Well, we kicked off our Venice stay in style – with a private party at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum. We can’t believe we pulled this off!
I was looking online for ticket information to the museum when I saw that they had a private party the very next night sponsored by Aperol – one of our favorite Italian drinks. It was called HappySpritz” and included admission to the museum after hours and 2 spritzes – for 14 Euro. Wow – we signed right up! (This was all in Italian – my workbooks have been paying off!)
Peggy Guggenheim was born a New York socialite. She inherited a fortune when her father went down on the Titanic and, when she came of age, decided to move to Europe and live a more bohemian lifestyle (she is sometimes referred to as a “woman Casanova”).
According to books, she wasn’t a great beauty, but she had a spark that made everyone want to be with her. She started buying up modern art before it was in vogue and is credited with saving much of the important works of the time from the Nazi invasion of Paris, sending the art to New York for safe keeping.
At age 50, she “retired” to Venice, renovating a dilapidated palazzo along the Grand Canal and filling it with her art. There, she entertained artists, political figures, and movie stars (including Clark Gable) in much-talked-about soirees.
When she died, she left her home to be a modern art museum. She is buried in the backyard next to the graves of or her pet dogs under a olive tree given to her by Yoko Ono.
With that history, who wouldn’t want to visit Peggy’s house?
The line was out the door when we arrived – thank goodness we had tickets so could waltz right in. We grabbed our spritz and looked around. A DJ was playing music, and everyone was dressed up for a night on the town.
The palazzo has a stunning position on the Grand Canal, so we hung out on the terrace next to a giant red Calder sculpture, watching the boats go by.
Eventually, we made our way inside and wandered through rooms of Picasso, Dali, Chagall, and Pollack. Each room had a picture of how it looked when Peggy lived there. It actually looked much the same, since these were her private artworks. My favorite was the headboard in her bedroom – designed by Calder and including places where she could store her earrings – miniature mobiles that were also designed by him. Wow.
We danced home – with a little of Peggy’s spirit making our steps a little lighter.