Arts Abroad: MFA Design in Venice and Rome, Part 4

August 25, 2009

One in a series of occasional dispatches from SVA’s Summer Arts Abroad programs. This dispatch was sent by designer and Summer Arts Abroad student Irina Lee.

Venice is filled with exquisite sites and delicate details that are easy to miss. Our classes and site visits explored sites off the tourist route. We explored the streets of Venice, taking every opportunity to document and photograph beautiful details of doors, signs, lamp posts, etc.

For my project, the guidebook Secret Venice, I was inspired by aspects of this enchanted city that are often overlooked in the whirl of tourist attractions. I discovered that Venice is completely different if you look closer, and I created a pocket guide to take the reader on a treasure hunt. I wanted readers to leave their excess luggage at home, toss their map, turn left when the signs point right, and get lost in the back calli (streets) and uncrowded campi (squares) where tourists seldom tread and encounter the true, living, breathing, gloriously decaying side of this most serene city.

I created Secret Venice as a way to explore the lesser-known Venice locations and offer information on hidden spots around the city. The guide also serves as a companion to Venetian culture, phrases and obscure facts. I was really interested in the local culture, like Maripoza Blue, a tiny delightful shop that carries silk and velvet ballet flats that are custom-embellished by owner, Patritzia Picucci; or indigenous cuisine, like the cichetti (the Venetian version of tapas); and hidden gems of Venice, like Gianni Basso’s Venetian letterpress shop.

Images: Photos by Irina Lee, 2009.

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Summer Session: Olena Shmahalo