The quiet Venice on the Island
There is a quiet side of Venice but you discover it on the Island of San Clemente.
A 10 minutes ride by boat and I’m saved from the never-ending flood of noisy tourists spreading from San Marco square. Once I put my feet on San Clemente island it’s almost impossible to believe that somewhere in the story of Venice there is such a quiet place. Not to say, such a green oasis. Wide alleys cross the park, connecting a few sober buildings and the particular style of each detail is adding up to an ancient story about this destination build almost 900 years ago. It’s naturally charmed as San Clemente is a place who keeps the memory of so many historical episodes. The perfect relaxation set-up is now a destination of its own and has the power to share a unique state of mind with its guests.
Even before I arrive to the specific Venetian dock, there are clues to let me know I’m entering a particular scenario. The boat that just saved me from the over-touristic Venice goes around the antique walls of the island and it’s impossible not to notice the Chapel proudly guarding the front side. The monument is actually the beginning for all that San Clemente stands today. It was built in 1131 by one of the most famous Venetian merchants, the one who also decided to name his creation after Pope Clement I. The Island with a surface of only six hectares was home to monasteries, hospitals, military bases and even a sanatorium. So, what I feel today seems to be part of the positive energy from 1522, a time when San Clemente became synonym with the most exclusive relaxation centre for the wealthy locals but also for Europe’s noble families.
The resort nowadays welcomes me as one of the few places left in the world with the authentic flavour of a glorious past. The buildings are mainly in their original shape and the recently renovated chapel shares almost everything from its XIV century project. Inside it charms visitors with original paintings signed by representatives Italian artists from the Venetian school, as Giovanni Segala, Pitro Ricci and Francesco Ruschi. Staying in the hotel, I feel even more fortunate when I meet visitors going to the Chapel as to a museum when all I have to do is to step out of your room and take a large portion of ancient culture.
The main building takes me to the atmosphere of an authentic palace with large halls and a lot of natural light. Adapting the place for the five stars standards managed not to harm the details of the past and the more I got to see the place the more I get deep into a noble world. Looking down there are the original floors finished in the local style of ”terrazzo”, looking up there the Murano glass chandeliers. The wooden framed windows guarantee spectacular views and feel even more spectacular as for sure they are the same views to have been admired by the nobles relaxing here four or five hundred years ago.
Since 2016, San Clemente is a Kempinsky destination to offer 190 rooms and apartments with classical authentic furnishings and high ceilings. There are three restaurants and three bars, among which the most beautiful are placed in the middle of the interior garden and on the front entrance dock, next to the sea. The San Clemente experience starts from the breakfast served outside and has everything to keep you busy when you don’t feel like taking the complementary boat ride back to the city. The time stops to let you enjoy the pool, the golf course, the running track or just a quiet walk to the meditation hill.
For reservations and more details go to www.kempinski.com/en/venice/san-clemente-palace-kempinski/