Belle - - Contents - Pro­duc­tion + words JEAN WRIGHT

A daz­zling movie-star wed­ding at theA­man Venice, in an his­toric palazzo on the Canal Grande, put the luxe ho­tel on the map.

The Aman Venice ho­tel, lo­cated on the Canal Grande, is tted out in con­tem­po­rary spirit within an ex­quis­ite Re­nais­sance palazzo, in keep­ing with the Vene­tian ex­pres­sion, com’era, dov’era – as it was, where it was. Its set­ting, in the UNESCO World Her­itage ‘ oat­ing city’, looks just as it must have in the era when painted by one of its most fa­mous sons, Vene­tian artist Il Canaletto (1697-1768).

The Canal Grande is lined with palaces and palaz­zos dat­ing from the 12th to 18th cen­turies and built in Vene­tian gothic, baroque and re­nais­sance styles. Each out­do­ing the other in lux­ury, they were built for show and en­ter­tain­ing by rich traders, mer­chants and pow­er­ful fam­i­lies when those of note de­sired a palazzo on the Canal Grande.

Times have changed since heiress Peggy Guggen­heim hosted her cir­cle of artists at a palazzo she bought in the 1940s. The days of ser­vants and ex­trav­a­gant soirees reached a pin­na­cle with the leg­endary masked ball hosted in 1951 by wealthy Charles de Bestegui at Palazzo Labia.

In 2013, one of the nest jew­els on the Canal Grande, the 16th-cen­tury Palazzo Pa­padopoli, be­came the el­e­gant 24-room Aman Venice. A year af­ter its open­ing, Amer­i­can ac­tor Ge­orge Clooney booked out the en­tire ho­tel for his wed­ding to Bri­tish lawyer Amal Ala­mud­din. Mil­lions watched as im­ages of the daz­zling event, and its stun­ning venue, were beamed via var­i­ous me­dia around the world.

To ar­rive at the Aman Venice is like en­ter­ing an im­mensely lux­u­ri­ous pri­vate home which, in fact, it partly is.

To ar­rive at the Aman Venice is like en­ter­ing an im­mensely lux­u­ri­ous pri­vate home which, in fact, it partly is. The ho­tel’s launch glides into a dis­creet oat­ing dock and guests en­ter, as did Ge­orge and Amal Clooney, through the main porta d’ac­qua door on the canal side and into a lofty ceilinged re­cep­tion hall. From there, an im­pres­sive stair­case leads up to the pi­ano nobile, the grand­est and main oor of a palazzo.

Th­ese days, guests are more likely to en­counter the own­ers of the palazzo than the Clooneys. That’s be­cause Count Gib­erto Ar­riv­abene Valenti Gon­zaga, who is a di­rect de­scen­dant of the Pa­padopoli fam­ily, his wife Bianca and their ve chil­dren still live on the build­ing’s top oor. The fam­ily had lived there since 1989 but while the cost of up­keep was pro­hib­i­tive Gib­erto didn’t want to sell and the fam­ily de nitely did not want to move. Then, Adrian Zecha, the founder of the Aman re­sorts and ho­tel group, met with the fam­ily and a so­lu­tion was agreed upon. Aman would rent, re­fur­bish and man­age the build­ing as a ho­tel while the fam­ily re­tained own­er­ship and lived there. It was a win for one and all, in­clud­ing ho­tel guests, who feel they are in a pri­vate home of im­mense lux­ury, as well as for Aman, con­sid­er­ing the build­ing’s sump­tu­ous ar­chi­tec­ture and ex­quis­ite in­te­ri­ors.

Built in 1550 for the Coc­cina fam­ily who were wealthy mer­chants and sea­far­ers, the palazzo changed hands sev­eral times un­til, in 1864, the im­mensely wealthy Pa­padopoli fam­ily from Corfu bought, re-named and ren­o­vated it. They cre­ated a sump­tu­ous ball­room on the pi­ano nobile in the neo-re­nais­sance and ro­coco styles to impress and en­ter­tain Venice’s high so­ci­ety of the day. They in­stalled Mu­rano glass chan­de­liers, Vene­tian glass mir­rors, lav­ish mould­ings and fres­coes, adding to the fab­u­lous fres­coes by mas­ter painter Tiepolo and a fourth oor li­brary de­signed in baroque/ro­coco style that had al­ready been com­mis­sioned by pre­vi­ous own­ers.

Un­der the di­rec­tion of Jean-Michel Gaf­fey of Den­nis­ton Ar­chi­tects, who of­ten works with Aman, th­ese ex­quis­ite and or­nate pieces have all been re­stored or re­fur­bished. In keep­ing with tra­di­tional style, Gaf­fey used silk in sub­tle shades for wall­cov­er­ings and cur­tains by Rubelli – the Vene­tian tex­tile com­pany whose show­room and ar­chives dat­ing from the 1800s are housed in a 15th-cen­tury palazzo on the Canal Grande. Adding a con­tem­po­rary spirit within the or­nate, ex­quis­ite in­te­ri­ors, the fur­ni­ture is by B&B Italia and Max­alto.

The Aman has two gar­dens, un­usual in Venice. One over­looks the canal, while the rear gar­den leads out to the nar­row streets of the old San Polo dis­trict, the Rialto Bridge and all the gems hid­den in the nar­row streets. But that’s another side of Venice – and another story.

For more, go to­sorts/aman-venice.


This page Lined with rows of palaz­zos and cen­turies-old build­ings, the Canal Grande winds its way through the heart of the oat­ing city.

This page, clock­wise from top Con­tem­po­rary Max­alto fur­ni­ture against fa­mous fres­coes in the pi­ano nobile lounge. The main din­ing room has high arched win­dows that open to a bal­cony. The 16th-cen­tury Palazzo Pa­padopili – now Aman Venice ho­tel – glows in the early evening light.

This page, clock­wise from top le The li­brary’s orig­i­nal wal­nut book­cases are lled with rare books and walls cov­ered in 300-year-old leather. One of 24 bed­rooms. Stairs lead up to the The

pi­ano nobile. Op­po­site page palazzo’s main oor, the pi­ano nobile, is now a din­ing room, lounge and blue-themed bar.

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