One of the greater pleasures of Venice these days is witnessing the revival of its Grand Canal frontage as one long-abandoned palazzo after the other is spruced up and repurposed for an appreciative Millennial audience.
The former Palazzo Bacchini delle Palme in the Santa Croce quarter has just emerged from an extensive two-year restoration as the 18-room Palazzo Venart. Just about every single square inch has been coaxed back into Technicolor life, the finished product a testament to the crack team of art historians and artisans, and antique experts from the Fondazione La Fenice.
The original wood and gold-leaf ceiling and terrazzo and ornate parquet floors set the scene, the restorers reimagining the Golden Age of Venice as set-pieces of silk walls, French court piano, swathes of brocade, and original tempera frescoes that are believed to have been inspired by the ones at the Palazzo Grassi.
There are modern touches, of course, not the least of which are the filigreed renderings of Venice’s emblem, the golden winged lion, and a cheerfully coloured abstract of the dome of Saint Mark’s Basilica in the hotel’s garden. In an adjoining private courtyard lined with magnolia trees, the two-Michelin starred Enrico Bartolini presides over the kitchen at Ristorante Glam, sending out regional treats like spaghetti with smoked eel and wild fennel, veal sweetbreads with local artichokes, and beetroot risotto.