“From nothing can become anything

Secret Venice revealed on The Gritti Palace

It was an hour moncler outlet woodbury into our private speedboat tour of the islands surrounding Venice when the true purpose cheap moncler coats mens of the city’s “must do” gondola rides suddenly occurred to me: by confining millions of slow moving tourists to the congested waterways immediately surrounding the Grand Canal, they cleverly ensure the lagoons and island villages that ring the city centre are reserved for the enjoyment of solitude seeking locals. (And now, and perhaps a touch begrudgingly, also for a few privileged visitors like me.)

A friend and I were sailing aboardIl Doge, a beautifully crafted Riva Aquariva boat,on one of the new tours the grande dame Gritti moncler outlet online Palace hotel is offering. With this recently acquired vessel, the property promises to provide even the uk moncler sale most frequent visitor to Venice with an entirely new perspective on the destination, and its launch is the latest in a long line of enhancements the property has inaugurated since it reopened after a 15 month long, 35 million refurbishment in 2013.

Now with the only Acqua di Parma spa in Venice; a swathe of new suites including a striking, art crammed abode named after regular visitor Peggy Guggenheim (whose eponymous art gallery stands directly across the Grand Canal); and a chic new waterfront Riva Lounge, the Gritti is again asserting its position as one of the most decadent hotels in Italy’s most magical city. Despite discount moncler jackets some inconsistencies with service occasionally clipped on the hotel moncler outlet floor and consistently inattentive during meals taken on the Gritti Terrace, where spectacular views of the Santa Maria della Salute church offer a phenomenally handsome distraction the innate grandeur of this property is best moncler jackets without question moncler kids .

That sense of sophisticationis consolidated further aboard Il Doge, resplendent in mahogany and white leather and a vessel that reliably turns heads even when all around it are architectural marvels of unrivalled elegance. As fellow guests paused over breakfast on the terrace, we stepped from the Grand Canal facing Riva Lounge and onto the Riva’s teak deck, greeted our Venetian captain and guide Marco and were off.

Though trips on the boat can be tailored to guests’ preferences, a number of tried and tested itineraries cater discretely to the needs cheap moncler jackets mens of casual sightseers, would be historians and nature lovers. On a personalised adaptation of the hotel’s ‘classic excursion’ tour, we were to make our way to the island of Murano, but first Marco promised to show us “another world 10 minutes from St Mark’s Square.”

We sped forward with Marco throwing in a few superfluous but invigorating tight turns for good measure and on to Le Vignole. Once known to every foreign tourist, this isolated island was home to Venice’s first international airport from the 1920s to ’40s. In its place today stands an army base and a patchwork of homes; drifting by, we saw families doze on boat decks, elderly locals convene on shaded pavements and scatterings of teens swim in moncler sale online waters washed clean (enough) by the incoming tide. We’d found rural Italy almost in the shadow of St Mark’s Tower.

It was then onwards to the island of Murano, a centre for the production of glass since the 13th century but with a heritage that is increasingly under threat. With some 20 years’ experience required to become a master moncler outlet sale glassblower, fewer of the region’s youth are pursuing a career in the craft and the number of producers is diminishing.

We entered the factory and showrooms of the 70 year old, family uk moncler outlet owned Cenedese, a Murano glass manufacturer that employs only 25 people but is one of the three biggest producers left on the island, to see the process for ourselves. There, in a warehouse entirely unchanged since 1946, two men stationed by a glowing furnace morphed fistfuls of sand into a molten orb, which was in turn moulded into a delicate vase of icy blue. From start to finish the alchemy had taken just 10 minutes.”From nothing can become anything,” said our host as he gestured to a bowl of fine sand placed on a nearby table.

Back on Il Doge, we sailed onwards to the island of Sant’Erasmo, “the vegetable garden of Venice”. Should the menu of a fine dining restaurant in Venice reference ‘locally sourced vegetables’ chances are they came from here; Orto di Venezia wine, served at the Gritti Palace’s Club del Doge restaurant, comes from a Sant’Erasmo vineyard; and during hunting season, some of the 300 or so residents of the island shoot ducks from their bedroom windows. Pointing out a local man plodding through the shallow waters, “fishing clams for this evening’s pasta”, Marco told us that “not many people understand the world we have around Venice.”

I moncler sale was obliged to agree. Despite having visited Venice numerous times before, I had never before considered making thejourney to Burano, about 30 minutes from St Mark’s Square moncler outlet store by private boat. As we glided towards its leaning tower, moncler uk outlet Marco told us of a technicolour island with each dainty building painted another vibrant colour. We docked and rambled through the miniscule island’s near empty side streets, by a hodgepodge of centuries old fishermen’s houses in lilac and red, pale blue, emerald green and blazing moncler outlet prices yellow.

Such an unexpected, uplifting spectacle, and another Venetian time capsule we were able to moncler womens jackets drink in at leisure at the cheap moncler sale canal moncler online store side Trattoria al Gatto Nero. A simple, 70 year old fish restaurant, it was here we concluded our tour with a lazy, wine fuelled lunch taken at leisure: to start, an abundant seafood platter laden with parmesan encrusted moncler sale outlet scallops and delicate mantis prawns a local speciality; later, lobster with the perfect tagliatelle and to finish homemade tiramisu and creamy, sweet mascarpone with crumbly biscotti.

After having so many mediocre meals in Venice over the years, being told of this restaurant felt as though a valuable secret had been shared. Equally cheap moncler jackets delighted withtheir dining experience were the couple beside us, regular visitors who had returned to Venice and specifically to this much loved trattoria as the spot in moncler usa which to spend their 50th wedding anniversary monclerdownjacket . Back by the Grand Canal, the tour groups tilting through the city centre by gondola were none the wiser to this other world.

Rooms at The Gritti Palace hotel(+39 041 794611)start at 528 (455). A half cheap moncler jackets womens day private tour about Il Doge, lasting four hours and accommodating up to six passengers, costs 1,200; a full day tour costs 2,200.