Christmas gardening in Venice

Giardini Reali impressions on a sunny December morning In Venice these days, “Christmas gardening” is part of our days. Our creations are in stark contrast to the late autumn landscape of gardens you can see in town these days. Christmas decorations in Venice consist of ingredients resulting in a red and golden symphony – with Piazza San Marco tending towards the golden hues, while the Rialto area focusses on red and purple tints as you will see in this blog post …

Ingredients of these compositions are mostly natural – like real fir trees and twigs, with the exception of red, blue or golden bow and Christmas balls. Christmas decorations made of natural ingredients – Chiesa dei Miracoli Guests who usually come in summer are quite surprised when they see Venice in the winter for the first time: It is just now in mid-December, that leaves of deciduous trees REALLY turn yellow and start falling off.

This is what wisteria looked like this morning, at Locanda Fiorita (next to Campo Santo Stefano). You can see the facade of the house still wrapped in a golden belt of wisteria leaves. I chose these pictures as they convey exactly what winter gardens look like in Venice – intermingled with evergreen pittosporum and ivy, and enhanced with summer balcony flowers.

The geranium plants at Hotel Monaco & Garnd Canal are still blossoming this morning. A tall silver fir provides a festive mood to Piazza San Marco – it is illuminated every day from nightfall until at about 1:00 am. At Christmas time, Venetians are getting more creative with decorating every year 🙂 This is why I called this post “GLAMOROUS December gardening”… take a look how the town is transformed into a glittering winter flower landscape. This is rather new – as until about 15 years ago, Venice kept a rather “low profile” at Christmas – read more in my Blog Post “Christmas in Venice is different“.

You wouldn’t really call this style “subdued”, and neither is it “flamboyant” – it’s a style of its own … Now let’s take a look at the various kinds of Christmas decorations you find in Venice these days. Public Christmas Decorations: The Piazza focuses on silvery lights-clad firs and Christmas tree, as you can see in the picture above: A Christmas tree, almost as tall as the Basilica, has been put up at Piazzetta dei Leoncini, next to the side entrance of the Basilica.

The second “public area” you can see here is Rialto Market – the arcades surrounding the church of San Giacometto are also adorned with real fir trees, decorated in red and golden hues. Soon, the red carpets will be rolled out again under all archways …

Christmas tree on the terrace – Hotel Monaco and Grand Canal – with a fine view of the Basilica della Salute: Hotel decorations include Christmas trees as well, but also Stella di Natale arrangements as you can see in the pictures below. We start with the Christmas tree at Hotel Monaco e Grand Canal, which has been arranged on the terrace – and YES, when the weather is fine, you could enjoy lunch or coffee exactly here – tables and chairs are just waiting for fine weather (today it’s leaden skies and showers, though).

Stores and restaurants also put up colorful Christmas decorations these days – and here, Stella di Natale plants play a main role. Taverna La Fenice, for example, also offers seats outside, decorated with Christmas wreaths, red berries, real fir twigs, and golden bow. By the way, it also is fascinating to dine inside because of their mirror-clad walls with special effects – even though you sit in front of a mirror, the faces you see are not yours 🙂 Also, by mid-December, hotels and restaurants show off their red Stella di Natale. Later on, it will be cestini di Natale – Christmas flower baskets – you will see these cestini in a future blog post.

A rare picture of the Christmas tree in the Piazza PLUS a Stella di Natale (euforbia) plant. A few steps from the Piazza, in Calle Larga, you find that the restaurants have been adorned with orange-golden bow, real fir twigs, and lush red Stella di Natale, wrapped in glittering paper pots. This is actually best viewed on an overcast day like this, as the lights are on …Here are Hotel Monaco e Grand Canal’s inside Christmas decorations – they have a giardino d’inverno winter garden, which is enhanced by a couple of fine Christmas trees, adorned with red and golden Christmas balls. White marble corners at the Hotel are decorated with fine bushes of Stella di Natale.

Here is a window overlooking Rio del Rimedio – seen in the early evening: Even though there is no snow in Venice right now (there sometimes is, but rather seldom), we have these white marble facades that act as an elegant background to the Christmas compositions.

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