I know it's the fashionable thing to absolutely hate Venice - the crowds, the smell, the very difficultness of it all - but I can't help myself. I'm just not very cool - I love it. Granted I've never been in the high season - my memories of the city are early, misty winter mornings and empty, snaking alleyways. Pink, Turner-esque sunsets setting the city aglow in the evenings until a dense, chilling fog settles over the lagoon. See how ridiculous it makes me sound? That's Venice - it is ridiculous, and you have to just embrace the sinking, sea-soaked, sordid mess of it all and be overcome with the sheer weight of history and intrigue around every corner.
It may be a circle of hell in high summer, but I think in late January it's utterly magical, a place outside of time, to escape and hide out for a few days in a fantasy of gilded opulence. And next time I visit, I'm more than a little tempted to stay here...
...In the hotel Ca Maria Adele, a stylishly re-imagined 16th century palazzo in central but civilised Dorsoduro.
I can't say that this whole place doesn't terrify me slightly. Well, more than slightly. You just know there's a dwarf in that red bedroom waiting to jump out and stab someone. Also that doge fellow on the wall is clearly up to no good. But who cares! It's so ridiculously dark and opulent, so unabashedly straight out of the Venice of the imagination, that I think it's fabulous. Look at all those dark corners and shadow-throwing lights! It looks incredible - though I'm sure a weekend would be plenty of time to enjoy its charms. Any longer and you'd need to recover with a long respite somewhere bright white and minimalist to cleanse the senses of all that velvet.
top photo via pinterest