The hotels in Venice which can leave their Guest speechless are many.
There is one, however, which distinguishes itself more than the others due to its history and glamour. It is the iconic Danieli Hotel, one of the worldwide symbols of Venetian hospitality.
Overlooking the spectacular scenario of Saint Mark’s Basin, a few steps from the ancient political and religious heart of the city represented by the almost adjacent Ducal Palace, it occupies what once used to be the ancient dwelling of the Dandolo family, which had it built in the 14th century.
The residence over the ages of noble families such as the Grittis, the Mocenigos and the Nanis, during those centuries it was the setting for extraordinary events such as the election of the King of Hungary and Bohemia in 1530 and of a famous wedding reception in 1629, for which the Rape of Proserpine musical drama by Claudio Monteverdi was performed.
Its recent history finally touches on Giuseppe Dal Niel named Danieli, who transformed it into a hotel after buying it, redesigning its interiors in a neo-Gothic style. It was 1822.
Thus, nowadays this famous hotel, which is part of the prestigious Marriott International group, is celebrating its two hundred years of history this year, which feature many famous guests passing through it, including heads of State, royal families, and celebrities from cinema, music and literature, including King Wilhelm of Prussia, Charles Dickens, Richard Wagner, Honoré de Balzac, Marcel Proust, Greta Garbo, Charlie Chaplin…
For the occasion of its Bicentenary, this year the Danieli Hotel shall be proud of presenting a series of cultural initiatives (which we are listing separately) aimed at highlighting its historic and artistic heritage and which, moreover, will offer an opportunity not only for increasing knowledge regarding the venues of this historic palace but also of the buildings annexed to it.
VENICE AND ITS JOURNEY THROUGHOUT HISTORY
If a single palace can tell us extraordinary tales through its stones, and the Palazzo Dandolo, now home to the Danieli Hotel, is one of them, imagine what a city like Venice can tell us, which has seen centuries pass over it, even 1600 years, according to certain sources.
The birth of Venice, or its birthday, may actually be traced back to a very specific date, 25 March 421 A.D., a date quoted by several sources, including the Chronicon Altinate, according to which, near the location where the Brenta river flowed out, “the Paduans were said to have laid the first city foundations at Rialto” and, in more recent times, a source from the Diaries of Marin Sanudo, who, on describing the great fire at Rialto in 1514, states that the only church left standing during that event was that of Saint Giacomo of Rialto, known as Saint Giacometto, a “church built in Venetia in 421 on the day of 25 March, as read in our chronicles”.
Venice has therefore been celebrating this date for a whole year now, with a long series of events, and will continue to do so until 25 March itself and beyond, having extended its most important event, the Venice 1600: births and rebirths exhibition, until 5 June.
Strongly sought by the Venice Municipality, conceived and promoted by the City Museums Foundation in town, this exhibition, hosted inside the halls which once used to be the Doge’s residence, proposes to be an exciting journey throughout history, “a project – in the words of Gabriella Belli, the director of the City Museums – which talks of a city that has regenerated itself by battling outer enemies and inner troubles, such as fires, floods or the plague. A city which has been able to respond to each troubled moment by creating improvements, and which, in addition to rebuilding its architectural beauties, has managed to renew its social and economic structure, each time”.
This exciting story is illustrated by the masterpieces of top artists, architects and men of letters who worked in the lagoon for almost a millennium: from Carpaccio to Titian, from Veronese to Tiepolo, from Canaletto to Guardi and many more, up to Canova, Hayez, Appiani and modern artists, such as Pollock, Vedova, Tancredi and Santomaso, who interpreted the image of Venice in their own way. The paintings are furthermore flanked by a mixture of history and art, miniatures, prints, drawings, textiles, sculptures, ceramic, architectural models, glassware and everyday objects. Other exhibitions also add themselves to Venice 1600, each one having its own particular interest.
Among them, we may mention the one on American sculptor and performer Bruce Neuman at Punta della Dogana; the one on glass-design by Wirkkala and Zuccheri for the Venini furnace, at the Rooms of Glass; by British sculptor Tony Cragg in the venues at the Museum of Glass in Murano; by artist and journalist Ferruccio Gard on kinetic art at the Bevilacqua La Masa Gallery; on Romano Barbaro’s collection, Romano’s three Stars, at the Querini Stampalia Foundation.
In addition to these and other ones, mentioned inside, there are also installations by Georg Baselitz at Palazzo Grimani and by Giampaolo Babetto at the basilica of San Giorgio, and during this month, the important retrospective dedicated to Sabine Weiss, an exponent of French humanist photography, at the Casa dei TreOci (from 11 March); the Japanese Textiles showcase on Nō Theatre, presented at the Oriental Museum (from the 26th) and the one focusing on the painting production by South African artist Marlene Dumas at Palazzo Grassi, from 27 March.
In addition to the exhibitions, there is, as usual, the vast programme dedicated to shows (please check the following pages), with the opera, symphony and prose Seasons featured by the two main theatres: La Fenice and the Carlo Goldoni Veneto Resident Theatre.
Finally, a last date must be recalled during this month: 8 March, the International Women’s Day, whichVenice, with its rich past that has celebrated the name of great women – from Caterina Cornaro, queen of Cyprus to Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia, the first female graduate in the world, up to painter Rosalba Carriera – it will certainly not fail to honour.