Venice can be considered one of the most beautiful places created by man. It has been captured in millions of photographs and artwork and it almost seems that there will be no surprises when you visit it.
On the contrary, from the moment you jump into a water taxi at the airport to the moment you leave the city, it feels like you’re on a “Hollywood set” with the constant element of surprise. With the perfect weather and the perfect clouds it felt like a Las Vegas version of itself. (I know it sounds like heresy :)
Layers of history can be seen everywhere from the San Marco Square, Rialto bridge, Grand Basilicas to great palazzo hotels lined up on the Grand Canal.
One of these gems is the Gritti Palace, a 15 century palazzo that recently underwent a $50 million dollar renovation with the help of the celebrate designer Chuck Chewning.
The Gritti was a nobleman’s home in the 15th century but later became a residence for Andrea Gritti, the 16th-century Doge of Venice who gives the property its name today. In 1895 the palazzo was converted into the Grand Hotel.
Staying there seemed nothing short of a time travel even after its “modernized” high-tech restoration with natural marble bathrooms and Aqua Di Parma Spa.
Gritti Palace was a prominent place for the artsy types and even made an appearance in the Hemingway’s novel Across the River and into the Trees. Hemingway who was one of the frequent visitors of the Hotel alongside Peggy Guggenheim, Somerset Maugham and John Ruskin, all of whom now have suits named after them.
Now it is all in the past and among exceptional art and elegance, the restored Gritti Palace retains its reassuringly “Old World” feel with the high-tech comforts of a modern life.
Dramatic views of the canal and the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute are absolutely breathtaking when you sit on the restaurant patio.
It’s a centrally located hotel so there are varieties of attractions within walking distance (yes there are actually walking streets in Venice)… But for the Stiletto addicts like me, a friendly recommendation: not the best idea to wear them in Venice! I was able to survive the walk from the Gritty Palace to the Opera House, (which was very close), but that was my limit.
I always wanted to visit Venice before it sinks, but it did not seem like it is sinking at all. Instead it is a breath of fresh air and is becoming the IT spot again like it was for centuries.
Do you think it can become a cultural center again or just stay as an open air museum?
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