We adore Venice. Of course, we call it by its proper name; Venezia.
We go there just about every year. And yes, we have stayed in some of the floating city’s most amazing and legendary hotels, like The Gritti Palace, Belmond Hotel Cipriani, and The Danieli. Hotels that offer unique experiences, world-class service, and comfort to match the splendors of Venice.
Fulfilling a life-long dream
At first, we thought that renting a palazzo would be completely out of reach. But it’s always been there, on the bucket list. And now, with somewhat more agreeable rates in the low season, we took the plunge.
What an upgrade it would prove to be!
After doing some research on available palazzos to rent, our eyes fell upon the well-located palazzo, named Imperiale Piano Nobile. It is just by the hotel, The Gritti Palace. This, in our opinion, is just about the most ideal location as it’s just a short stroll from the busy St Marks Square and with views from the balcony to catch some sun or to glimpse the busy gondolas floating by on the nearby Grand Canal.
Normally we come to Venice for two nights. Now, planning to live the dream, we decided that three nights was a minimum. We wanted to settle down and enjoy a genuine Venetian palazzo experience.
Entering the palazzo, we realized that images do not do this place justice. The pure splendor, the ceiling height, the details of the interior, the furniture, the chandeliers: we had to pinch ourselves. And, having stayed at large suites in hotels in Venice and elsewhere, it was clear that this was something quite different.
Almost all of the large palazzos in Venice are historic. This one is no exception. The 17th century Palazzo Grimani had been occupied by the «Italian Sigmund Freud», the famous Cesare Musatti.
But the interiors leave no trace of an ingenious but troubled mind.
Rather, the good psychoanalyst was concerned with the inner “teatro” of the mind and how surroundings, like going to the theatre or the opera, affect the mind and the understanding of one-self.
It worked for us; spending time here felt like as if we took part in a movie. Soft, pastel colors made us feel happy and at ease, with details everywhere to study, as if a beautiful painting. Adding to this, the historic artwork throughout the Palazzo is bountiful.
The master bedroom, with its four-poster bed, is special and features a fantastic ceiling. Still, the most significant rooms are the adjacent door salons – the dining room.
Michelin star in-room dining
Starting with the dining room, we can, hand on heart, state that it’s the most beautiful dining room we have ever visited. And it was to be ours, for three full nights. Deciding to take full advantage of the experience, we hired talented chefs. One specialized in seafood. Another specialized in meats. Both of which are highly recommended.
All three nights, we had a lovely 4-course set menu, set to match our wishes of re-discovering true Venetian classics. It was a true gourmet experience in our own historic dining room. This is not to compare them with some of the world’s best restaurants, like Osteria Francescana or Enoteka Pinchiorri. But certainly, when the atmosphere is considered, this one beats just about everything we have done.
Looking at the chandeliers, the old beautiful mirrors, one notices the original stucchi wall decorations that show musical instruments. This was probably originally the «sala di musica» of the palazzo.
The sound of music
The mention of music leads us to the next room, that for our sake became the music room for the stay. Not only because it holds a lovely period Steinway grand piano. But because we chose to fill that special room with the most magnificent live music.
The first night, we hired the Venetian singer Sara Bardino with friends. (pianist and violin) The trio took us through an exciting repertoire, and it became a delightful evening.
It led up to a very special performance on the last evening when two famous opera singers enter the stage and perform many legendary pieces. Sara Pretegiani and Giovanni Battista Palmieri, known as Sara and Gio, have performed for 40.000 people on a stage. Tonight though, it was for us only. It moved us deeply. It is something we will treasure for some time.
Leaving so soon?
Sadly, after some quite strong impressions at this magnificent palazzo, reality kicked in and it was time to leave Venice.
The taxi-boat picked us up directly from the nearby The Gritti Palace. By the way; restaurants here represent excellent alternatives to get lovely breakfasts or lunches, preferably on the Riva terrace, facing the Grand Canal. For us, having this legendary hotel as our closest neighbor was a big plus.
By: Jason R. Eckhoff