When you take the Line 1 vaporetto at night, you glimpse in wonder at the private residences along the Grand Canal. You see beguiling Murano glass chandeliers, ornate painted ceilings, and carved embellishments in stone and stucco. It is this wonderland that Servane Giol has beckoned us to explore in her new book, Venice: A Private Invitation. By delving into history, culture, and creativity, Giol unwraps an intimate Venetian world of design, craftsmanship, and the gracious art of sprezzatura.
You remark about Venice that “gaining access to its private residences, a little-known and remarkable world remains difficult.” In response, you decided to generously open the doors of Palazzo Falier, and additionally share remarkable private palazzi, studios, and gardens of your fellow Venetians. Why now?
Probably because after 23 years in this amazing city I gained confidence to write about it. I really didn’t want to do just “another book about Venice” and it takes time to understand and dig in a city and the way their habitants live.
The environments in your book span centuries. Originally, they welcomed merchants, nuns, Doges, and poets. Now, they shelter artists, collectors, curators, artisans, and designers. Is there a quintessential characteristic that epitomizes a Venetian residence? Can the characteristic be exported? I’m thinking of people who would like to create a Venetian ambience in their own homes, miles, and continents away from Venice.
A characteristic of the Venetian homes for me it that they are all extraordinary, filled with extraordinary objects which are the evolution of centuries of men knowledge, artisans, artists, sculptors, painters….
Venice as you said was historically a port and its inhabitants were and are merchants. I don’t think there is in the world a city that has exported her crafts and knowledge so much. I think of glass, glass chandeliers, mirrors but as well wood furniture, painters… it is the contrary, hard to find in the world a house which has nothing Venetian or invented in Venice in it![Read the full interview by JoAnn Locktov on Ytali here, and click here to view the Italian version: Venezia, un invito privato. Conversazione con Servane Giol.]