The Venetians might not have invented the concept of cosmopolitanism, but Venice’s backbone of culture and trade has imbued it with a sophisticated, pan-cultural sensibility that has only increased through the centuries.
“The city has always been extremely cosmopolitan,” explains Gianmatteo Zampieri, manager of the Luna Hotel Baglioni, the oldest hotel in Venice. “There were no slaves, everyone was paid for their work. It was multicultural. People from the Dalmatian coast, Germany, France.”
As early as the 12th century, when the ideally positioned port city began to flourish, the Luna Hotel Baglioni’s site was home to the Knights Templar. Here, the skilled religious military order practised fighting and took in pilgrims en-route to the Holy Land.
But what could be holier than a view of the Canal Grande, the San Giorgio Maggiore Basilica and, in the distance, the Lido? Such was the fit-for-a-contessa vista from my corner junior suite at the Luna. Frankly, the five-star luxury property offers so many breathtaking vantage points that it’s tempting to ‘tour’ Venice without ever leaving the premises.
Guests staying in one of the sought-after altana (terraced) suites have the opportunity to lounge al fresco, locally-sourced libations in-hand (Spritzes and Bellinis) and toast the sentry-like statues adorning the former San Gimignano church. According to Zampieri, the place of worship was levelled by Napoleon at the turn of the 19th century to make way for a ceremonial stairway, which today leads visitors to the Correr Museum.