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Guide to Venice

By Nick Levine |  December 13 2017


This story originally appeared in the November/December 2017 issue of Elite Traveler.

The city of Venice conjures up a constellation of colorful, dreamlike images for any sanguine traveler. It is a place bursting with art, history, music and romance, where visitors relish majestic architecture, glorious churches and unrivaled food. The uniqueness of the turquoise lagoon remains a fascination for travelers, who come from far and wide to experience the enchantment of a gondola ride through the city’s winding canals. Venice has been noted for its hospitality for many centuries, but especially so when it became an unmissable stop on the Grand Tour and Europe’s nobility flocked to visit St Mark’s Basilica. The city is therefore home to some of the world’s most luxurious accommodations; several former palaces are now hotels. Popular all year round, Venice hosts an array of enlivening annual events including the Venice International Film Festival and the Venice Biennale, an art exhibition founded in 1895.

Top Restaurants

AMO

The latest restaurant from the hugely talented Alajmo brothers, this culinary delight is nestled in the heart of luxury department store Fondaco dei Tedeschi, just off the iconic Rialto Bridge. The chef, Max Alajmo, has three Michelin stars and describes the menu as “colorful, light, and festive.” Each dish is a true work of art comprising vibrant and thoughtfully chosen components. Try the outstanding hand-chopped raw beef, served on bark and accompanied by an exquisite black truffle sauce. This dish is something truly special.

Contact Michele Pozzani, maître, michele.pozzani@alajmo.it, +39 049 630 303, alajmo.it

TERRAZZA DANIELI

Sitting loftily atop the magnificent five-star Hotel Danieli, Terrazza Danieli offers spectacular views of the Grand Canal and glistening Venetian lagoon. The skill of executive chef Dario Parascandolo ensures that the gourmet experience of Terrazza Danieli proudly complements its majestic setting. The menu offers an ingenious array of ingredients and flavors. The cannolo of creamed cod is modern and imaginative—yet perfectly Venetian. It combines fresh fish with the subtle essence of Italy’s legendary drink, the Aperol spritz.

Contact Gabriele Giachetti, restaurant manager, gabriele.giachetti@starwoodhotels.com, +39 041 782 786, terrazzadanieli.com

ANTICHE CARAMPANE

Antiche Carampane is tucked away in what was once the city’s red light district in the 15th century. It can be found just behind Ponte delle Tette, Venice’s famously alluring bridge. The chefs proudly serve only the seasonal offerings of the lagoon and surrounding area, so you can be absolutely sure your experience is truly Venetian. Enjoy a culinary journey and experience the magnificent Venetian-style cuttlefish along with the local fried soft shell crab. It is no surprise that this secluded trattoria has hosted a glittering array of A-list stars from around the world.

Contact Francesco Agopyan, owner, info@antichecarampane.com, +39 041 524 0165, antichecarampane.com

Top Suites

SAN GIORGIO TERRACE SUITE
Baglioni Hotel Luna

With awe-inspiring views of San Giorgio Island and St Mark’s Basin, this decadent suite comes complete with a 350 sq ft private outdoor terrace, which provides ample space to entertain or kick back and unwind within an intimate setting. The main living area, consisting of a stylish master bedroom, second bedroom, two Carrara and Greystone marble bathrooms and dining area, has a number of authentic handmade Venetian features. Details include wood panel walls, Venetian and French precious fabrics and original Fortuny lamps. The suite includes access to a complimentary private water taxi, and private cocktail making and cooking classes.

From $5,324 per night. Contact Laura Marra, reservations manager, l.marra@baglionihotels.com, +39 041 528 9840, baglionihotels.com

HEMINGWAY PRESIDENTIAL SUITE
The Gritti

The Gritti pays tribute to one of its most notable residents by naming the presidential suite after the famous writer. As part of a $41m refurbishment in 2013, the signature Hemingway suite was fully restored. The suite, decorated with stucco walls and ceiling, is created out of two first-floor rooms where the author regularly stayed during the late 1940s and early 1950s. Situated on the piano nobile of the Gritti, the Hemingway offers unparalleled views of the Grand Canal. The suite, with a water-facing living room and bedroom, grand master bedroom and marble bathroom, has both a contemporary and cultural feel.

From $10,767 per night. Contact Paola Toniolo, reservations manager, paola.toniolo@luxurycollection.com, +39 041 296 1111, thegrittipalace.com

ALCOVA TIEPOLO SUITE
The Aman Venice

The Alcova Tiepolo is the ideal stay for those seeking a romantic getaway. Widely speculated to be where George and Amal Clooney spent their wedding night, it is an opulent and discreet residence. While lying in the king-size bed and relaxing in the generously sized bath, guests can feast their eyes on frescoes by the acclaimed Venetian painter Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. The 1,108 sq ft suite’s tall windows show off the Aman’s beautiful and well-kept private garden, while a separate sitting room features hand-painted 18th-century Chinoiserie canvases. Use of the suite also includes a complimentary mini bar.

From $4,614 per night. Contact Claudia Schwarze, general manager, cschwarze@aman.com, +39 041 270 7333, aman.com

Must-Do Activities

PALAZZO DUCALE

The Doge’s Palace is one of the most enduring and popular tourist attractions in Venice. Formerly the residence of the most senior member-elected official of Venice and Goa (697-1797), the original building, of which no traces remain, dates back to the ninth century. It is best explored in the company of an expert guide and outside peak hours. The Aman offers an exclusive and intimate after-hours (7pm-10pm) tour for hotel guests. You are guided through the grand halls of the Doge’s Palace by a private guide, who brings to life the history and treasures of this icon of Gothic architecture.

From $2,603 per visit. Contact Francesco Campagna, concierge,
amanvenice.ccg@aman.com, +39 041 270 7333, aman.com

FONDACO DEI TEDESCHI

This Renaissance four-story building was first developed in 1228. The word fondaco means ‘store-house’ and the building was first used by German merchants as an important trading center for goods passing through Venice from the Orient. Today, the site preserves its historic purpose but as a modern, restyled luxury shopping destination. Boasting more than 300 brands, it includes national and international favorites such as Fendi, Valentino, Gucci and Armani alongside an authentic curation of local Venetian treasures. The architecture and interior are as plush as the goods that it showcases, with gold and marble splashed throughout. Be sure to visit the top floor for a breathtaking 360-degree view of the Venice skyline.

Contact Anna Adriani, communications &marketing director, anna.adriani@dfs.com, +39 041 313 7015, dfs.com

VETREVIA ARTISTICA VIVARINI

Opened in 1967, Vetrevia Artistica Vivarini offers bespoke Murano glassblowing tours, with artisans demonstrating this famed Venetian technique—turning inflating molten glass into a bubble—from their workshops. The two-hour experience also includes a detailed history of this unique artistry, which dates back more than 1,000 years to 1280. The factory produces a number of high-end products including lighting fixtures, glassware and sculptures. Historically, the factory has forged works of internationally renowned painters and sculptors such as Yoko Ono and Armand Pierre Fernandez. At the end of the tour guests can browse and purchase an array of dazzling and unique Murano works from the on-site shop.

Contact Michele Zampedri, president, michelezampedri@gmail.com, +39 041 736 077, vivarini.it

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