Monday, February 20, 2017

Elegantissimo! ‘Venetian Chic’ Is The Must-Have New Style Book by Acclaimed Venetian Hotelier Francesca Bortolotto Possati

Her book is launched just in time for the Venetian Carnival 2017, and you’re invited to a Masquerade Dinner Party and costumed ball at the Bauer Venezia hotel on Saturday February 25 (see invitation and details below).

Assouline has just released ‘Venetian Chic’, a handsome new large-format book, the ultimate insider’s guide to Venetian style. The book is a tribute to the history, culture, arts and elegance of Venice, with images of ultra-private palazzi, interiors, architecture, Seguso glass, the Grand Canal, noble cathedrals, crafts, and private apartments. All that’s missing is the sweet and slightly saline scent of Venetian air.

Come with me for a first exclusive look at this delicious book—plus a special visit to Francesca’s empire along the Grand Canal. Oh, and the Masquerade invitation.

Glamorous Francesca Bortolotto Possati is admired as a leading figure in the worlds of Venetian luxury hospitality, philanthropy, architecture, and art. She has played a major role in supporting the restoration of historic buildings in Venice. She is the owner of four five-star Bauer hotel properties including Il Palazzo on the Grand Canal, as well as the new Il Palladio Hotel and Spa on Giudecca, and Villa F, which faces the lagoon and the Punta della Dogana, and the romantic waterscapes of Venice.

 The chandeliers in Il Palazzo’s Royal Suite were crafted by Murano glassmakers. The design composition is mirrored in the curves of the sofa and the flowing design of the floor. Photo by Robyn Lea

Entrance hall on the first floor at Villa F, with views of the vast internal garden on one side of the room and grand vistas across the water to the Piazza San Marco on the opposite side. Photo by Robyn Lea

A porcelain pitcher made by Geminiano Cozzi in the 1700s sits on the mantel at Palazzo Mocenigo. Photo by Robyn Lea

Colored glass decorations made by Seguso in the 1940s, on the wall of Il Settimo Cielo at the Bauer Hotel. Photo by Robyn Lea

‘Venetian Chic’ takes readers for a very insider tour of private apartments, secret corners, glass-making, antiques, views, and closeup details of architecture, carving, weaving, embroidery, and all the arts and crafts that make Venice so alluring.

View of the Church of Santa Maria della Salute from Palazzino Alvisi, the home of Andrea Gaggia. Photo by Robyn Lea

View of the Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark, the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice. Photo by Robyn Lea

From Francesca’s private black book of friends and admired style leaders, she visits artists’ studios, the palazzi of elegant Venetian friends, and a series of restored art works, churches, chandeliers, gilded carving, chapels, and Venice’s hidden corners.

Robyn Lea’s images, some free-form and very impressionistic, show the sense of history and mysery that saturate the buildings and landscapes. This is private Venice, without the crowds, and with secret access to places that hark back to the artists of the Renaissance and the chic masquerade balls of centuries past.

Francesca Borlotto Possati. Photo by Robyn Lea

 Francesca’s mother and grandfather on her wedding day, standing in the entrance of their home, Palazzo Mocenigo. Photo courtesy of Francesca Borlotto Possati 

Francesca’s son, Alessandro, inside the main entranceway to their family home, Palazzo Mocenigo. Photo by Robyn Lea

Francesca Bortolotto Possati opened her private photo albums to show family celebrations and historic balls and holidays.

And she reveals the everyday pleasures of fresh food markets, silk weaving, old workshops that craft velvets and silks too glorious to imagine (that are sold to decorators around the world). Perhaps best of all, photographer Robyn Lea has spent years roaming and discovering. Her romantic focus on only-in-Venice treasurse makes this book a revelation.

This is the Venice of dreams, the iconic destination through new eyes. A witty and affectionate foreword by Jeremy Irons complements this stunning volume.

“Venice has welcomed me on a few fine occasions and left me with a multitude of plangent memories; Listening to the oh-so-limited repertoire of the gondoliers. Discovering the hidden life and the hidden palazzos and churches. Reveling in this ancient place that refuses to change.”  — From the foreword to ‘Venetian Chic’ by actor Jeremy Irons

A Dream of Venice: Venetian Grace and Style — A New Visit to the Bauer Venezia Hotels

The Bauer Venezia Il Palazzo on the Grand Canal

The Bauer Venezia Il Palazzo Royal Suite

The Bauer Venezia Il Palazzo Royal Suite

The Bauer Venezia Il Palazzo

Settimo Cielo at The Bauer Venezia

Settimo Cielo at The Bauer Venezia

The Bauer Venezia Lobby

The Bauer Venezia Il Palazzo on the Grand Canal
The Bauer Venezia Il Palazzo Bar Canale

Bauer Palladio Hotel & Spa

Bauer Palladio Hotel & Spa

Bauer Palladio Hotel & Spa

Villa F Hotel

Villa F Hotel

Villa F Hotel

Villa F Hotel

Villa F Hotel

About Francesca Bortolotto Possati

A long-standing ambassador for Venice and patron of the lively Venetian cultural scene, Bortolotto Possati supports many major charities.

She is director of the art and architectural restoration fund Save Venice Inc. and has won many awards for her dedication to preserving the city’s historic legacy. As the owner and director of four leading Venetian luxury hotels, she has been recognized as a Leading Women Entrepreneur of the World. 

Bortolotto Possati is the granddaughter of the Ligurian shipbuilder, Arnaldo Bennati, who purchased the Bauer in the 1930s and undertook the hotel’s first renovation. During her childhood in Venice, the Bauer was Bortolotto Possati’s second home and her preparation for her current role has been lifelong.

Bortolotto Possati also directs her family’s winemaking estate, Colmello di Grotta in Collio.

