First, I've posted a new link to the latest NY times article about the Biennale.
Back to pastry/dolci (I'll get back to art in a minute, hold your horses!) Didovich - an institution (that means it's old) - is considered by some the very best pastry shop in Venice. We set out early Monday morning - in a light rain which could not deter us in our quest - and walked around and around and around it 'til we realized it was it. No sign, nothing to indicate it is what it is except for the incredible edibles, a child-like drawing stuck to the wall with scotch tape that had part of the name on it and the swirling yet obviously hand-painted "D"s on the glass doors. Need I say a small and extremely unpretentious place - Gill, I was picturing Venice's answer to Gilli's and it is the opposite. Savories (not TOO savory) and sweets (not TOO sweet) are mind-bogglingly good. As is the cappuccino (I'm going to stop writing about cappuccino as of this post.)
Back to art. In spring of 2006, French industrialist/businessman Francois Rinault bought the historic Palazzo Grassi as a place to stage exhibitions of his remarkable contemporary art collection - he had tried for years to accomplish thisgoal in his native France with no success. Venice welcomed him with mostly open arms. His first show featured Richard Serra, Jeff Koons, and those kinds of names. For the Biennale - although not connected to the Biennale which they make abundantly clear when you enter - he is featuring the work of 17 young artists (yes, all from his own, personal collection as the staff makes clear) in a show called "Sequence 1." The Palazzo is spectacular - it was restored by a Japanese architect who is now working with Rinault on another exhibition space here. The staff is stuffy, snobby, "art cops." And the show, for me, was mostly dull and disappointing. As if there wasn't enough art at the "official" Biennale venues - but, as I say, the building made the trip worthwhile.
We happened upon a very hip little place for dinner - between San Marco and Rialto - called Osteria Enoteca San Marco. Great wine list (duh!) and simple, fresh, well-prepared food.
We're all caught up...it's gray again this morning - we talked yesterday about going to Murano today - we'll see...haven't even had a "you-know-what" yet...
Ciao, mi amici