Recreation, Tours, Country and city

Off the beaten track in Venice

Posted by: 2013-08-16

In a particularly pellucid afternoon in June last year , at the rear end of the opening of the 55th Venice Biennial , I'm with Bianca Arrivabene Valenti Gonzaga chatting in her garden by the Grand Canal. We sit in the shade of the Palazzo Papadopoli , the beautiful castle of the 16th Century , which is her husband , Giberto the ancestral home , shards of light glisten off the water and gently ruffled reflect on their new plaster facade . Its pebble borders in a supernatural perfect lawn Garden. Sleek, bleached - oak tables and chairs made ​​of steel - wire line its periphery ; mirror in dark wood frames rejected , a precisely equidistant from the other side against a flawless wall. In a city whose reputation was on extravagant display of wealth , not least among them the Palazzo perched beside us , still one of the largest privately owned , which is on the Grand Canal and its beauty today more of a crumbling, decadent style , built this is a strangely sober space. But then the garden Arrivabene is not exactly any more. It is now under the management of the Singapore-based Amanresorts , and her husband 's headquarters with a new name : Aman Grand Canal.

Exterior view of Le Antiche Carapane Restaurant | Photo courtesy of AmanresortsNot long ago Arrivabene reminded that things here decidedly more towards the end of the maintenance Shabby Chic range distorted , with wisteria grow uncontrollably in abundance . No more : Shabby Chic - an aesthetic which Amanresorts , as anyone who is visiting you know is exactly zero truck - has left the building. In its place has come an unassailable tasteful fusion of design 21 Century neo- Renaissance and Rococo splendor . Superimposed in ornate cornices and original Murano chandelier , were Aman Grand Canal public salons and 24 suites in a laborious 18-month renovation require an average of 100 artisans on site daily renovated . Elaborate moldings and freshly gilded abluted contrast to angular, modern furniture in gunite gray , studio white and other colors on the not-quite - color wheel. In my suite , attributed chubby cherubs gambol on the school frescoes by Tiepolo , the piano nobile, they are the work of the master himself , crowned with a dining room covered in vermilion damask and hung with portraits of ancestors Arrivabene .

For anyone who has been paying even cursory attention to Venice's development in recent years makes a smooth, Asian - Hotel Group, based in the assumption of the Palazzo Papadopoli perfect sense. It is a crucial moment here at the moment: at one end of the tourist profile , the thin lens of the Biennale and the Venice Film Festival , the Giudecca canal, thicker to see every year with super - yachts, and certain areas of the city teeming VIP fromBeverly Hills and Basel , Kazakhstan and Kuala Lumpur. This year's Biennial exhibit is the largest to date with 88 countries . Luxury responded hoteliers , establishing presences (as in Aman case ); debuting new features (such as Francesca Bortolotto Possati , coming from Venice owner of the revered manufacturer hotels, with the exclusive Villa F) , or raise their game with ambitious multi million dollar renovations ( including the revered Gritti Palace and the Hotel Danieli , both flying Starwood Luxury Collection flag).

At the other end is a less glamorous, more worrying phenomenon: the thousands on the Piazza San Marco and at the Riva dei Schiavoni crowd for her photo of the Bridge of Sighs to Pinterest ( or increasingly Weibo ) Post . Most cruise passengers are day tourists and tour groups , and to increase their number annually by an alarming amount . Fears that this demographic is not spending enough to pay for the damage their accumulated flock to the historic Venice - do to compensate flood-prone ; weak foundation year , be as physically vulnerable as a metropolis - grow .

Therefore the future , here's so much in the hands of those who as of those who visit them call home. Between the Art Diva and the day-trippers , there is room , yes, there is the need for the tourists who take part of another Venice : the vibrant city that buzzes with modern culture, local artisan cuisine , artisans keep tradition alive and authentic neighborhoods .