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A Trip to Venice with Swatch

Last week I was invited to Venice courtesy of Swatch. It was a chance to visit the Venice Biennale for the first time and find out more about Swatch's most recent collaboration with French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel. All of this in spectacular style!

Written by Amelia Gregory

Venice by Sally Jane Thompson
Venice by Sally Jane Thompson.

It’s quite something to be utterly spoilt on a press trip. It doesn’t happen to me often and in fact it’s only in the last year that people have started to invite me places… a mere eight years since I started Amelia’s Magazine: these perks of the job have not exactly fallen in my lap. But it says something about the rise of blogging (which my website is undeniably in the form of, recipe even if I still like to think of it as a magazine) that bloggers of all persuasions are now being offered similar opportunities to mainstream journalists.

Venice by Madalina Andronic
Venice by Madalina Andronic.

Venice by Alia Gargum.

And so it was that I found myself on my way to Venice last week for a two day jolly courtesy of Swatch. Swatch, look as I am sure anyone who was around in the 1980s will recall, capsule are big lovers of art. They don’t make fancy schmancy watches that cost the earth (literally, since they are often made of rapidly depleting precious metals), instead they make easily attainable fun watches, often in collaboration with artists. Back in the 80s they were really the done thing to wear, and I still treasure my much loved Swatch, even if it is a bit yellowed and deteriorated around the edges.

Swatch 80s pop
For quite a few years the brand was off my radar, but now they are firmly planted back in the centre of the art world thanks to the guidance of current president, the formidable and charismatic Madame Emch, a former fashion PR with a pure passion for art… and Venice.

Venice by Jessica Knight.

Venice by Madalina Andronic
Venice by Madalina Andronic.

Venice by Jessica Knight.

We were in Venice because Swatch is the principal partner of the famous Venice Biennale, but also because Madame M (as her name is wont to sound and I rather like because it sounds like something out of a Bond movie) has been visiting since she was five years old and loves Venice more than any other city in the world. Finally, a triple whammy: Swatch‘s newest collaborator makes much of his artwork with the help of the Murano glass makers of Venice. Jean-Michel Othoniel creates huge glowing jewelled necklaces that he hangs from trees and drapes from buildings, and for his Swatch collaboration he has again worked with murano glass makers to create something really quite special… but more on that here.

Venice by Ada Jusic.

Venice by Madalina Andronic
Venice by Madalina Andronic.

Venice by Jessica Knight.

Venice Treasure by Laura Frame
Venice Treasure by Laura Frame.

During our visit we were thoroughly spoilt, staying in an infamous hotel called the Excelsior that features in the film Death in Venice, and being ferried everywhere on private speedboats or gondolas – the later being a lot better for the environment, but also more sedate (ie, less fun). We had a private guided tour of the Peggy Guggenheim museum before dining in style on the rooftop, were served lunch on the roof of the head office of the Biennale with fabulous views over the centre of Venice, ate at the Cipriani (frequented by George Clooney and ilk) and had another guided tour of the Biennale itself (read my reviews). I have only visited Venice once before when I was inter-railing, aged 17. I remember feeling overwhelmed by the crowds (which this time we avoided due to the time of year and our posh transport options) as well as the high cost of everything. By contrast this trip truly was a beautiful experience which made me dream of returning to Venice one day, although sadly I think the state of my own finances would mean anything else than what I experienced this time around would likely be far less fabulous. Still, one can dream…

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review Excelsior
Arriving at the Excelsior by speedboat.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Veronica of Red Ant
The beautiful Veronica of Red Ant, who invited me to Venice.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review Excelsior
The art deco influenced interior of the Excelsior.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review
The view from my room.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-travelling by gondola
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-travelling by gondola
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-travelling by gondola
Travelling by gondola.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Exterior of the Excelsior from the beach
Exterior of the Excelsior from the beach.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-madame Emch
Madame Emch charms everyone.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Amazing Italian style
Amazing Italian style.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Meeting the director of the Guggenheim
Meeting the director of the Guggenheim.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-speedboat
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-speedboat
More travelling by speedboat: that’s me with some Russian journalists.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Cinzia and Romain Colin
Italian blogger Cinzia and French blogger Romain Colin of Fubiz in the backwaters of Venice.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-cinzia, dadanoias, vero
Myself with Italian blogger Cinzia of Frizzi Frizzi, Spanish blogger Marta of Dadanoias and Veronica of Red Ant on the rooftop of the Biennale offices.


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5 Responses to “A Trip to Venice with Swatch”

  1. Esmeralda says:

    I love Venice, it’s a unique city!!
    Nice illustrations ;)

  2. veronica says:

    Great illustrations and pictures! Venice was wonderful <3

  3. Ah – This looks SO heavenly! and the illustrations are fabulous….your comments at the beginning encourage me to try and really make something of my blog!!! Maybe me in 20 years time!! LOL 65 and and cruising the canals of Venice – yeah baby!

  4. John Harca says:

    Love the Venice photos ,BUT where is the beatifull Elisa Harca!!!!!!!!!!!
    Best wishes

  5. Amelia says:

    she is illustrated :)

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