Thursday, June 25, 2020

Bottega Cini - New Concept Store in Venice Celebrates Excellence

Bottega Cini - Photo: Cat Bauer
(Venice, Italy) Bottega Cini, a new type of museum shop in Venice, is a cause for celebration. It is refreshing to witness the opening of a store that fits so perfectly into the local community, mixing commerce and traditional Venetian culture, positioned in just the right zone. Located directly in front of Palazzo Cini at San Vio in the Dorsoduro district of Venice, Bottega Cini is sure to attract both locals and travelers who visit the Accademia Galleries, the Palazzo Cini Gallery, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and the Punta della Dogana art collections -- known as the "Dorsoduro Museum Mile."

The store was created from an encounter between three entrepreneurial entities -- The Merchant of Venice, The Vittorio Cini Archive Foundation and Museyoum, each known for excellence in their respective sectors. The aim is to keep centuries-old Venetian artisan production alive -- a Renaissance workshop with a contemporary flair.

Jelena Vesic at the counter of Bottega Cini - Photo: Cat Bauer


Inside the store you will find the perfume art of the Merchant of Venice, created by the Vidal Family, known internationally for their high-quality products for more than a century.

In 1900, Angelo Vidal established a small laboratory for perfumes and soaps in Venice, a city known since ancient times as a center of the perfume industry. In 1986, Massimo Vidal, Angelo's grandson, established Mavive -- an acronym formed by "Massimo Vidal Venezia" -- and launched the company with its beloved Italian brand, Pino Silvestre. Over the years, the company would go on to acquire new brands like Police and Replay.

In December of 2012, there was an intimate press conference held in in the Sala della Bolla at Palazzo Ducale to launch The Merchant of Venice, Mavive's new luxury line of exotic fragrances, which is where I met Massimo Vidal and his son, Marco, 21st century alchemists.

The Merchant of Venice

I was immediately impressed, and wrote a post:

The Merchant of Venice - Noble Secrets of the Art of Perfumery

...With the strong support of the Vidal family, the Venetian owners of the international fragrance company, Mavive, Venice has decided to reveal some of its ancient secrets and perfume recipes, and has reprinted Secreti Nobilissimi dell'Arte Profumatoria by Giovanbattista Rosetti.

Noble Secrets of the Art of Perfumery was first published in Venice in 1555, then reprinted in Bologna in 1672. I am holding the little book in my hand right now... 
The creation of perfumes and cosmetics was considered an art performed by Venetian spezieri, or spice-makers, who, according to Giancarlo Ottolini, were "part alchemists and part physicians who had a sound knowledge of chemistry, herbal medicine and the numerous ingredients (and their properties) that were available at the time"... read more
Palazzo Cini

Count Vittorio Cini (1885-1977) was a 20th century entrepreneur, collector, politician, philanthropist and creator of the renowned Giorgio Cini Foundation on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, dedicated to the memory of his son, Giorgio, who died in 1949 in a plane crash in Cannes at age 30.

In 1919, Vittorio acquired Palazzo Foscari-Loredan at San Vio and united it with Palazzo Grimani, the adjoining palace, creating the magnificent Palazzo Cini where Vittorio lived with his wife, the actress Lyda Borelli, and their children, Giorgio, Mynna, and the twins Yana and Ylda, who were born in the house. Vittorio Cini was an avid collector, acquiring fine artworks and objects with which he adorned the palazzo. The Vittorio Cini Archive Foundation keeps his impressive life and works alive.

As a child, Yana Cini was stricken with polio. The forced immobilization allowed her to concentrate on reading and developing cultural interests, and gave her a deep sense of empathy to those who suffer.

In 1953, Yana married Prince Fabrizio Alliata di Montereale in a ceremony at Venice's Church of Salute, with a "legendary" reception held at Palazzo Cini. The couple moved to Rome, where they would go on to have five children, the first, Giovanni, born in 1954. But Yana remained committed to her native city, often staying in her father's house and engaging with the Giorgio Cini Foundation's events.

In 1961, Yana founded the "Nido Verde" in Rome for the care and re-education of children afflicted by polio. Through this organization, Yana met Albert Sabin, the medical researcher who developed the oral polio vaccine, credited with nearly eradicating the disease. Sabin encouraged Yana and Fabrizio to form AIL, the Italian Association against Leukemia, Lymphomas and Myeloma. Today, their eldest son, Giovanni Alliata di Montereale, heads the Venice branch of AIL.

Yana left a significant part of her inheritance to the Foundation, including some rooms in Palazzo Cini, the family home, along with a collection of Tuscan paintings and other art objects.

Palazzo Cini Gallery is now a museum house, open to the public. The Gallery is laid out on two floors. The first recreates the refined residence of Vittorio Cini, while the second hosts exhibitions and cultural events.

