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Palace in Venice’s Famous Piazza San Marco to Open to the Public for the First Time in 500 Years

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Part of Venice’s famed Piazza San Marco will soon open its doors to the public for the first time in five centuries. Dezeen reports that Procuratie Vecchie, the oldest of three interconnected palaces on the square, will eventually become an arts venue and headquarters for The Human Safety Net, a nonprofit organization aimed at empowering disadvantaged individuals and communities around the world.

First, British architect David Chipperfield plans to renovate the palace, an undertaking that's expected to last until 2020. It has been the headquarters for Generali, an Italian insurer, since the mid-1800s, and the renovation will create new space for The Human Safety Net, a social initiative funded by Generali. When it reopens, the palace will host exhibitions and public programming related to the organization's mission, which is to help refugees and children growing up in poverty.

A view of the exterior of the Procuratie Vecchie
Courtesy David Chipperfield Architects

The three-story palace was rebuilt in the 16th century after the original 12th-century structure was damaged in a fire. Like the other palaces in the square, it was once home to Venice’s procurators, high-ranking government administrators. The renovation and repurposing of the building will make its interiors accessible to the public for the first time in 500 years.

Chipperfield has plenty of experience restoring historic buildings. He is currently at work restoring Berlin’s New National Gallery, a building originally designed by storied 20th-century architect Mies van der Rohe, and has previously repaired and restored other historic structures, like Berlin's 19th-century Neues Museum and a group of 11 colonial-era buildings in Shanghai.

The restoration of the Procuratie Vecchie will largely be interior, but it will also include recreating a historic route through the palace to the Royal Gardens on the waterfront—which Generali is also involved in restoring.

[h/t Dezeen]

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This $20 Board Game From JetBlue Includes a Free Round-Trip Flight
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Still looking for a last-minute gift idea? Here’s an affordable item that everyone in your family will be fighting over: As Travel + Leisure reports, JetBlue is selling a $20 board game that includes complimentary round-trip airfare.

The object of the limited-edition game, called Get Packing!, is to fill up your board with personal belongings in preparation for your flight and prevent other players from doing the same. Sounds simple enough, but if you play the way JetBlue recommends, the gameplay will get competitive fast: The first person to fill their bag wins a certificate that can be redeemed for a real round-trip flight.

Winners have from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018 to book their free trip. Destinations eligible for flights include domestic cities as well as ones abroad, like Quito, Ecuador and Lima, Peru. Taxes and other fees apply and travelers will still have to pay blackout rates on busy travel days.

After debuting the deal on Amazon on December 12, the product quickly sold out. Fortunately, a new batch will be made available on December 18 at 3 p.m.—just remember to act fast, as it’s likely to be a hot item on everyone’s wish list.

Board game from JetBlue.
JetBlue, Amazon

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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Animals
Meet Piper: The Border Collie Making a Michigan Airport Safer for Travelers
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Birds may look harmless on solid ground, but in the sky they pose a big threat to any aircraft crossing their path. The Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City, Michigan, uses a low-tech approach to the problem: a border collie named Piper.

Great Big Story profiled Piper and his handler, airport operations supervisor Brian Edwards, in a recent video. Piper’s job as the airport’s wildlife control canine is chasing away large birds that could strike incoming and outgoing planes, potentially causing anything from dents to engine failure. In Michigan, this usually means large waterfowl like ducks and geese, but it can also include crows, gulls, and snowy owls.

After he’s deployed from a moving car, Piper heads for the birds, scattering them away from the tarmac and teaching them to associate the area with predators. Piper is just doing what most border collies would do in the presence of a flock of birds, only in this case he gets to wear stylish protective goggles while following his instincts.

You can watch the full story below.

[h/t Great Big Story]

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