Guiltily, we hanker after more decadence and drama, grand piles on the Grand Canal, and a faint air of murk and mystery that falls just short of state inquisitions. The lagoon city delivers the dream, with peachy Bellinis sipped in baroque bars, and streaming sun glinting off Murano glass mirrors. Venice was born for one-upmanship, even in the bedroom and you can sleep in George Clooney’s wedding bed, or wake up in palaces that welcomed Doges.
My first night as a Dogaressa is in the Splendid Venice, tucked into the medieval maze of alleys behind St Mark’s. As the Doge is away running a non-Venetian empire, I am left to dream alone, watching a bridal procession of gondolas drifting by. From my romantic violet room, I glimpse vignettes of Venetian daily life, from gondoliers chatting on canal bridges to delivery barges overladen with pumpkins and artichokes for dinner. In a city where crossing a bridge is a theatrical event, Venetians become actors in their own private drama.
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