If you’re in Venice during the Biennale, don’t be ticked in to thinking that the easiest way to get around is by following the hoards of tourists. Why not put a secret spin on your path across the famous city and do it James Bond Style? But how you ask? Swide is here to help.
Venice is admired for many different reasons and attracts people from around the world, who want to taste a slice of the Venetian life. As with most touristic destinations, there is always a flurry of activity and people rushing to visit famous landmarks, hoping to get the perfect picture or even just to say ‘I was there’. Well, how about being a tourist, yes, but approaching it from a different angle… we’re talking about doing it as if you were James Bond, in proper 007 style.
Why? Well, the iconic secret agent is no stranger to the narrow winding waterways of Venice and has been seen blowing boats up, jumping sinking buildings and while time away on a Gondola. Why not shake things up a little a take the chance to see Venice through the eyes of a true icon? You can even take a leaf out of the agents style book and dress to kill. Well, it’ll make everything much more fun, no?
To start with, your arrival is an important first step and, as like any honourable agent, James Bond always arrived via boat. In 1963’s ‘From Russia With Love’, Bond approaches Venice via a simple, wooden fishing boat but there is no reason why you can’t upgrade that to water taxi, speedboat or an elegant sailboat. From the approaching waterways and canals you have the perfect opportunity to take in the sights of Venice and its signature Venetian Gothic architecture, which roots lie within Byzantine and Moorish influences.
Prime examples of this, that can be seen on the Grand Canal by boat, Gondola or foot, are the Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti and, more famously, the arches of the Doge’s Palace and the intricate stonework. If architecture isn’t your thing, then I’m sure a shot of you in your finest, speeding up to Venice is going to be a James Bond worthy shot. But, unlike in ‘From Russia With Love’ make sure you don’t get in to a fight with Russian spies; it will only end in pyrotechnics and further agro.
Once on dry land, it’s time to venture into 1979’s ‘Moonraker’, when James Bond follows a trail, leading him to through Venice and to Drax’s glass works. You’ll find the film location just off Piazza San Marco and the very same glassworks can be accessed at Venini, 314 Piazzetta dei Leoni, found northeast of the piazza. Here you can see more examples of Gothic architecture but also you’ll have an inspiring view of the Duomo. Not satisfied with being on foot? Well, then follow in 007’s ways and take a boat through the waterways of Venice, although he actually goes in pursuit of someone, you can take time to be a tourist and select a Gondola to take you through the narrow streets. They say that the Gondolas is the only way to see the real Venice, but I don’t think anything could beat the thought of speeding through the waterways, chasing some guy in an amphibious funeral Gondola… but maybe a bit drastic for when visiting the city during Biennale, no?
Now, fast forward to Daniel Craig’s incarnation and we have 2006’s ‘Casino Royale’ when love turns to pain in the final scene and Bond sees his onscreen romance go down (literally) with Palazzo Pisani. The Palazzo is a 17th century goliath of a building, with elements of Gothic and Baroque, lining the exterior and from here you have impressive views of the Grand Canal. The building that was used has now been converted into the music conservatory, so, not only will it be a place to practice your espionage but also an area to listen in on some beautifully played music.
Obviously, James Bond was not the only film to have used Venice, as its location, but seeing as James Bond is the epitome of a dangerous gentleman, he seemed perfect to use as the prop to take you around the city.
For more ideas of what there is to see in Venice, check out Venice in the Sky:
And get the James Bond look, here
written by Ben Taylor