Adriano Berengo’s perfect weekend in Venice

The founder of Studio Berengo and Glasstress on Murano spends the weekend island-hopping for sublime seafood, gallery visits and leisurely strolls

Adriano Berengo at his studio
Adriano Berengo at his studio | Image: Lea Anouchinsky

“I have an apartment on Murano where my glass studio is based, so that I can stay the night if it’s foggy. But usually, my weekend starts at home on the Lido with my wife, the artist Marya Kazoun, and our children Adriano and Hana-Mila. 

Early on Saturday, I make coffee, then cycle to Rizzo, a nearby bakery, to buy their wonderful croissants for breakfast. 

I have a 41-year-old boat, so within 15 minutes we can be on Murano, where my eldest son Marco works with me. Saturday is a magical day in the studio; it’s silent because the maestro isn’t working. It’s also when we open the furnaces to cool down the glass and I analyse the week’s work before my second coffee at Osteria ai Cacciatori. It’s where all the retired maestros and technicians meet to play cards and I see a lot of friends. 

I also have appointments with clients and artists on Saturdays – we have become popular because of Glasstress – and I’ll visit my gallery before lunch. 

Bruno, the patron at La Perla ai Bisatei, is a Neopolitan who married a woman from Murano; he speaks the dialect and is loved by all. He’ll bring over a plate of white beans, and then comes the best fish to be had on the island. Bruno goes every morning to Rialto to buy it and whatever he gets, goes. I’ll have whatever comes in, but the regulars are antipasto misto with prawns and, sometimes, spider crabs. My children like his cuttlefish spaghetti

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If I have guests, I might take them on a walking tour of Murano for a short course in glassmaking. The studio of Pino Signoretto, one of the great glass maestros, is an immensely stimulating place. He died recently, but his work remains a source of inspiration. And my friend Guido Ferro [of Yalos] is an alchemist in the way he mixes oxides and minerals to tailor the colour and composition of glass. I learn something from him every time I visit.

Sometimes we’ll walk around Venice in the afternoon. Marya and I have recently discovered a little gem of a shop called Faidra Hanna Jewellery. Marya is Lebanese so it was great to buy her a gift from goldsmiths who have Lebanese, Greek and Armenian origins.  

After visiting the Guggenheim, one of my favourite things to do with my family in Venice is to go to the terrace of the old Westin Europa & Regina hotel, now the St Regis. It has one of the best views in the city, with the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute right in front, as well as Isola di San Giorgio; and it’s steeped in history – the likes of Henry James and Simone de Beauvoir used to hang around here. 

Sunday is for family. We sometimes go to the island of Le Vignole, where, at Trattoria alle Vignole, they prepare all the fish and display it so the children can choose for themselves. Or we’ll cycle from the centre of the Lido to the ferry and go to San Pietro, where Da Nane restaurant looks out over the lagoon; or to Burano, where I once met Fellini at Da Romano, a restaurant that has been there for decades and whose risotto alla buranello is famous. The walls are covered with copies of paintings by artists who have eaten there – the real ones are in the back – and there are albums going back to 1930 full of drawings and dedications by people from Hemingway to Maria Callas.

On the way home from Burano we might buy ice cream from Da Tita on the Lido. It’s the best in the world. Adriano will choose vanilla, Hana-Mila has stracciatella and I always mix the two.”

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