Thursday, August 16, 2012

Venice, Italy and the Palazzo Pisani

Venice, Italy, Grand Canal
Venice... the Grand Canal
Timeless, magical, historical, and on the proper occasion, positively romantic.  With miles of winding canals, multitudes of bridges and even more back alleys in which to lose yourself, Venice is indeed the secret ingredient dreams are made of.

Leaving San Diego early on the morning of Liv's birthday, some 16+ hours later our Boeing 767 touched gracefully down in a different world at Venice's Marco Polo airport.  Stretching our cramped limbs and attempting to brush the sleepiness from our bodies, we collected the over-packed luggage and our tired group made way for the water taxi stand.

Rialto Bridge, Venice, Italy, Grand Canal
Rialto Bridge from water taxi
Boarding the sleek water taxi, our hearts began to fly as adrenaline woke our jet lagged minds like triple espressos on a tired morning.  Within no time, the four of us were standing at the back of the taxi in pure awe of the majesty of Venice's Grand Canal.  Nearly like something out of Disney's Epcot Center or the Las Vegas Venetian, Venice almost didn't seem real.

Vaporettos passed filled with camera toting tourists, restaurants bordering the canal found couples enjoying late morning pastries and espressos, gondoliers tidied their gondolas for a days work, and water taxis zipped skillfully in between it all.

In my research for our time in Venice I remember a tidbit regarding the homes, or palaces in particular, of the city.  Apparently the rule was to build like your neighbor, but no better than your neighbor.  As such, much of Venice resembles the rest of Venice, bringing a beautiful mosaic of color, sculptures, columns and flower box lined windows to life.  In essence, pure magic.

Palazzo Pisani, Venice, Italy
Palazzo Pisani - middle building with the flags
Passing under the Accademia Bridge, or Ponte dell'Accademia, our taxi suddenly veered left, slowed and entered a small canal.  Stopping just meters beyond the canal entrance, a foot bridge appeared and was lowered, a hand extended and after a few steps I found myself standing in history.

The Palazzo Pisani, my home for the next 24 hours, remains more than a boutique hotel along the Grand Canal.  With history dating back hundreds of years, the Palazzo at one time belonged to the family of the 114th Doge of Venice, Alvise Pisani.

Stepping into rooms lined with paintings and frescoes depicting the history of the Palazzo and Venice itself, the architecture is simply breathtaking with detail.  Mirrors lining our bedroom were said to be original, and I'm guessing date back to the 18th century when the Palazzo "added on" after purchasing the building fronting the Grand Canal.

Palazzo Pisani, Venice, Italy
Doge Pisaani and the Palazzo
Looking up, Liv exclaimed in wonder while gazing at the detail of the ceilings, and again as she found a secret door, which just happened to lead to our bathroom.

Staying in the Doge Suite, our family was treated to a majestic sitting room complete with floor to ceiling windows opening to balconies overlooking the Grand Canal below.  A separate bedroom, where it has been said the likes of Bill Gates have stayed, and a hidden, modern bathroom completed our suite of rooms giving us a taste of old Venice.  Liv later mentioned that she had fallen asleep that evening wondering who else may have enjoyed these rooms over the last few hundred years.

Greeted as welcomed guests, Nicolo provided a tour of the Palazzo public rooms while giving a running commentary on the history of the building.  His pride in Venice and Venitian history shines in his face as fact after fact slips from his tongue, and the Palazzo seems to come alive.

Doge Suite, Suite del Doge, Palazzo Pisani, Venice Italy
Suite del Doge sleeping arrangements - beds added for the kids overlooking the Grand Canal and master bedroom
Doge Suite, Suite del Doge, Palazzo Pisani, Venice Italy
Suite del Doge sitting area, complete with very, very tired teenager
Bringing us back to our room he smiled and offered, "How about a taste of Prosecco?", to which my husband and I responded, "That would be lovely!".

Palazzo Pisani, Venice Italy, Prosecco
Toasting the beginning our our trip, our sleepy family smiled and headed to the balconies overlooking the Grand Canal to spend some time taking in the Venetian magic.  As the afternoon sun began its descent, so did the kid's eyelids, and it wasn't long before I was awake alone.

Checking email, my mind drifted, and soon a distant voice reached through our open windows.  Notes of deep baritone drifted over the canal and drew me once again out onto the balcony where the magic continued.

Groups of gondolas made their way leisurely up the canal for a view of the Accademia Bridge, and then turned, as if in formation, right in front of my balcony.  With the last sips of Prosecco in my glass, I smiled for the cameras as the gondola riders snapped their pics, and raised my glass to the magic that is Venezia.

Welcome to Venezia!  (He really gets going around the 17-22 second point)

Rising early, our bodies attempted to adjust to a new time zone, and we found ourselves the first to arrive in the Grand Lounge that is now the dining room where breakfast at the Palazzo is no stingy affair.  Small dining tables set with silver and linens surround a large main table laden with treats.

Palazzo Pisani, Venice Italy, Breakfast
Breakfast Room
Liv's eye immediately spotted the trays of filled croissants and pastries, while my son quickly headed for the breads, meats and cheeses.  Bowls of fresh fruit along with cereals and an array juices rounded out the prepared offerings, and within moments, the beautiful Fatima, an employee who actually worked for the last remaining member of the Pisani Family, arrived to take orders of coffees, teas and cooked to order eggs.

Palazzo Pisani, Breakfast, Venice Italy

Fueled by the fabulous Palazzo breakfast and an espresso or two, the Jewel of the Adriatic awaited.  Walking shoes on, cameras in hand, we pocketed our old fashioned key and headed out to begin our own Venetian adventure.

keys, Palazzo Pisani, Suite del Doge, Venice Italy


  1. Thank you for the beautiful pictures of Venice--truly a magical city. Sounds like you and the fam had a wonderful time, and how could you not, right? :) Would love to return someday.

    Have a great weekend, Kim!

  2. This is really wonderful -- we've not been yet because we've been saving it for a trip just my husband and I will make next spring. I can't wait! Have a fabulous time :)

  3. Beautiful pictures of a beautiful country. I've not been to Italy but really looking forward to being there. It's been on my to visit list since long. Thanks for sharing such amazing pictures!

  4. Sounds like the beginning of an amazing trip you all will never forget! That room is just incredible!

  5. That's crazy amazing. Would you like to adopt an adult child that cooks, cleans and scrubs toilets. You'd have to bring her along on your vacations though. I did hear from a little birdie I may be able to score tickets to the festival. Send me a message if you are going.
    Have a great weekend.

  6. I may have to quit reading your blog b/c I am truly green with envy! I have wanted to visit here ever since I read 1000 Days in Venice. Truly a unforgettable trip you had! Thanks for sharing it with us less fortunate travelers! :)

  7. Going to Venice would be exciting, i bet you had a great time. Were you able to have any food items there with avocado? Happy Weekend :-)

  8. You did an awesome job writing such a detailed and useful travel guide.

  9. Nice article. I visited Venice last August again. Around San Marco it is so crowded. So I decided to wake up 5:30 am. I had a beautiful sunrise. The light is wonderfull on its canals and bridges. So peaceful and magical. That morning I made around 100 pictures. This is a great thing to do in Venice Italy.

  10. Holidays.... Lovely!!! I'd love to see some of your sunrise photos. One day I'm going to do the same, but my family including teens was not so keep on an early morning rising. That's what future trips are for though!! So happy you had a wonderful morning.


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