• Nicoletta Fornaro

In Venice Eating at Bio Sound System and Visiting Biennale Architettura


UPDATE MARCH 2019: THIS RESTAURANT IS NO LONGER VEGETARIAN AND HAS CHANGED NAME. NOW IT'S CALLED MADONNA NERA AND IS A BREWERY WITH MEAT DISHES, BURGERS AND SALADS.

My Saturday was simple, yet a-maz-ing! A full free day, with Vito home too! Although the weather wasn't fantastic, we wanted to spend some time outdoors and because Venice was busy due to the preparations for the Venice Marathon, we took a vaporetto and went to the Lido.

By the time we arrived it was almost midday. We crossed the Gran Viale and went for a short walk along the beach, then, when the air from the sea started to feel cold, we headed back to the main street and stopped for a spritz and a pizzetta con l'acciuga at Canton del Gallo. We had planned to visit Biennale Architettura at Arsenale in the afternoon and wanted to stay close to the centre to have the boats at hand, so for lunch we went to Bio Sound System. Those of you who read the blog know this vegetarian restaurant already.

I go almost once a week so I won't digress, I'll just say that we shared some baked falafels served with hummus, tzatziki and carrots as a starter and then we both asked for a soup: beans and pasta for Vittorio, and carrot, leek and ginger for me. Simply lovely: fresh, filling and flavourful, as usual.

When Vito finished his grappa, we left and did what we had planned to do.

Visiting the Biennale is always an experience, whether art or architecture. The venues alone are worth seeing and the international exhibits are so many that it is impossible not to find something that interests you or catches your attention. I am particularly fond of this location, as it's still possible to see the original structure of the old shipyard. The section of the corderie is where ropes were made (from the word corda, rope in Italian), followed by artiglierie (the artillery), the tese delle vergini, a warehouse built on what was once called island of the virgins, and the area called gaggiandre, where the squero was located.

This year's biennale is called 'Freespace' and is curated by Irish architects Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara. The theme focuses on how architects should re-think space from the social perspective and on small projects that have a high impact in the everyday lives of their reference community. If you want to get a better idea, of the various articles, I particularly liked the one by EllieStathaki on Wallpaper and the more visual one published in May on The Guardian.

As for ourselves, we just had a look around and didn't stop to analyse closely all projects. There were videos, photographs, installations and more. The general feeling was positive and if this were actually the direction the world is taking, I'd be happy. The stress on the importance of community life, of mutual support and of the recovery of venues with a historical social purpose is a theme that interests me a lot and when I saw the Free Market space at the Irish Pavilion (let me say it: brilliant), I thought it would be awesome to apply the same concept to Venice.

Anyway, going back to more frivolous topics, another thing I like doing at contemporary exhibits, is watch how the public interacts with the works. Kids are always the ones that surprise me most, in ways that are both good and bad. While here below, captured playing hide and seek, these brother and sister may seem cute, they were the same duo that had messed up all the strings of one of the first installations, making them impossible to read. So funny! They were just too busy enjoying themselves to even notice what they were doing, lost in their magical world of play and imagination, I suppose the best place one could be.

What we noticed, in general, was that there were lots of couches, improvised beds, sofas and other seatings where people were invited to rest. After spending quite a while inside the corderie, we went outside and had a coffee at the bar. There was a conference on, so the atmosphere was relatively quiet.

The view from the bar is of an internal basin with the other warehouses on the other side. The green area before the Italian Pavilion has always fascinated me, with the game of columns, light and water and with that industrial feel I find so cool and contemporary. On one of the columns there is a stone relief with a lion on top and five coats of arms beneath it and when we where walking by it, a man rowing on a traditional boat passed in front of us.

We stayed more or less another hour and before going home, we stopped for a final treat at Pasticceria Chiusso. Although it's the period of the fave dei morti (cookies for the Day of the Dead), I opted for the puff pastry with apples (their puff pastry is too good, try it).

So, this was our Saturday, an easy day wandering through Arsenale with a stop on the Lido. The rest of the evening, well... we just lazed about at home, cooking and relaxing in front of a baking programme.

Thank goodness our Saturday was laid back and refreshing, because from Sunday (and I was working...) Venice is experiencing hell, with an exceptional high tide that is causing lots of stress and damage to the city and right now I just can't wait for this tremendous situation to stop. So bye for now (it's better if I go close the bedroom windows!!!), will be in touch soon.

#lido #veganvenice #VegetarianinVenice #Venicewhattodo

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