Don’t restrict your daily intake to meetings, premieres and parties at Venice this year; even the big auteur in the sky rested on the seventh day. Here are a few delicious distractions:
If you have two hours
Had your fill of Renaissance tapestries and Baroque artifacts? In 1951, art patron and glamourpuss expat Peggy Guggenheim opened up her palazzo on the Grand Canal to aesthetes with a more modern palette. Her vast collection includes amazing representations of Cubism, Surrealism and Futurism by artists like Picasso, Braque, Dali, Rothko, Leger and Brancusi. Be sure to check out the sculpture garden with pieces by Moore, Miro, Calder and Arp. The gift shop offers unique, boho souvenirs like replicas of Guggenheim’s famous “bat” sunglasses. Oh, and do not miss her pet cemetery in the garden, devoted to the memory of her 14 Lhaso Apsos, including Madame Butterfly, Cappuccino and Sir Herbert. Guggenheim lies beside them.
704 Dorsoduro, I-30123 Venezia, Open daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; www.guggenheim-venice.it
If you have half a day
Getting out of Dodge is actually a lot easier than you may think. A quick jaunt to the tourist-sparse island Torcello — just 30 minutes away by a ferry that leaves from St. Mark’s Square — will reveal the leafy haven where Ernest Hemingway hunkered down to write when he wasn’t tippling alongside Giuseppe Cipriana, founder of Harry’s Bar. But the real draw here is the 639 A.D. Byzantine cathedral — the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, located in the main piazza — with its 200-foot bell tower. The mosaics depicting the Madonna and child and the Last Judgment merit a thoughtful viewing, and do trundle up the bell tower to get a glorious view of the lagoons and Venice skyline. In the square outside the tower, you’ll find a stone chair originally reserved for local magistrates. (Legend has it that anyone who shimmies up for a sitdown will be wed within a year.) Before heading back to Venice, hit Hemingway’s favorite inn, LocandA Cipriana (locandacipriani.com), for the prix-fixe lunch in the garden. Everyone from Paul Newman to Elton John to Princess Diana ate here — though not all at once.
If you have all day
Give a man a plate of spaghetti con vogole and you have fed him for one day. Teach a man to. . .well, you get it. Enrica Rocca, affectionately known as the “countess of cooking,” runs a culinary school inside her chic family palazzo and has been written up by Gourmet and Vogue. Her eight-hour gastronomical experience starts at 9 a.m. with a visit to the outdoor Rialto Market for provisions like cuttlefish, spices, scallops, vegetables and pork. Next up, a pit stop for a morning Prosecco before you start learning, preparing and tasting back in her massive kitchen. (Rocco never decides on what to cook until she sees what’s fresh at the Rialto Market that day, so expect surprises. Improv cooking, as opposed to a rigid step-by-step class, is her specialty.) You’ll continue to sip — or gulp — Prosecco as you cook and sample throughout the day. Past menus have included dishes like pumpkin and radicchio risotto, braised veal shanks and sauteed baby artichokes with oranges. Rocca strongly suggests that you forego formal dinner plans, as you’ll leave her home at 5 p.m. more than sated.
Full day: 280 euro; half-day class with wine pairing: 200 euro. Rocca can arrange private one-on-one or group classes during the week of the festival. She also will customize a day to suit your tastes or plan and cook a private dinner if you just happen to snag that Golden Lion. Contact her at email@example.com to learn more.