The Lido and its beach…

A small veranda sheltered from the glaring sun, a sun-bed on the golden sand, the sea for a refreshing swim. What could be better than a beach to indulge in a moment of relaxation? Then, if that beach can be reached in a short time from one of the most extraordinary cities in the world, rich in history, art, natural beauties, and events… Well, there are no doubts, it is the Venice Lido beach.

Its tale began a long time ago, with the very first bathing establishments built on stilts over the sea: it was 1857. Success came soon and led to the first regular steamboat service which connected the island with Venice. Since then, that thin sandy barrier began to establish itself, entering the early Twentieth century within the top-tier of the most famous seaside resorts in the world.

Therefore large hotels opened on the seaside, the Des Bains and the Excelsior (inaugurated between 1900 and 1908), frequented during their history by famous people, such as the writer Thomas Mann, who was to describe its atmosphere in his famous novel “Death in Venice”.

The green island with fine golden sand was then enriched by buildings which renowned architects, exponents of the then emerging Art Nouveau style, re-interpreted in the most varied ways, in the Byzantine, neo-Romanesque, Gothic and neo-eclectic styles.

Its definitive consecration finally took place in the 1930s, with the birth of the Nicelli airport and the first ever scheduled flights to Venice, and the birth of two buildings, which were to become a symbol of the island, together with the two large hotels: the Cinema Palace and the Municipal Casino.

The Lido entered the modern era and soon also into collective imagery, thanks to the Film Festival, with its beach, which became an extraordinary stage on the seafront, where to be seen and to meet famous people.

Today many things have changed, the Casino building has stopped its activity, just like the fascinating Grand Hotel Des Bains, which is now waiting for a new reconfiguration in its use, and attendances have changed, no longer what they once were, but the Lido continues, albeit in a different way, to be an attraction. Both for its slightly retro atmosphere, both for its beach, on a par with the best along the Adriatic, still distinguished today by a well-kept beachline, safe waters and sea, awarded by a Blue Flag.

A well as being able to choose one of the sophisticated “cabins” at the Excelsior in white canvas and wood, which recall the early Twentieth century structures, those who wish to enjoy the beach a little, may also choose among the other opportunities offered, for example, by the Blue Moon complex (located at the end of the Gran Viale main street), or by the “ex Ciga” and “Venezia Spiagge” areas (located respectively on the right and on the left of the Gran Viale), all very central in respect to the boat-stops square at the island.

Other beaches may be added to these ones, all reachable on foot, right up to the farthest tips of the island, in the districts of San Nicolò and the Alberoni.

The step is short from the beach to the Film Festival, very short indeed, in our case.

A cult event on the island of the Lido and for worldwide Cinema, it is recurring as usual in the last days of the month, from Wednesday 29 August this year. Set up in what is now called the Cinema Citadel, stretching between the historic Cinema Palace and the brand new large square in front of  the Casino, it is now ready to welcome fans and professionals for an edition, the 75th, which once again, we are sure, will not fail to astonish. D.R.

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