From Palladio to Cleto Munari, passing through the interventions of Canova and Carlo Scarpa: this, in short, is the special Veneto into which Monica Facchini, art historian and tour guide, takes us

In an almost circular route through the provinces of Treviso and Vicenza, with a creative foray into Venice, the Interni summer 2023 special reaches Veneto and its many artistic expressions. Let Monica Facchini tell us about it.

Read also: Summer 2023 in Italy: (well-kept) itineraries for art and design lovers

Who is Monica Facchini, our guide to Veneto?

She defines herself as "an incurable storyteller of beauty", in reality Monica Facchini, graduated in History of Contemporary Art, after an endless series of masters, seminars and specialization courses, has found her place in the world by making the sharing of her knowledge a profession. Or the tour guide.

Today Monica, after several years of experience and experimentation, has developed an innovative travel formula to be discovered in all its variations on the website: Paths of Art and Architecture.

The lyricism of the Brion Tomb

The itinerary in Veneto could be said to start from an end: Brion, in fact, is the name of the monumental funeral complex, in San Vito di Altivole (TV), which was commissioned to the architect Carlo Scarpa by Onorina Brion To masin in memory of his beloved spouse Giuseppe Brion, who passed away prematurely.

The industrialist was born in the small town near Treviso and is well known for the Brionvega brand, a beacon of Made in Italy design for the radio and television industry in the 60s and 70s.

The Brion tomb is also one of Monica Facchini's favorite places, who defines it as "a place of unique lyricism which, beyond its inevitable function, sings life in all its facets and instills a great sense of peace.

More than a tomb it is a funeral garden in which the influences of Japanese culture are apparently stronger than ever.

I say apparently because, looking closely, this work speaks all the languages of the world, revealing the immense artistic culture and visual memory of its creator.”

Marble, art and power in Possagno (TV)

The Museo Gypsotheca Antonio Canova in Possagno presents to the public (until 3 September) the exhibition Canova and power. The Giovanni Battista Sommariva collection, conceived by Vittorio Sgarbi and curated by Moira Mascotto and Elena Catra, with the artistic direction of Contemplazioni, which pays homage to the great master by reconstructing the prestigious relationships that the artist had with the greatest exponents of the political and cultural panorama of the time, highlighting the indissoluble link between art and power.

For the first time, the exhibition investigates the complex figure of Giovanni Battista Sommariva and his precious collection which included nine works, including five important marbles, by Canova himself as well as those by Francesco Hayez, Bertel Thorvaldsen and Pierre Paul Prud'hon, some of which have been exceptionally brought together for the occasion at the museum.

Furthermore, the presence of the marble work depicting the Apollino, from the Municipal Art Collections of Bologna, is exhibited to the public for the first time in all its renewed beauty after the restoration supported by the Canova Museum and carried out by the Opificio delle Pietre Dure of Florence.

The thousand faces of Robi Renzi's ceramics

Robi Renzi today lives in the province of Vicenza, where in his laboratory (which can be visited by appointment) he produces research ceramics, unusual and communicative in a bright and evocative laboratory.

His story, however, crosses several Italian regions: he was born near Urbino, studied in Florence to reach Milan at the end of the 90s.

“Milan was the time of design for me. With Roberto Reale we were Renzi & Real”. We had a large, very suggestive studio and we worked for fashion houses, design and interior design companies.

We have experimented with different materials, fabric, wood, resin, metal and fusions to produce furniture, objects and rooms; essentially prototypes and one-of-a-kind pieces.” Today Robi Renzi works mainly with clay, wood and paper and says he both loves and hates ceramics for the enormous amount of variables it presents.

In Vicenza to discover the goldsmith's art

Located in the heart of Vicenza, inside the Basilica Palladiana a UNESCO heritage site, the Museo del Gioiello is a unique place of its kind. Inaugurated at the end of 2014, it is a cultural project that aims to celebrate not only the goldsmith tradition of a territory, but also Italian excellence in this sector.

The nine thematic rooms, curated in the settings by studio Urquiola (Symbol, Magic, Function, Beauty, Art, Fashion, Design, Future) allow you to discover the wonders of Made in Italy jewelery thanks to the permanent exhibition Gioielli Italiani", which celebrates the best national goldsmith stories with iconic pieces signed by artists, craftsmen, designers and great maisons.

Among the marvels kept inside there is also the famous Crown of the Madonna of Monte Berico made in 1900, together with the votive breastplate, a unique creation made up of pre-existing jewels and votive offerings that noble Vicenza families ideally donated to the patron saint of the city.

