Venice. Water, art and lots of wonderful places to see. For many of us it was our first encounter with this magical city, one that didn’t ceased to amaze. The first thing that struck us was its beauty: the architecture, the canals and the little shops that occupied the piazzas.

And then the art: Titian, Tintoretto, Bellini, Pesaro, Palladio, Giorgione, Giotto and so many more including Picasso, Pollock, Margritte and Dali from the Peggy Guggenheim collection. Seeing these works in real life was incredible, and so much better than in a classroom. On our free afternoon most of us went to the Lido on the outskirts of Venice. The warm water and chance to lie on the beach in the sun without having to concentrate was just what we needed to relax after a hard day’s learning.

One highlight of the trip had to be the last night in the city, where the tutors had arranged a picnic on the waterfront overlooking St Mark’s. The fancy dress theme ‘Carnival’ had all the tutors and some students sporting traditional Venetian masks for the occasion.

After traipsing through the busy streets with our identities concealed, we arrived and unpacked all the food, only to hear a live band performing just round the corner. Mesmerised by the music and still in full dress we decided to explore. What we found was a 7-piece band with a singer performing for a festival. Getting into the carnival spirit we started dancing, something that the Italian press were particularly interested in.

After a few quick snaps by the side, we were pushed onto the stage in front of the keen audience! What followed was to be the most exhilarating 5 minutes of the trip so far. Intense dance moves were performed, and any cares forgotten. Unfortunately we didn’t make it into the newspapers the next morning, but that experience, and all the others we had in Venice, will live in our memories forever.


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