Palazzina Grassi has a near-perfect location in the San Marco district, tucked behind a museum and an amble from the Accademia bridge: the Rialto and St Mark's Square are a 10-minute walk away, or two stops by waterbus in either direction.
Venice’s Marco Polo Airport is 16km away. This bustling mini-hub handles a range of flights from Europe, the Middle East and the US – and it's easy to reach the city from here. Approach Venice by crossing the lagoon: board an Alilaguna ferry (www.alilaguna.it) at the airport harbour – the Linea Arancio (orange line) takes you to the Sant'Angelo stop, just a few minutes' walk from the hotel, in around 40 minutes. Buy tickets ahead online, or from a ticket machine in the Arrivals hall. Alternatively, take a water taxi to the San Samuele stop, just a hundred yards from the hotel entrance - a private water taxi can be arranged at the airport for €120 for up to four people; or the hotel can arrange private luxury transfers on request (€180 each way: a luxury car transfer between the airport and the harbour, then a private water taxi). You might also consider arriving into Treviso Airport (www.trevisoairport.it), just 26km away, with a direct bus (www.atvo.it) link to Piazzale Roma in the city.
There are two main stations – Santa Lucia on the Canal, and Mestre on the mainland – both have excellent links across the country and beyond, via Trenitalia (www.trenitalia.com), including Rome, Milan and Paris; Verona is just one hour away. The Santa Lucia train station is 2.5km from the hotel: a water taxi can set sail to here (for €85), and from the station you can catch a vaporetto – on line two, to the San Samuele stop – to the hotel.
Unless you want to lock them up on an artificial island or long-stay carpark, leave the cars at home. The hotel is in the centre of Venice, where waterways rule, not roads.
The network of ACTV waterbuses (vaporetti) makes navigating Venice a doddle. You can buy tickets on board for cash, but you must tell the conductor you need to buy one as soon as you board, or face a hefty fine. Individual fares are quite expensive (€7.50 whether you travel one stop or the whole route), so buy one of the 24, 48, or 78-hour tourist tickets. They're great value, especially as they're valid on mainland buses, and on ferries to the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello. See www.actv.it for details.
Worth getting out of bed for
You're perfectly positioned here, yards from the San Samuele vaporetto stop and an enjoyable stroll from both the Rialto (to your north) and the Piazza San Marco (to your east). Right next door to the hotel, the neoclassical Palazzo Grassi has been transformed into a contemporary exhibition space by Gucci/Christie’s billionaire François Pinault. His own extraordinary collection is housed here and in the Punta della Dogana on the opposite bank. The 13th-century Santo Stefano church is in the neighbourhood, too. Short on time and no idea where to begin? Cross the canal via the Ponte dell'Accademia for a whirlwind art tour of Dorsoduro: the jewels of the Venetian Renaissance are displayed in the Accademia (including Giorgione's moving La Veueve); and a cherry-picked selection of modern masterpieces (including Picassos, Pollocks, Mondrians and more) illuminate Peggy Guggenheim's intimate former home at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.
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Three minutes away, Bacaro da Fiore (+39 041 523 5310) is a traditional trattoria that doubles as a cicchetteria, serving up snack-size portions of fried fish and veg. It’s a 15-minute walk to low-key-but-lovely Osteria di Santa Marina (+39 041 528 5239). Try the turbot ravioli in shellfish broth, scallop risotto and ice-cream macaroons. Take a boat out to Mazzorbo to dine on the freshest seasonal produce at Venissa Ristorante Ostello (+39 041 527 2281). The estate makes wine for its well-stocked cellar. For excellent Venetian food off the tourist-trodden path, try Osteria l’Orto dei Mori (+39 041 524 3677). Head next door to the Palazzo Grassi Café (+39 041 240 1337) for lunch by the canal.