FRIDAY AFTERNOON / EVENING
STAY: at the Aman Canal Grande. Opened in June 2013 in a fabulously converted Palazzo, the new Aman is a triumph of design and comfort. It’s unbelievably gorgeous both in the beautifully redecorated grand public rooms and more intimately in one of the 24 supremely comfortable bedrooms and suites. (Ask for a room overlooking the Grand Canal or if you’re going to propose- the Tiepolo suite.)
We can’t recommend the hotel more highly. A wonderful new addition to Venice.
PRE-DINNER DRINKS: head towards the Rialto and then on to San Marco for pre-dinner drinks on the terrace of The Monaco. We disregarded our own advice and went to Harry’s Bar next door. Perhaps it was a quiet or just an off night but we really shouldn’t have bothered. It felt like a sad relic of the past with overpriced Bellinis and with their famed cheese and ham toasted sandwiches – inedible. Avoid.
DINNER: Corte Sconta near the Arsenale. A seriously good but informal restaurant.
GETTING BACK: take the vaporetto Line 1 up the Grand Canal and get off at San Silvestro 2 minutes walk from the Aman.
BREAKFAST: breakfast in the Aman garden overlooking the Grand Canal. The garden was created when the owners of the Palazzo tore down the building that occupied the site to afford themselves a view of the canal. It’s an oasis of calm where you can sit and watch the world go by or at least tourists being serenaded in their cruising flotillas of gondolas.
WALK: turn left out of the hotel and head for the Rialto market a few minutes away where in the Saturday morning market you will see a stunning display of fish. Then head back the way you came and walk towards the Accademia. You’ll probably get lost but that’s part of the pleasure. Try to find Campo Santa Margerita and have coffee there or as we did square-hop and have coffee everywhere. When you reach Campo Santo Stephano, the last square before the Accademia bridge, you’ll be ready to shop.
CULTURE: once you’ve crossed the Accademia Bridge, you have several nearby options including the Peggy Guggenheim museum, the Salute church, and new to us the new Punta Della Dogana contemporary art collection, which with the Palazzo Grassi is part of the Francois Pinault Foundation. The converted customs building is magnificent and a tour of the collection is highly recommended.
LUNCH: walk down to the Zattere which is a few minutes from the Punta Dogana and lunch outside on the terrace at Linea d’Ombra or less memorably, further up the Zattere opposite the old sugar factory now a Hilton Hotel, at the Riviera. Lunch at Linea d’Ombra is excellent. Try the thick spaghetti with blue lobster.
AFTERNOON: walk back to the Aman via the School of San Rocco or more lazily take the gondola crossing opposite the Gritti Palace hotel and walk to the Rialto via St Mark’s square. Then collapse.
DINNER: have dinner at Antice Carampane, probably the best restaurant in Venice. It’s pretty impossible to find but the brilliant concierge at the Aman accompanied us on the tortuous 2min walk there saving what might otherwise have been ages wandering around as if an extra in a rerun of Don’t Look Now.
The food is sublime starting with paper cornets of fried fish which you can enjoy whilst choosing what not to order and then the feast – the highlights of which were the seasonal soft shell crab, the scallops, and divine pasta. Not to be missed.
POST DINNER DRINKS: head back to the hotel and enjoy wine, grappa and coffee in the Palazzo’s Library: an extraordinarily beautiful room.
SUNDAY MORNING: with retail opportunities thankfully limited, it’s back to wandering and getting delightfully lost and thoughts of returning to the airport.