When in Venice, we always stay at the beautiful, iconic Gritti Palace Hotel. Located on the Grand Canal, the Gritti is a fifteenth century building facing the breathtaking Santa Maria della Salute. Once the residence of Vatican ambassadors to the city, the Gritti is just a short walk from San Marco. The Gritti recently underwent a massive restoration and was closed for several years. This was a Herculean undertaking, the hotel was taken down to the studs, digging out the basement with an excavator and creating a waterproof barrier to prevent water from rising up under the hotel; during Acqua Alta.. Acqua Alta are the floods that happen in the fall and winter in Venice by a combination of high tide, rain and the Scirocco winds. Visitors and locals have to walk along three foot high boards that are set up throughout the city as elevated walkways and everyone wears high boots – you can buy them on the street!
Our friend Paolo, The General Manager, who personally oversaw every aspect of the magnificent restoration told us they installed a barrier around the perimeter of the hotel that they can raise when the water starts to rise. He showed us how it worked and it was fascinating to see. They had a record breaking Acqua Alta this past November and the Gritti was dry! The Gritti restoration was meticulous; each of its 82 rooms are individually decorated in the style befitting a Venetian palace. Exquisite Venetian Rubelli fabrics are on the walls of the rooms, hand laid mosaic tiles form beautiful, intricatepatterns on the floors. The gorgeous, Venetian lamps, sconces and chandeliers are a sight to see as well as all the exquisite antiques in every room. The stunning marble in the bath is unique and unusual, perfectly matched – I have never seen anything like it before.
This past week, on our last visit to Venice and the Gritti, we inquired about the beautiful Venetian chandeliers and sconces in our room, were these original or reproductions made for the restoration. Paolo told us they were originals that had been painstakingly restored by Galliano Ferro in Murano and arranged for us to visit them. He said that each chandelier and sconce had to be photographed, delivered to the island of Murano, re-wired, repaired if need be, and put back together again, There were hundreds of chandeliers and sconces involved in the restoration. – what a huge undertaking!
Murano is where the finest Venetian handblown glass comes from for over 700 years and Galliano Ferro has the most beautiful, traditional Venetian chandeliers; stunning colors with incredible details, leaves, drops, rings, unusual beading. We were thrilled to find this special source and bought many beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces.
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