From the sublime to the ridiculous…Our Italian adventure part 2!

Leaving the tranquil calm of Lake Como, we took a 3 hour drive to Venice (Venezia). Hopping on board a vaporetto, we travelled up the Grand Canal which, at times, felt more like a confused motorway with the amount of boats that seemed to dash in front of one another – removal companies, delivery firms and hoards of tourists using the river to it’s full capacity.

We disembarked at San Giglio and made our way to our hotel – AD Place. Tucked away between the winding canal and narrow cobbled streets, the hotel had an unimposing entrance that, without a map, you may well walk past without realising it.

The entrance hall was swathed in heavy Moroccan style fabrics covering the walls and the floor was adourned with lanterns of all shapes and sizes. At night, the candlelight added to an already romantic setting.

Climbing up the uneven stairs, you could only imagine what secret those steps and walls could share, even beneath the bright purple décor. After having to take our luggage up several flights of stairs in Lake Como, I was intrigued as to how this hotel would avoid it without a lift – the answer was in the chairlift type contraption with hugged the staircase!

There was a small bar area with extravagant silver sofas and a fantastic Marilyn Monroe coffee table. This was also where the simple breakfast was served each morning.

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The hotel also benefits from a small, almost bijou, roof terrace. We were fortunate to have this to ourselves on both afternoons – watching the sun disappear behind the red tiled rooftops whilst enjoying a bottle of wine and reading our books was the perfect end to the hustle and bustle of the day.

Entering our room, we were greeted by a bold purple and green colour scheme – not something you would naturally expect behind the traditional brick walls. A large room with double aspect windows which looked down onto the canal, I realised I was in Venice when we were treated to a verse of Nessun Dorma by a passing gondola which resonated up the passageway filling our room.

A four poster bed dressed in voile dominated the room and I’m pleased to share that the bed was covered in cushions of varying textures and a throw

IMG_3543A large white wardrobe and matching dressing table were practical and standard but the dressing room chair was just divine – a traditional button back in lime green and woodwork painted a beautiful lilac.

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The windows were draped in a heavy purple velvet and the walls were covered in a purple and white stripe fabric. I realised during our stay the walls were padded, presuming that Italian preservation orders don’t allow wallpaper but this added to the eccentricity.

The table lamps and floor lamps were dressed in a gorgeous deep purple voile with crystal accents which reflected across the room – not particularly practical if you want to read at night but I guess its a good job I had my Kindle Paperwhite!

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The bathroom was a reasonable size, although the shower was a little cosy compared to the luxury we had in Lake Como.

The piece de la resistance had to be the Granny Smith apple place on a wall bracket. Not obvious at first as so much of the room takes your attention but a bizarre addition that made us both smile…and we aren’t even sure why.

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I am sure that this hotel’s décor would not be to everyone’s taste and some may seek the more Venetian style extravagance but I personally swooned at their ability to mix the bold and brash with the traditional. Venice has an ability to embrace a style that most would not dare and for that, I admire this beautiful city that may one day be forever lost.

x PB x

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Getting lost in Venice

I recently returned from a trip to Italy where one of our stops was Venice for a couple of days.

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With our friend, Google Maps, Mr PB and I spent most of those 2 days wandering the narrow streets and absorbing ourselves in this amazing city (it also felt, at times, that we were just trying to escape the hoards of tourists around St Marks Square!)

Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada and Gucci lined the narrow streets. Have designer brands become so needed that they have to try and draw you in in one of the worlds smallest cities that is just rammed with tourists?! A coffee can sometimes reach €15 so my eyes water at the thought of how much the designers inflate their prices.

Imaging Shakespeare walk the cobbled paths, it was hard to understand how the City has just become a tourism haven and very little else. I appreciate that all cities have to have their tourism income, but the city felt like it emptied each night and the hoards returned around 11am the following morning…….I guess it made dinner enjoyable without having to queue for a table!

However, on a positive note, it was whilst getting lost, in between the many delicious (expensive) ice creams we consumed, that I stumbled across a shop and my faith was restored! No shop name, no bright lights or promotions plastered over the windows. A shop with the most stunning selection of pens and wax seals presented in the most unobtrusive, blink and you miss it style. It would have been rude not to investigate further….research purposes of course!

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“Bonjouro. Lei parla inglese?”

“Si”

And with that, we perused the shelves with plenty of oohs and aahs and eventually The Pineapple & Button Co. gift set was purchased!

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The set compromises of a glass fountain pen made from the Venetian Murano glass. There is no nib to the pen. The ink draws up into the end of the pen and writes beautifully. You would think that without a nib, the quality would be poor but it certainly isn’t. I obviously chose a teal ink.

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The set also comes with blotter, wax and stamp. The stamp is also Murano glass and matches the pen almost perfectly. I haven’t yet used the seal but will share results when I do.

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If you are visiting Venice, the shop is called Frizzi e Lazzi, San Marco 818, Venezia. I highly recommend a visit.

so, for all of its quirks and, at times, frustrations, Venice is an incredible place with an atmosphere that cannot be matched anywhere that I have visited. Whilst you feel that you are constantly on a film set or even visiting The Venetian in Las Vegas, I would recommend anyone to visit – one day, this place could be a lost City…..just make sure you take dosh and plenty of it!

In my next blogs, I will be reviewing the 2 hotels we stayed in during our stay – Lake Como and Venice, so watch this space!

x PB x

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