Cleto Munari, the artist friend of artists

Indeed, Cleto Munari led a double life. That of a designer known throughout the world for his work and that of a genius pencil who moves elegantly among the sketches and drawings of his friends, architects, artists, designers and men of letters and tames them in a language that magically migrates from paper to matter, from poor materials like clay to more precious ones like gold and silver.

Cleto Munari had extraordinary intuitions and one of the most important is certainly that of having allied himself with great designers, architects and artists to create collections that have marked the taste, the pleasure of everyday life without any cultural or commercial constraints.

And thanks to his journey, we discover the increasingly numerous twists and turns of our trip to Veneto: Cleto Munari began his artistic history in 1973, at the age of 43, when he met for the first time the architect Carlo Scarpa, perhaps the most important Italian architect of all time.

A neighbour, Cleto Munari assiduously frequented the architect's studio, fascinated by the master's projects” which became elegant and perfect shapes on paper. This acquaintance led Cleto Munari to discover his great passion for design, the pivot on which he will base all his creative and productive work in the future.

The cellar built in bio-architecture

Vignaioli Contrà Soarda was born in 1999 from the dream of Mirco and Gloria, the parents of Eleonora Gottardi, with the purchase of land abandoned for over 12 years on the hills of Bassano del Grappa, at slopes of the Asiago plateau.

After having brought to light a land extremely suited to viticulture and having planted the first vineyards, the cellar was built, designed according to the principles of bio-architecture. The result is a structure with reduced environmental impact, perfectly integrated into the surrounding landscape, which facilitates and improves many of the technical production aspects, such as the geothermal control of the temperatures in the rooms, or the transport of the grapes by gravity.

The barrique cellar (the room dedicated to the refining of wines in wood) is a room designed taking inspiration from projects by Gaudì and Dieste, characterized by the majestic double vault made with pink marble from the plateau.

Finally, the volcanic rock wall that characterizes the Contrà Soarda vineyards, voluntarily left uncovered, acts as a direct connection with the mountain which naturally regulates the humidity in the rooms. The company also hosts and manages the historic restaurant Pulierin Enotavola.

Relax in a Palladian complex

In Bagnolo di Lonigo, in the green countryside between Verona and Vicenza, there is La Barchessa di Villa Pisani, housed in the evocative complex of Villa Pisani Bonetti, built in 1541 by Palladio and a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1996.

It is an elegant and modernly renovated relais, where you can spend pleasant stays of peace and relaxation thanks to the rooms decorated with works of art and design elements, the equipped gym, the Finnish sauna and the outdoor swimming pool.

The Osteria del Guà is part of the complex which offers a tasteful cuisine with familiar flavors, based on great seasonal raw materials: on the menu, land and sea dishes linked to the territory and inspired by the Italian tradition. Finally, the villa houses an important collection of contemporary art both inside and throughout the park.

Yesterday a school, today a small themed hotel

In Lusiana Conco, on the Asiago Plateau, there is a small place of hospitality where time seems to stand still: the Locanda La Scuola is a Guesthouse with a 'rooms and breakfast' formula obtained from an old mountain school from the 1920s .

Each room is dedicated to a subject: Geography, History and Literature, Science, Arithmetic and the Teacher's Room, romantic, with a Belle Époque bathtub.

Each one has its own style and is full of details to discover: old school desks, teaching tables, folders, blackboards.

The conservative restoration, carried out with local businesses and craftsmen, has protected all its charm: the floor in cement tiles, the staircase in local red marble, the roof with chestnut beams and the old 'tavelle'. The new added elements guarantee maximum comfort and blend creatively with the recycled furnishings.

A passage to Venice in respect of Italian competences

Even if Venice is a reality unto itself, one could not fail to mention it in a Venetian itinerary, even if only for two suggestions.

One, better known but consistent with the suggested itinerary, is the Olivetti shop, under the arcades of the Procuratie Vecchie, a masterpiece of twentieth-century Italian architecture by Carlo Scarpa.

The second is also a shop to be discovered, in San Samuele, born from the passion of Chiarastella Cattana, a fabric designer.

His experience in textiles was formed between the 80s and 90s in an Italy between modern taste and artisan knowledge. His imagination cultivated over time has created the guidelines on which his work moves.

The textile collection presented explores the productive possibilities of the territory and carries forward a search for innovation on traditional weaving techniques such as jacquard, linen cloths and embroidery, in a continuous elaboration of materials, colors and designs.

Furthermore, the collaboration with small textile companies from north to south ensures the quality created by expert hands representing the best skills of our country.