When arriving to Venice, you are overwhelmed by the place’s originality. But what really amazed me, is how much this floating city deserves the admirable heritage and glamorous reputation it has built throughout the centuries. One of its best examples is the Gritti Palace, a 15th century sailing gem in one of Italy’s most beautiful creations.
I arrived in laSerinissima when the leading color of the sky was grey. Being the Belgian I am, I figured out that the dramatic clouds would soon turn into an epic rainfall which would surely ruin my natural curly hair and transform them into a frizzled afterparty.
I therefore decided to pamper myself and enter the Gritti Palace and I admit, I did not expect to be welcomed by two huge polar bears, part of Paola Pivi’s installation Beautiful Day, 2015, in one of the hotel’s halls.
Just as I was recovering from my first surprise, my eyes got totally distracted by another masterpiece in the adjacent hall; the portrait of Andrea Gritti, Doge of Venice, portraited by the one and only Titian!
I realized, once more, that although museums are incredible as they enable people to admire and discover masterpieces, looking at them in a palazzo which used to be the painted subject’s house, is so impressive and powerful.
I could thoroughly feel the place’s love for art as, not only had it bestowed the portrait a majestic emplacement, it also emphasized its beauty by surrounding it with mirrors and a mesmerizing interior design for all to see.
The management and the incredibly talented Chuck Chewning who completed Gritti’s restoration in 2013, did not only want you to gaze at the chef d’oeuvre; they wanted you to immerse yourself into the atmospheric colors, sights, trends and indulge yourself in an ambiance where you would long to chill for a moment.
Sit down on the cozy and authentic sofas and chairs, take a deep breath, relax and let your imagination flow to your favorite historical era where you would not have to worry about a thing; just make sure to seize the day and have fun as much as possible.
While I emerged from my daydream, I realized it was time for a drink, so I left Andrea’s living room and directed myself towards Gritti Terrace. When looking at the sky, my rain radars advised me that, contrary to some guests, I would not want to defeat the upcoming storm, so I sat in the cozy and intimate Longhi Bar.
The bar offers a great opportunity to escape Venice’s crowds as it is welcoming and peaceful. You feel you stranded on a classy island on the Grand Canal where you can recover from the outside touristic world, wonder and wander around colorful paintings, handcrafted Murano chandeliers and beautifully set tables.
But more than that, I truly understood the meaning of the saying the customer is king. I witnessed how guests, who made up their minds to enjoy the last minutes of the fleeing sun on the terrace, were gracefully and quickly assisted by the staff when the purchasing clouds started to overtake the Venetian sky and turn it into a concerto of bombastic, loud thunder and fulminating tempest.
Everyone and everything was taken care of in such a smooth and discreet way that even the seemingly hard to please clients could not find the right moment to complain as it would have been completely irrelevant.
This scene and so many others make you understand why, for instance, Christian Dior, Ernest Hemingway and Elisabeth Taylor loved visiting this piece of earthly paradise which is an absolute must!