Update: Venesha has closed. SLurls have therefore been removed from this article.
Once upon a time there was a place called Venexia. A full region, it offered a taste of Venice in something of a Gothic twist, largely built with role-play in mind – although it was a highly photogenic region – it was open to Second Life users between 2011 and 2015, when it and it’s “companion” region – as in, designed by the same people – closed (see: The passing of places in Second Life, June 2015).
In 2018, the spirit of Venexia returned when Zee9, one of the original region’s designers, created a Homestead region based on Venexia that she called Venesha. Referring to it as a “stripped down” version of Venexia, Zee9 nevertheless imbued much of what had made Venexia special within the mesh and prims of Venesha.
To be honest, I’ve no idea how long that iteration of Venesha remained in Second Life – I stopped by in something like August or September 2018, IIRC, but never wrote about it – and by the start of 2019, Zee9 had moved on to her futuristic 2019-XS city design, itself a recasting of her Drune build (which it was also to morph into over time (see Time at 2019-XS in Second Life, January 2019 and Drune IV: an Aftermath in Second Life, August 2019).
Now, with Venesha, the enchanted isle, Zee9 has brought all the magic of Venexia back to Second Life – and more. Once again occupying a Full region, Venesha, the enchanted isle has given Zee9 to completed rebuild the original and enhance it to offer a setting that is utterly captivating and rich in nuance and style.
Situated as a sky build in order to make use of the better performance people can oft experience with the viewer (no pesky Linden Water to render, which can affect viewer performance, particularly for those running EEP-capable viewers), Venesha offers an enticing mix of classic Venice with canals, gondolas (some of which act as site-to-site teleports within the build), humpbacked bridges, waterfront houses, narrow terraces, inner courtyards and one broad square that takes its lead from the famous Piazza San Marco.
But mixed with this is much more – the aforementioned Gothic element for example, together with something of a steampunkian edge, like the clockwork elevator that will take you up the inside of the clock tower, and the street lamps that look like they might be gas-powered. The docks, meanwhile are strong Renaissance period in styles (and shipping). Meanwhile, the taverns and tea houses look as if they’d fit into any period from the Renaissance through to the present day, whilst the preferred (but not enforced) dress-code is Victorian / Edwardian.
If all this sounds a bit of a hodge-podge, rest assured, it isn’t. Thanks to the architecture of the region, everything naturally flows together from waterfront to streets, to island gardens, going by way of theatre, churches, clubs, taverns. Rather, Venesha the enchanted isle is a genuinely immersive setting that suggests a place cut-off from time, and where role-play opportunities abound throughout. Those with a Gothic / supernatural bent will find places like the Tomb Garden and the great basilica to their liking; the interior of the latter is certainly not what you might expect from a house of God – but who said churches have to be places of worship in one particular direction? Across the region, the dungeons may similar offer opportunities for some role-play scenarios, whilst the island gardens and the library sit as quieter retreats.
Those with an interest in magic can always enrol in the local magic school, tucked away behind the Basilica and occupying a little island of its own. For the adventurous there is the ride to the top of the clock tower and a zip line ride down to a nearby tower, where a treat of wine and cheese awaits those who dare – just down drink too much, as the way back t the ground is via a pair of ladders!
As noted above, some of the gondolas found along the canals offer the means to teleport around Venesha, but I really recommend talking your time and walking around; there a lots of little corners and terraces that might be missed otherwise, as well as one or two secrets. Can you find the hidden entrance to the catacombs, for example?
Currently there are no plans to re-introduce formalised role-play into Venesha, Zee9 preferring to leave things open to visitors who wish to do so to engage in free-form RP. She does note, however, that any of the old Venexia RP groups that might still be active are welcome to hop over and try the region on for size.
Zee9 describes Venesha as her best build to date – and while I have always enjoyed her region designs, I’m not going to dispute her on that point: Venesha is fabulously designed and executed, and perfectly recaptures everything that made Venexia so popular. The default environment settings are recommended for maximum enjoyment, but with care, others also work well with the design.