Weathered | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

Ah, Venice, the only city in the world where pigeons walk, lions fly, sexy men are made of stones and gondoliers are the richest taxi drivers in the whole world!

When I am in Venice, photographing conventional sites, even as beautiful as they are, is not my goal. Sure, I have done those tourist photos too, but I am more intrigued to find weathered details usually people leave behind, because they don’t appeal to their eyes. I like to find details which tell a story.

Most buildings in Venice beautify the sky with characteristic weathered ‘comignoli’ (chimneys). They are tall and look like small homes with a gable roof on top of buildings. Many wealthy Californians have embellished their “Tuscan style” homes with copies of Italian style ‘comignoli’ and ‘faccioni’ (cherub’s faces), sometimes stuck on garden walls as planters.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).


(Above: chimney called comignolo)

I could have spent endless hours more than I did talking to the older man, owner of the restoration laboratory. He spent his entire life among stunning and weathered objects, furniture, fabrics, grisailles and historic pieces. It was so fascinating listening to his stories !!!

(Above: Restoration store)

I am amazed of how well the weathered wood poles and stilts deeply planted in water, hold Venice up and how well lintel beams hold together the walls of many weathered homes.

(Above: Santa Maria della Salute in the background)

(Above: Casa Goldoni decorative lintel)

(Above: Venice characteristic street lamp)

Perfectly weathered pewter and bronze street lamps are still standing not decayed, as are the marble stone statues, precious mosaics on buildings‘ facades and marble carved capitals with acanthus leaves still showing the intricate details on top of columns.

(Above: Marble acanthus leaves capitel)

(Above: Store pewter door handle)

One might imagine finding weathered home gardens, where courtship and lover quarrels might have happened one time, but they are hard to find today.

The local Venetians are leaving town for a better living. Venice has no longer stores of primary needs for the locals, such as bread shops, meat shops, vegetable shops, dairy shops, fish market, drug stores, clothing stores, book stores, the seamstress shops, hat shops, shoe maker shops, the clinic, a local doctor office and all the shops which regulate and take care of the needs of a human life.

Venice has become a stumping ground for tourists with a little interest in history, art and theatre art. Their needs are to go to the bathroom, buy a gelato, a cheap tourist meal, a few meaningless trinkets made in China, get a photo with the pigeons in St. Marco square and return to the ship or wherever they came from. The town today is made of B&Bs, restaurants with tourist menus (what kind of crap is that?), cheap souvenirs, super expensive gondola rides, counterfeit fashion items sold in the streets by illegal immigrants and nothing else.
Venice belongs first to the Venetians,  to Italy and then to the world.  That Venice charm I had known is forever lost. Ciao,

Copyright © 2018 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

As a writer and cultural promoter of Puglia, her native land, Valentina’s intention is to let readers feel and experience a new ”wheel of emotions”. She wants to encourage them to visit areas of Italy not beaten by massive tourism. Through stories of local customs, art, architecture, fashion, food-wines, shopping, she wants them to create their special adventures and live it up in Puglia! Check out her books on


Timeless Venetian Style | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

We are in full Carnival time, a short period of the year to be licentious until Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) when all will end. This joyful celebration inspires me to create some Venetian interior. In decorating a home interior we can choose from so many styles: French, Asian, American, English, contemporary, antique, just to name a few, or we can have a theme like beach, country, eclectic, Bohemian, shabby chic and so on. If celebrations inspire us for instance we can decorate in the mood and colors of 4th of July, Thanksgiving or Christmas. However a lot of the styles I mentioned are seasonal, Venetian style is a timeless style and not only for Mardi Gras. Have you seen Joan River’s home?



To understand a particular style it is important to know the history of that period to gain some insight of what shaped a particular style and why people accepted it.

The story of a Venetian style happened many centuries ago when Venice was a very wealthy republic, peaceful and productive. Venice’s name was La Serenissima meaning the Very Serene, because Venetians were financially stable, politically powerful and did not fight with neighboring countries. Instead Venetians people traded goods with foreign countries and the Far East, especially after Marco Polo went to China through the Silk Road and brought back to Venice a new way of decorating with silk fabrics for interiors, Oriental vases and potteries, new spices to enhance food and new fabric for both men and women fashion.

The result of Venetians being peaceful and wealthy people was that they embrace lavish parties, hence the introduction of dressing up with elaborate costumes and masks at Carnival time.

The homes of wealthy Venetian Republic were highly luxurious decorated with valuable material and furniture. One of the items that still goes strong is a particular red marble called Rosso Verona used for flooring. It grows in the area and it has been largely used through the years in monuments, churches and museums. Venice sits on water,  the colors of a Venetian interior reflect all the colors of the water, blues, light greens, aqua and as the sun rises or falls the warm sunrays reflect on the water, which at time becomes light pink, light purple or light blue and even light grey.


Fashion had a lot of influence on the interiors as well. The silk fabrics that Marco Polo brought back were also used for the upholstery. Men and women used the same colors. It was common to see a man with a light pink jerkin, yellow silk stockings and cream ruffled shirt, as much as it was common to see a woman in a purple dress with Chartreuse shoes.


Venice is mostly a grey foggy and cold town, to counterbalance the grey colors of the outside a traditional Venetian interior is cheerful but delicate, it reflects the colors of the water, delicate pastels, mix of floral and a lot of cream colors.
A traditional Venetian interior is not complete without bombe’ and hand-painted type of furniture, heavy upholstery in burgundy colors to echo the wines Venetians drink and gold accessories and home trimmings to echo the gold of the jewelry they once traded on. Fabrics are usually brocade, damask, silk and velvet. Flooring is often a very dark hardwood, or a very common Rosso Verona marble, or checkered designs and heavily composition of mosaics. The windows are always embellished with panes of stained glass.


