Venice, the capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region, is built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. It has no roads, just canals – including the Grand Canal thoroughfare – lined with Renaissance and Gothic palaces. The central square, Piazza San Marco, contains St. Mark’s Basilica, which is tiled with Byzantine mosaics, and the Campanile bell tower offering views of the city’s red roofs.
Long abandoned on the edge of the Grand Canal, with its own front garden (most unusual here), the Palazzo Bacchini delle Palme dates back to the 15th century. Owned successively by the Vitturi and Giustiniani families, Francesco Pini Bey, Amelia Richetti (whose daughter married Edmondo Bacchini delle Palme), it was acquired and given a two-year restoration and renovation by the group LDC/Luxury Dreams Culture, who spared no expense and secured every talent to restore the palazzo’s original lustre. Nothing showy, mind, just pure historical elegance and the charm of a prestigious aristocratic home. In Italy, the portfolio of LDC’s eminently discreet owners also incudes establishments just outside Florence (Villa Ortiglia) and in Rome, Asti, and Perugia. This 5-star boutique hotel with only fourteen rooms and four suites puts them right up there in the bustling firmament of Venetian luxury hostelries.
This fantastic fragment of the Venetian past, owned by the Codognato family, has been at the same address since 1866, when the Venetian Republic joined the Kingdom of Italy. Since then, the customer list has been a veritable who’s who. This jewellery house is known for having created an altar tabernacle in silver for St Mark’s Basilica and for having patrons as diverse as Diaghilev, Princess Claude of France, Coco Chanel and Maurice Barrès. It also designed some of the 20th century’s most remarkable pieces of jewellery, including the serpent bracelet given by Richard Burton to Elizabeth Taylor and especially the celebrated Moretto, a brooch depicting the head of a Moor wrapped in a turban studded with diamonds – it was given by Aristotle Onassis to Jackie Kennedy and later by Luchino Visconti to Silvana Mangano, and Hemingway described it in his novel Across the River and Into the Trees. An enlightened collector and worthy heir of this remarkable dynasty, Attilio Codognato presents contemporary creations in this historic family store, alongside rare and precious objects that he finds all over the world: a Fabergé perfume burner, 15th-century cameos, original Tiffany jewellery and so on.
Ristorante Quadri & Quadrino
The eternal rival of the Florian, the Quadri was long a political stronghold where supporters of the resistance to the Napoleonic and then Austrian occupier met. Buried beneath the arcades of the Procuratie Vecchie, it was acquired at the end of the 18th century by Giorgio Quadri, and quickly became an historic institution, largely thanks to the way it prepared Turkish coffee. A few centuries later, the Quadri has recovered its reputation (even for its terrace) due to the very agreeable bon-vivant restaurateurs Massimiliano Alajmo and Raffaele Alajmo, who also run the star-studded restaurants Le Calandre and Il Calendrino in Padua, the La Montecchia, the Caffè Stern in Paris, and the Dissapore in Milan where they have opened a new café-restaurant. The Alajmo brothers also gained the concession in Venice for the AMO café-bar inside the walls of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi. In Piazza San-Marco, the Quadri spreads its assets, starting from the ground floor, with the Quadrino, jade green and illuminated with stucco garlands, where you can lunch on a club sandwich or a scartosso di pesce in a setting revamped by Philippe Starck, keeping an eye open for the Massimo Lunardon glass table. Next door is the ABC quadri, a coffee counter to sip an espresso in piedi. On the first floor, the historic salons have been revamped by Starck with plenty of gimmicks and malicious winks. In the medallions for example the heads of the two Alajmos have replaced the original seigneurial profiles.
Giorgio Mastinu Fineu Art
This cultivated and cosmopolitan architect, who holds the archives of Luigi Nono and Arnold Schoenberg, is certainly the most refined and focused antiques dealer in Venice. His two tiny windows reveal a learned aggregation of curiosities, a treasury of small marvels: drawings, watercolours, prints, posters, books and objects by Italian artists such as Depero, De Pisis, De Chirico, Arturo Martini, Morandi, Campigli, Tancredi and Vedova, and foreigners including Matisse, Léger, Cocteau, Tzara, Dubuffet, Fautrier and Hockney. The choice of photographers is also excellent – Premoli, Mula, Monti, Ghirri – with plenty to please international collectors, whom Mastinu regularly invites to his installations, whether of his latest discoveries or of works that excite him, like Dubuffet’s eleven lithographs, Les Murs (1945), or the fifteen rare lithographs by Emilio Vedova. Unique.
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