Silks, brocades, Coco Chanel and the meeting of angels................
We have just returned home having spent 3 delicious days simply wandering the streets of Venice. I was told that Venice captures the heart and mind and how true that is!
On the short plane trip from Paris we sat, by chance, next to a French girl who creates period costumes for the annual masked balls each February. We were engrossed for the whole flight talking about silks, lace, trims and buttons and exhanged numbers like old friends after landing. She said it was a meeting of the angels who had made her sit next to us!
We arrived in Venice about 10pm and caught the vaporetti (water) bus to our hotel that fronted onto one of the many small canals. I couldn`t bear to go bed immediately so, around midnight, we could be found wandering along the deserted streets, the only sound being the echo of our footsteps and the occasional lap of the water! The maze of tiny dimly lit narrow alleyways give the impression that time has stood still and - if someone had rushed past in a rustling silk and lace period dress it wouldn`t have seemed out of place.
Eventually we found a small trattoria that stayed open until 2am and had a nightcap with a small dish of tagliatelle arabiatta before wandering back to the hotel. Our room contained a 6 foot wide bed and a very decadent tinkling murano chandelier with gilded furniture and sweeping silk damask drapes. Fabulously decadent!!
We were delighted the next morning to be woken by shouts and laughter outside and threw open our shutters to see that our room looked directly over the canal, and a host of gondoliers were rowing into place to stert their days work. Their traditional striped shirts and ribbon-bedecked hats stood out brightly against the deep jade green water. Already, a long queue of highly coutured excited tourists, mainly from the Far East, had formed for a gondolier ride. Also,I noticed their handbags - and I have never seen so much Louis Vuitton in one small area!
One of the largest tourist attractions, St Marks Square, filled rapidly with large crowds -but- for me, I just longed to start exploring the smaller back streets away from the crowds.!
My second meeting of the angels happened later that day as we wandered into a museum to see a costume colection which was on show. After a minute or so wondering around, a tiny, old lady, elegant in a full length fur, swept over and introduced herself as the person who had actually put the collection together for display. She was spending the day at the museum with some of her family members, and was very keen and proud to be able to tell me about the costumes. So she walked with me to every dress and display giving me a history of each piece , opening glass cabinets en route for me to feel her mother's 1920s beaded wedding gown, show lace parasols donated by friends, divine shawls ,racy charleston dresses and even a stunning outfit worn by Coco Chanel herself. This chance meeting made my visit a treasured memory to say the least!
More to come............................