(Above photo found on:

In modern Venetians interiors, the décor changes dramatically. We might still see a beautiful decorate marble floor, but with modern, industrial lighting,  light-colored walls, colorful seating and contrasting color pillows, rug and accessories. Another modern decor  might be an all white interior with silver-grey faux finished walls with pastel accessories and colorful paintings on the walls, artistic masks and oversized Venetian blown glass here and there. Let’s not forget Venice is the capital of extraordinary blown glass creations. The modern Venetian curtains might be made of sheer material in pastel colors or totally white.


Even though time in Venice has remained still, the interiors have evolved. A Venetian interior today can have the features of Venice like the light colors and pastels, the fabulous floor of marble work and stunning blown glass without the heavy velvet, damask and brocade fabrics.

Transforming a space in a period style or in a particular theme takes knowledge. The first step in any design project is gathering inspiration. How can you know which elements to choose for your space if you do not know history?
Happy Mardi Gras. Ciao,

Copyright © 2015 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Flapper GirlValentina Cirasola is a trained
 Interior Designer
 in business since 1990. She is the owner and principal designer of her company: Valentina Interiors & Designs. Being Italian born and raised, Valentina’s design work has been influenced by Classicism and timeless style. She will create your everyday living with a certain luxury without taking away a comfortable living. Find Valentina’s three books on

Every Trick Is Permitted At Carnival, Just Need The Right Mask | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer


In Europe around this time of the year we celebrate Carnevale, or Mardi Gras. The Christian calendar marks Carnevale as the period between the Epiphany and the first day of Lent, this being the day when all the fatty food must end until Easter Day. In Austria and Bavaria, Carnevale called Fashing starts the day of the Epiphany, in Cologne it starts at 11:11 of Nov.11.

At Mardi Gras, the day before Lent, we Europeans consume a variety of meat dish, food high in calories and proteins, lot of fried food and stuffed food, but on the Lent day and for forty consecutive days, until Easter, the diet must be light and lean.
In Carnevale time every trick is expected and accepted. I remember the sugar, or the white flour being thrown at the passerby in the streets, especially if they were wearing a dark coat. Getting mad was out of the question, next street corner it would have happened again. In the history of time, Carnevale has been a magic time of divertissement, debauchery, costume parties, eating, unrestrained sex, and a time during which life challenges were momentarily forgotten.

The etymology of the word Carnevale could be deriving from the Latin “carrus navalis” or from the Medieval “carnem levare” which it means to eliminate the meat from the diet for 40 days as the Lent requires. On Ash Wednesday, Christian people must spread ashes on the forehead as a sign of repentance.
During Carnevale it is a must to wear masks to disguise one’s identity, but the usage of masks is not a novelty of today, it goes back to Paleolithic time, when the chief of tribes wore masks during spiritual, or magical propitiatory rituals to invoke riches, or to get rid of maleficent spirits. Romans celebrated their Gods with Carnevale festivities. The use of masks concealed their licentious behaviors and their social status, allowing old and young, rich and poor, nobles, servants, slaves and prostitutes to mingle and dance together until dawn.

During the festivities of Carnevale, Romans celebrated Bacchus, the God of wines, with rivers of wines and long hours of dances all in the streets of Rome, hence the name Bacchanalia. The gladiators entertained the public and the king of the festivities, elected by the people for only the duration of the feasts, organized public games to which everybody could participate.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

In Italy, masks for Carnevale have been used in theatre plays, especially in Goldoni’s comedies, a famous Venetian writer of the 1700 and in the Commedia Dell’Arte in the second half of the 16th century, based on improvisation on stage. Plays of Commedia dell’Arte are still fascinating and alive in the arts and in the memories of theatre lovers.

Carnevale in Venice, renowned all over the world, is a magical and mysterious event that takes place every year around February, it calls for unruly behavior and the masks are breath-taking. Browsing in costumes through the narrow streets of a foggy Venice is like walking in the 16th century. Everybody is disguised, people laughing, chatting, a glass of wine here, a dance there. Carnevale in Venice is what it was and still is.

Paintings of Venice Carnevale scenes, or paintings of masks can be included into today’s home décor very easily. Think about a room in a total white color scheme with very colorful paintings on the walls as the Geraldine Arata’s art work. She knows how to capture on canvas the mystery of Venice and the complicity of secretive lovers. Her oil paintings are beautifully executed, colorful and unconventional.

(Defiance – Geraldine Arata)

Another example could be a room painted in grey gun-metal faux finish with a modern style décor and Geraldine’s colorful mask paintings just laid casually against the walls, or hung on a wall washed with light. Loose white chiffon draperies swinging in the windows as a sweet melody in Venice would carry two lovers in each other arms.

Find Geraldine Arata at:

As an Italian born designer and a lover of Commedia dell’Arte, I can help recreating the mystery of Venice, its flamboyance and Bohemian atmosphere into today’s home décor and I can help placing this particular art in a special home. It takes a sunny eye to see the sun light.

Copyright © 2010 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Please forward this article to anyone you think might be interested in reading it and let me know what you think by leaving a comment below. Thank you. Ciao,


VBlue2Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior and Fashion Designer, working in the USA and Europe. She combines well fashion and interior in any of her design work. She loves to remodel homes and loves to create the unusual. Author of the forthcoming book on the subject of Colors.
Author of the book: ©Come Mia Nonna–A Return to Simplicity


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