The Lido, Venice – Come here for a Beach Lifestyle!
The appeal of a beach so close to Venice is undeniable but needs a few caveats. When you arrive at the Lido you can see in distance Venice and the Campanile (S. Mark’s Belltower) only 15 minutes away by Vaporetto, and as the boats run 24 hours a day transport is really no problem, providing you’re staying close to the ferry wharf. The most expensive hotels have their own service anyway.
Venice’s Marriage With The Sea
The Lido forms the main land barrier between Venice and the open sea. This is where the Doges celebrated the ceremony of Venice’s Marriage to the Sea by dropping a ring into the waters, thereby symbolically acknowledging how Venice depended on the ocean for its continued survival. Given the fact that the city is slowly sinking beneath the waves, perhaps this ceremony should be revived!
Death in Venice and Private Beaches
Apart from its proximity to Venice, and (mostly) more inexpensive hotels, the Lido’s main attraction for most people is long beach celebrated in Thomas Mann’s "Death in Venice" (helped by Visconti’s eponymous film starring Dirk Bogarde). The legendary Grand Hotel des Bains unfortunately isn’t, anymore, as it’s closed and being converted into “luxury residences”. However, the public bit of the beach is still there, but it isn’t the cleanest I’ve seen, so staying in a hotel with a private section is the way to go if you can afford it. In any event, there’s no surf and the Adriatic is very polluted here, so personally I’d look elsewhere for the beach part of my holiday. Many hotels have swimming pools, though.
Film Stars, a Palazzo de Cinema – and Stratospheric Prices
During the first week of September the Lido hosts the famous International Venice Film Festival at the Palazzo del Cinema. During this time the whole island (indeed, the whole of Venice) is besieged by Hollywood stars, wannabes, film-makers, buyers and press from around the world and is horrendously expensive and crowded.
However, at other times, there’s no denying that the Lido has a charming, more relaxed atmosphere than Venice, and there’s a certain attraction in leaving the hubbub of San Marco behind as you strike out across the lagoon. And the Lido boasts the only golf-course in Venice…
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