even better than the real thing…

rialto bridge

I have been to Venice three times – 2001, 2002 and 2003. On that last occasion, I got engaged to my wife. I think back then I had hoped to go to Venice once a year, but in 2004 I didnt make it – so we went instead to the venetian detailVenetian, Las Vegas, on the night after our wedding. I love the Venetian – as a ‘Venetophile’ (I just created that word, but I bet it already exists) I was always absolutely amazed at the incredible level of detail the designers went to to produce this amazing tribute to La Serenissima. It’s utterly unbelievable – this is not some disney-like mockery, this is some serious, serious cash.

We went there again recently on our Vegas weekend, and I still absolutely love it. I had to sketch there. I sat outside and drew the Rialto bridge – an improvement on the original, as it has a moving walkway for those who simply cannot bear the thought of using their feet for walking – beside the canal while gondoliers sang below the bridges. The sketch on the left is a detail of the Doge’s Palace, which provides the main entrance to the casino, complete with a Bridge of Sighs (which I didn’t draw, sigh).  

Inside, there is an immensely grand entranceway complete with richly decorated painted ceiling. We’ve stayed in the hotel suites and they are wonderful. We had dinner at Canaletto in St Mark’s Square (which unlike the reall Piazza San Marco was largely pigeon-free, except for one which had found its way up from the blackjack tables and was scrounging breadcrumbs).  The main attraction though are the Grande Canal Shops (it might be ‘Shoppes’ – Vegas apparently believes that spelling adds authenticity…), with the Canal running through it. There’s a sketch of it below. As with most Vegas hotel shopping, the boutiques are high-end and a little out of my spending range. This is however the home to that shop from that Michael Jackson / Martin Bashir program, Regis Galerie. You know, the one with all the gaudy nonsense, where he was wandering about the store pointing at this painting or that ugly sculpture, saying “woohoo! woohoo! do i have that one? I’ll take that one, yeah, and that one. Ohh, I saw a ghost, I’m scared now, woohoo…”  You do see a lot more Jackos in Vegas now, by the way. They are catching up with the Elvises.

venetian grand canal

The Venetian isn’t Venice itself, of course not. Venice is unique. But for sheer effort and faithfulness of detail, it’s quite a remarkable place.

One thought on “even better than the real thing…

  1. Rowlandwithaw says:

    Never been to that one . . . have been told it is amazing . . but the real thing is the real thing . . with floods, millions of tourists, even more pigeons, and smelly water . . Hmm.
    Only kidding – – I love Venice though have only been a few times.

    Your comment about Elvises reminded me of this:
    (San Francisco Chronicle, October 27th, 1993)

    * When Elvis Presley died in 1977, there were an estimated 37 Elvis impersonators in the world.
    * By 1993, there were 48,000 Elvis impersonators, an exponential increase.
    * Extrapolating from this, by 2010 there will be 2.5 billion Elvis impersonators.
    * The population of the world will be 7.5 billion by 2010.
    * Every 3rd person will be an Elvis impersonator by 2010.

    ‘Well, it’s a one for the money . . ‘

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