La Dolce Vita: Venice

It was back to school yesterday with the weather to go with it. It’s back to blazers and cords (albeit bright fuchsia ones.) My only ode to summer was the choice of shoes.

It seems like months ago that I was sitting in the sunshine in Venice. Hard to believe it was only last week.

Ah Venice. Venice was the only place on my Italian getaway to which I’d been before. So I didn’t have to do many touristy things except take some photos.

Instead, I could have a long breakfasts from the hotel on the Grand Canal.

The first place I wanted to visit was the post-renovation Gritti Palace. If it’s good enough for Robbie Williams, it’s good enough for me. (He was staying there but, sadly, I did not see him.)

The renovation is gorgeous. I’d read about it in Architectural Digest but it’s even more splendid in reality. They have a lovely outdoor bar on the Grand Canal and it’s a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

They also have a lovely outdoor restaurant. Based on the golf-ball sized baroque pearls sported by some of my fellow diners, it seems to be a bit of a swish spot. I had tuna tartare, seafood pasta, and wine, always wine. As I was keeping to my austerity budget, I was please that the waiter sent over lots of little extras like wonderful shortbread cookies. Not a bad way to spend a better part of a day and night.

The shopping in Venice is surprisingly good. I didn’t remember that from my previous visit. I fell in love with this throw from Frette. I left it there but if you have a spare $18,000, it’s yours.

The fabrics at Bevilacqua were magnificent…

But my heart belongs to Fortuny. I bought a little evening bag there because it’s Venice and, austerity or no austerity, how could I not?

I’d been feeling a little overwhelmed at points on the trip and felt the need to get away from the crowds. And so I picked up the Cipriani phone at the San Marco docks and asked them to send out the pretty wooden speedboat to fetch us. You can do that, you know. And it’s splendid.

Cipriani is a little slice of paradise on the island of Guidecca. It’s outside of the hustle and bustle of Venice and you feel as though you are in the Caribbean.  Apparently, Casanova did his wooing in the gardens. It’s that lovely.

The hotel was officially closed as someone had booked out all of the rooms for a 50th birthday party (lucky devil!) But they are firm believers in hospitality and so they made up a little bar area in the garden just for us. Naturally, I ordered a Bellini. And for the first time in a while, I felt like I could breathe. Sitting in a sunny garden, overlooking Venice with a nice glass of Prosecco is highly restorative and if you are having a “I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers” moment, Cipriani does not disappoint.

After Venice, it was back to Rome for a few days of wandering. Whereas there was a time when I might have required an extra suitcase for my return, my purchases were modest but meaningful: a silk bag from Fortuny, gloves from Madova, a hair clip from Valentino, paper from Florence, a garnet cross from the Vatican, and a Chanel lipstick (Gabrielle, a nice true red) and YSL Lip Stain (Grenat Acrylique) from duty free.

Molto Bene!

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