After touring the Sina Centurion Palace hotel, we went to the Punta della Dogana (Pinault Collection) art gallery, visited the Peggy Guggenheim Museum… and were invited (including a welcome note and gift from Cristiano) to stay in a private island in Venice!

The Punta della Dogana exhibition was, to say the least, disappointing. I mean, we all know Bruce Nauman is all over the place, which is one of the things that makes him interesting as an artist. But at the same time, that’s what makes him unpredictable, which leads to not-so-thrilling exhibitions like this one. One has to wonder, though, what the criteria behind Pinault’s curators is. I mean, the richest person in Europe can surely afford to have a critical sense, not just money to throw at big-name artists, right? In any case, that’s life. Imitating art (or is it all the way around?).

Fortunately, right after that we headed to Peggy Guggenheim’s Museum. In a way, it was the complete opposite experience! For her time, she definitely had a critical sense, real taste, and guts. No wonder she is one of the most influential figures in modern art. What a delightful little museum, both for its content, its perfect curation/display, and the jewel of a residence in which it’s housed.

After a quick stop at Bel Air Fine Art in Dorsoduro, an extremely commercial network of pop art galleries, we had a delicious baccalà alla vicentina con polenta al nero di sepia lunch by the canal at Al Vecio Forner.

Then, for the final part of our day, and the real treat: we hopped on a classic Riva wooden watertaxi which took us to the Isola delle Rose (managed by JW Marriott). The ride was thrilling, fast, and with great views.

Stephanie and I had been invited to stay at “our own private villa, in our own private island in Venice” (according to Cristiano’s words). So, making “the most James Bond-like entrance ever”, our watertaxi went into the boat dock, and we walked straight to our villa in time for a swim in the swimming pool. It doesn’t get more stylish than this. Or so I thought, because the surprise my wife had for me two days later was completely next level.

Some photos here