Ah VENICE! Beyond crowded in summer, damp and foggy in winter, yet somehow always totally enchanting. A city packed with art, history, culture and the most incredible amount of tourist tat. Truman Capote said “Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go”. Divine, indulgent, decadent; must be done at least once in a life time.
Stay: The Gritti Palace No argument. It is expensive, especially for the canal side suites. But the chance to live like royalty is worth every penny. Beyond beautiful, the hotel really was a palace in its former life. The Doge of Venice made it his home back in the 1500’s. A recent massive restoration added some hidden tech, cleaned all the paintings and installed a tiny but perfect Acqua di Parma spa. But miraculously left the antiques, charm and top notch concierge desk alone. This one is worth splurging on!
Eat: Antica Osteria Cera Michelin gives this wonderful seafood restaurant two well-earned stars. Some argue it deserves three! Elegance permeates everything…the décor, the service and the food. Especially the food. Dishes are prepared with sophistication and imagination yet never stray from the importance of the impossibly fresh and carefully chosen ingredients. A complete hassle to get to. Go anyway.
See: Punta della Dogana The new kid on the island. Francois Pinault (French luxury good magnate and husband of Selma Hayak) spent 20,000,000 euros changing the empty old customs house into a breathtaking space to display rotating exhibitions of his personal collection. The outside was just cleaned up a bit. Minimalist Japanese architect Tadao Ando has completely transformed the interior. It features exposed concrete parallel walls, beamed ceilings studded with skylights and hard polished floors. Modern juxtaposed with the traditional, it is the coolest space in Venice; ideal to display Pinault’s incredible contemporary collection.