Veduta del Pantheon d'Agrippa by Piranese - Photo: Cat Bauer
The Basilico Piranesi Rome exhibition kicked off at Palazza Cini Gallery on June 20 as Venice emerged from quarantine, coinciding with the opening of Bottega Cini, just steps away. The exhibition combines the contemporary photography of Gabriele Basilico with the veduta art of Piranesi in honor of the 300th anniversary of the artist's birth. Juxtaposed with the poetic etchings of city views in Rome by Piranesi are contemporary photos of the same scenes by Basilico. The exhibition was curated by the always excellent Luca Massimo Barbero, and runs through November 23, 2020.

Giovanni Alliata di Montereale & Marco Vidal safe distancing at Bottega Cini - Photo: Cat Bauer


On the day of the Festa della Sensa, the day that Venice marries the sea, the Osella d'Oro Award is presented by the Festa della Sensa Committee on behalf of the Venice Comune to three institutions, agencies and private citizens who, with their activity in the sectors of culture, commerce and crafts, bring value and prestige to the city of Venice. The "Osella d'Oro" is the reproduction of an ancient Venetian gold coin minted at the time of Doge Mocenigo under the Serenissima Republic.

Last year, Marco Vidal, the CEO of The Merchant of Venice and Giovanni Alliata di Montereale, President of AIL Venezia and Vittorio Cini's grandson, were awarded the prize along with the Master Printer, Gianni Basso. Their commitment and dedication to the city in their respective sectors are part of the ethereal engine that keeps Venice running. Soon after, the idea for Bottega Cini was born.



A new way to experience art and culture using Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence, Museyoum was co-founded by Stefano Bergonzoni and Riccardo Ricci. "Museyoum offers user-friendly visiting experiences thanks to an intelligent technology that captures the visitor's interests and offers diversified content by adapting themes and narrative keys linked to the uniqueness of each person. The system is a careful, discreet and interactive virtual assistant that tells, understands and answers direct questions."

Museyoum is a cutting-edge collaborator with the Vittorio Cini Archive Foundation, creating virtual tours and an interactive biography to perpetuate and honor the entrepreneur's memory.

Giovanni Alliata di Montereale at Bottega Cini - Photo: Cat Bauer
The system was not up and running yet on opening day, but it sounds exciting, especially "Raphael - From the Origins to the Myth" that comes to Venice after Urbino in honor of the 500 year anniversary of Raphael's death in 1520.
Rosa Moceniga Luxury Hand Cleansing Gel - Photo: Cat Bauer


Inside the cultural concept store you will find some of the finest quality products created by artisans who are dedicated to their craft. Bottega Cini is determined to keep alive, develop and expand centuries-old Venetian traditions, as well as providing high quality service and innovative technology. 


NasonMoretti, founded in 1923 by the Nason brothers, set the benchmark for the "art of the table" with their innovative, elegant Venetian glassware. Now the third generation focuses on contemporary designs, and has collaborated with top fashion brands and fine restaurants.

At the core of Ercole Moretti is the murrina, that distinctive mosaic glass that is enchanting to behold. Founded in 1911 by three brothers, today the company is run by the founders' grandchildren using techniques that stretch back to ancient Rome.
Marisa Convento at Bottega Cini - Photo: Cat Bauer

The art of the Impiraressa was once prevalent in Venice. It was a profession only performed by women, who would string glass beads produced by the furnaces on Murano. Now it is a rare craft, and the treasured Marisa Convento is the Queen, not only creating distinctive jewelry and original designs, but also passing her knowledge on to future generations. Those of you who know Marisa from her days on Calle della Mandola will be delighted to know that she and her laboratory are ready to welcome you again inside Bottega Cini.


Two of Venice's most respected publishing houses, Marsilio Editore and Linea d'Acqua, are well-represented at Bottega Cini. They are known for their fine quality books and the excellence of their presentation -- everything from the paper, the bindings, the ink, to the high-quality images. Many of the most important exhibitions in Venice are preserved within the pages their books, as well as contemporary authors of distinction.

Also represented is Toscolano 1381, carrying on the tradition of Toscolano, a paper-making center that dates back to the 14th century.  


While you are at Bottega Cini, you can purchase a small hand cleansing gel, created especially for the surreal times we live in. The Rosa Moceniga perfume was born from a collaboration between The Merchant of Venice and the author Andrea di Robilant, whose aristocratic Venetian ancestors and their antics have provided a wealth of material. In Chasing the Rose, Andrea goes on a quest to find the origins of a pink rose growing wild on his family's former country estate, which leads him all the way back to Napoleon's court. I've been fortunate enough to inhale the fragrance of the actual rose -- the Rosa Moceniga itself -- and can confirm that The Merchant of Venice has miraculously captured its scent -- even in a hand cleansing gel!

Bottega Cini's website is still under construction, but you can find more information here.

Ciao from Venezia,
Cat Bauer
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

1 comment:

  1. Bottega Cini, a new type of museum shop in Venice, is a cause for celebration. It is refreshing to witness the opening of a store that fits so perfectly into the local community, mixing commerce and traditional Venetian culture, positioned in just the right zone.