She sponsors the Zuecca Project Space, a non-profit area in Giudecca that hosts exhibitions for local and international art communities. Bortolotto Possati presents the Ca’ Foscari Award at Venice’s international literary festival each year.

Bortolotto Possati has two children, Alessandro and Olimpia, who are also deeply involved in the activities of the BAUER Venezia properties. She is also a keen sports enthusiast, and a champion skier, and has a particular penchant for driving her boat through Venice’s famous canals.

Invitation — Carnival 2017: Masquerade Party and You Are Invited

Bauer Venezia is pleased to invite you to attend the Masquerade Carnival Party at the Bauer Palazzo, Saturday, February 25th 2017. 

Buffet dinner starting from 09.00 pm with entertainment at Bauer’s Ballroom. After dinner with DJ set starting from 11.30 pm at the BBar lounge.

Dress code: Gold 
Style: Elegance, luxury, extravagance
Dinner from 220.00 euro ( per person) wine included. 

Info & Reservations: 
30124 Venice 
tel. 041 5207022 

Dining at The Bauer Venezia

From a recent seasonal menu:

Risotto with white squid and its black ink
Gragnano spaghetti with artichokes and small calamari
Ravioli filled with Padovana chicken, Parmigiano Reggiano and saffron cream 
Tuscany gnocchi “gnudi” with ricotta in mushroom broth

Tiramisu, bitter cocoa and coffee
Crème brulée, citrus sorbet and marinated blueberries
Persimmon soup, chestnut crumble and vanilla ice cream
Buranei cookies in millefeuille with Torcolato wine mousse, dried fruits and ice cream 

Bauer Palladio Hotel & Spa


‘Venetian Chic’ Text by Francesca Bortolotto Possati, foreword by Jeremy Irons, original photography by Robyn Lea || 264 pages | 150 illustrations | hardcover. 
Published by Assouline, February 2017

Images published here from ‘Venetian Chic’ by Robyn Lea, with permission.

Images of the Bauer Venezia hotels, including Il Palazzo, Palladio Hotel & Spa and Villa F used here with exclusive permission of Francesca Bortolotto Possati.

Where to find the book:

More information about the Bauer Venice hotels, restaurants and spa:



SALLY said...

Diane, if I may call you by your first name, once again you have opened a window into a world I have never seen. Entrancing! This post comes at a most opportune time. My husband is a reluctant traveler and I have been trying to "sell" him on visiting Venice. I think I shall purchase this book and leave it on his pillow! Thank you so very much!

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Hello, Friends--

I received the following charming note from Francesca Bortolotto Possati:

Dear Diane,
Thanks for the great issue.
I do love it!
Best wishes, Francesca

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


Great to hear from you.

I propose: yes, place the book on the pillow and read it together...

the book is a dream...mostly images, some quotes and very poetic.

and...the book is the ideal of Venice that you want to do...private visits to museums (where you can be alone) and lunch over on Giudecca and a visit to a private art must plan it that you are never ever where all the tourists roam...
spend time...for example...AT PALAZZO is lovers only.
and an evening at LA FENICE for the opera...
no wandering or shopping (never...)...
spend time over on DORSODORO...and you will see few tourists...and GIUDECCA...with a fantastic view of San Marco...and no tourists...stay up late (tourists depart at 5pm...)...
and go to restaurants that are hidden away...plan it in the spring...before day trippers arrive...and use the book as your guide..keep me posted--DIANE

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

dear friends-

I received the following lovely message from my dear designer friend, James Marzo (a great Italian name...).

Thanks for sharing this Venetian Fantasy. Chicissimo!
Jim Marzo

yes...good luck and here's to our next trip to Venice...PRIVATE VENICE is a dream...and it is not hard to get away from the daytrippers...plan ahead...dine late, lunch late...and find hidden corners...

happy days--DIANE

The Swan said...

VENICE, how do I describe thee...magical beauty, heavenly apparition, crumbling architecturilist capriccio. 30 years later and I still feel as if I've lived a life there in the distant never gets enough of the shimmering light dancing on the blue green waters as you cast your eye to the horizon where water and sky meet in a haze. Can any of us ever get enough? That we should all age with patina which enhances one into an otherworldly creature. Adore seeing that Cozzi pitcher, Cozzi is quite rare, even in Venice, mainly glazed white, but the rarest is the handpainted porcelain of the 18thC...I've a beautiful Neptune holding a shell and trident surrounded by Hippocampus writhing in the round on a raging swirling base mimicking the sea...the Adriatic of course. It came out of a collection from a private palazzo with ceilings painted by Fontebasso...I am forever indebted to Venice for uplifting me in times of darkness with the Hope of Beauty triumphant over Age!

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


How wonderful to hear from you.
Yes...your vision of Venice is mine...romantic and timeless and full of beauty and life and creativity.

It is all you have to know where to find it and who to show you...and how to go to private places where you can ponder beauty the Fortuny Gallery or the Cini foundation or Torcello, and all the hidden sites and museums and foundations and former monasteries and is all there.
It happens...that if you enter museums or noted religious buildings or significant places of beauty...there is no-one there. Of course the cuisines...from the unique and superb.
I can't wait to return. And the art Biennale is opening in May. Swan...stay in touch...I love your writing and intense feeling for Venice...fondest--DIANE

Lynne Rutter said...

How timely is this post! I have just spent Carnivale in Venezia, my second time doing so-- not in the street with the big parties but privately in the beautiful palazzi which are rented out for elegant balls every night. I am sorry to have missed the Bauer party as I was dressed and ready, on my way to another ball. Venice is really splendid in the winter, and always wonderous if you aren't afraid to wander and get lost... even if you know where to go.