month to visit, well, not late May. The crowds have come, and you, like me, can bemoan the waves of tourists while conveniently forgetting you are part of the problem. Way back when, in those happy days when we were part of Europe, I would feel as if I was basically home. Now with our proud blue passports, I take my place behind an umbrella, toating tour guide and fling the tourist sign around my neck. Not quite, but you get the gist. May is busy, but it's still pretty marvellous if you take advantage of early mornings and evenings.


I stayed in the Il Palazzo Experimental. A very groovy kind of hotel. It is designed, designed to an inch of its life. Not quite my type of design, but I appreciated the thought. I also appreciated the people, my comfortable bed and their excellent breakfast - not to mention their conveniently placed cocktail bar.


When looking for hotels in Venice, I found it quite tricky. Many of them look overdone—the perfect backdrops for a corset ripper. The chic ones are expensive and far too costly on a solo traveller's budget. Il Palazzo Experimental was £220, including breakfast. Its position was excellent, set on the banks of the Giudecca Canal. As I zoomed through the water on my arrival sat in my dapper water taxi, I saw the canal banks ladened with people enjoying the sunshine. The Aperol and Campari flowed from the array of orangey-red dots I could see from the boat.


Pasticceria Chiusso,
Pasticceria Chiusso

As I mentioned, I woke up early. I headed to Pasticceria Chiusso, a family-run bakery half an hour from my hotel. A charming walk, especially if you don't have to navigate the crowds. I got there, had a quick coffee and a pastry, I embarrassingly pointed at the pastry, so I have no real clue of its name, but it was delicious. I do feel for the Italians and the Venetians in particular. Putting up with fools like me pointing and looking vaguely hopeful whenever a transaction goes through. Although, I would enjoy the inevitable feeling of superiority.


This was the perfect start to the culture-packed day ahead of me. My first stop was the Doge's Palace. It opens a 9 am so I was one of the first in. I am trying to figure out what I can say that won't be stripped from their website, but a brief description - The Palace was built in 1340 and was the residence of the Doge of Venice. Even if you only have a day, it is an excellent place to visit. The interiors are glorious. The mix of Gothic architecture and the extensions of the 15th Century makes for a fascinating visit. It's also a handy place to start your understanding of the history of Venice.


My next stop was on the advice of Emily Tobin, Deputy Editor of World of Interiors. She suggested I visit The Church of San Zaccaria, a glorious 15th Century church in Campo San Zaccaria. The original church was built in the 9th Century, and the church that stands there today was built in the 15th Century and designed by Mauro Codussi. The church itself is enough to warrant a visit, but if you happen to have 3 euros on you, I would strongly suggest visiting the crypt. Perhaps one of the most beautiful sights in Venice.


 Museo Fortuny
Museo Fortuny

So, anyone I have holidayed with will attest I have a real sweet spot for House Museums. I love me a house museum. They come in all shapes and sizes - the only thing that will disappoint me is any sort of waxwork figure. Otherwise, I don't mind how tiered and worn they are. Thankfully Museo Fortuny was one of the greats. Palazzo Pesaro Orfei was the studio of fashion designer Mariano Fortuny (1871–1949). He worked there until his death in 1949. Fortuny's widow, Henriette Negrin gave it to Venice in 1965 and ten years later it opened as a museum. Each room is majestic. Oil paintings of friends and family adorn the walls, and Fortuny's designs are dotted around the space. I didn't know what to expect when I went, but I was exceedingly pleased to have visited - the light, the building, the contents it was divine.


For lunch, I visited Pizzeria L'Angelo. I went in planning to eat one slice and ended up eating four. I find the temptation of a slice unbearable. No matter what time it is, I can always eat pizza, and these ones really hit the spot.


On to the afternoon - the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. For this, I decided a podcast about the lady herself would be a bit of fun. So I settled on Celebrity Book Club, a wonderfully camp podcast where the hosts discuss Peggy Guggenheim's memoir, 'Out Of This Century: Confessions Of An Art Addict'—a perfect companion to this jaw-dropping collection of 20th Century art.


The last hit on the list, Gallerie dell'Accademia, it's a brave choice for a weary tourist. My footwear was rubbing, my hair sticking, and my phone running low. Thankfully the Gallerie dell'Accademia is no stranger to reinvigorating drowsy eyes. With the Perspective with a Portico by Canaletto and Portrait of a Young Man Painting by Lorenzo Lotto, you leave feeling wide awake.


I headed back to Il Palazzo Experimental for a quick lie down. After a change and a martini outside the bar, I trotted over to Trattoria alla Madonna, a very welcome suggestion by my great friend Liberty Nimmo (who has worked for THE Italian travel company Bellini Tavel for ten years). Trattoria alla Madonna is the perfect place for a solo diner. The interiors are perfection - wooden chairs, white tablecloths, a scattering of paintings and hardy terrazzo floor - why all restaurants don't follow this winning formula - I don't know. All the servers were dressed impeccably, with white blazers and black ties. They stood en masse, waiting for covers to start pouring in. I was lucky enough to find a spot in a corner beside an American family. The family's little boy promptly asked his parents if they also found English accents annoying. Thankfully I was saved from having to politely laugh at the little weasel's insolence as the waiter put in front of me the glorious packeted breadsticks and asked me what I would like to drink. My order consisted of a Carafe of the House White, Spaghetti Al Nero Di Seppia, Entrecote ai ferri, and I hate to admit it, but finished off with a Tiramisu. All of which made for a superb evening, and I felt incredibly smug as I rolled back to my hotel.


N.B- I will say that this was quite a tight schedule for one day, and I probably did a few things a little too swiftly, but it was one of the happiest days I have had this year.




Il Palazzo Experimental
Il Palazzo Experimental

Il Palazzo Experimental.
Il Palazzo Experimental.

Doge's Palace
Doge's Palace

Doge's Palace
Doge's Palace

Doge's Palace
Doge's Palace

Doge's Palace
Doge's Palace

Doge's Palace
Doge's Palace

Museo Fortuny
Museo Fortuny

Museo Fortuny
Museo Fortuny

Museo Fortuny
Museo Fortuny

Museo Fortuny
Museo Fortuny

Museo Fortuny
Museo Fortuny

Museo Fortuny
Museo Fortuny


Peggy Guggenheim Collection.
Peggy Guggenheim Collection.

Peggy Guggenheim Collection.
Peggy Guggenheim Collection.

Peggy Guggenheim Collection.
Peggy Guggenheim Collection.

Peggy Guggenheim Collection.
Peggy Guggenheim Collection.


Gallerie dell'Accademia
Gallerie dell'Accademia


Trattoria alla Madonna
Trattoria alla Madonna

Trattoria alla Madonna
Trattoria alla Madonna

Trattoria alla Madonna
Trattoria alla Madonna

Perfectly Boiled Egg At Il Palazzo Experimental

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