Lido in Winter
I wanted to see the hotel where Visconti’s film of “Death in Venice” was made.
In fact the original novel was set there also.
Not easy to visit in winter. The hotel closes at end of October each year and the place is literally boarded up.
Look the waterbus from Venice out to the island and then a taxi to the hotel.
Luckily the taxi driver agreed to wait for me while I took some photos. Place was very quiet at the end of January and it was a long walk back to the ferry!
It was one of the most elegant hotels in the world, the setting for Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice and the residence of choice for Hollywood stars from Clark Gable to Keira Knightley. But Venice Lido’s Grand Hôtel des Bains is no more after quietly closing its doors several months ago – to be reopened as a luxury apartment complex next year.
The news will upset cinephiles and art lovers the world over, and for ever change the face of the Venice film festival, which is held nearby.
Andrea Martini, film critic and professor of cinema theory at Siena University, who stayed at the hotel for 22 years in a row while covering the festival, is devastated by the news. “I always got room 422, one of the old rooms, still with parquet and art nouveau furniture, with a little terrace overlooking the sea. The bedsheets were in white linen; it was so worn out, you could see through it.”
He is angry at the city for not doing more to preserve it. “I’m in mourning,” he said. “It may look frivolous at first, but it is actually a very serious matter. Somebody at the Venice town hall is at fault for not preserving what is an international and historical treasure.”