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The Riva Experience at The Gritti Palace

What I love about travelling is truly absorbing a destination, feeling the culture, eating the food and having experiences that are emblematic of that place. While there are other ‘floating cities’ there’s nowhere truly like Venice with its history, architecture and spirit. The winding canals, bridges and islands are what truly characterise this place as unique and wonderful. With that being the case The Gritti Palace offers the opportunity to explore the canals and islands in total luxury on a beautiful Riva yacht.
The Riva is also an Italian icon with roots going back to 1842 when young Pietro Riva started building and repairing yachts on Lake Iseo in Northern Italy. But it was the 1950s and 1960s that was the turning point for Riva in the era of Pietro’s great-grandson, Carlo. Riva was already synonymous with luxury, quality and craftsmanship and loved by the jet set and the elite, when Carlos recognised the iconic status of the Riva he created a series of wooden yachts with unique design features. Timeless. Classic. Exquisitely luxurious. A perfect partnership with the Gritti Palace, the most luxurious hotel in Venice.
The hotel’s Il Doge is available for hotel guests to explore the Lagoon at sea level with different tours to suit different interests. Picking me up from the hotel’s floating porch, my carriage awaited with the captain at the helm ready to take me on ‘The Classic Excursion’.
I lay back again the soft white leather and we sped away from The Gritti Palace, jetting through the Grand Canal, past the bobbing gondolas and pretty hotels and houses of Venice.riva-experience-at-the-gritti-palace_-30riva-experience-at-the-gritti-palace_-31
Did you know that Venice is actually made up of 117 small islands? The islands are separated by canals and lagoons and many are connected by bridges. As well as the city of Venice there are other archipelagos and islands across the lagoon which we would be visiting today.
We sped through the lagoon to a quieter more remote area fringed with foliage.
With me at the helm of the ship (for about five seconds) we soon approached Burano, a collection of four islands characterised by vibrantly coloured houses.riva-experience-at-the-gritti-palace_-46
The captain explained that the houses were traditionally coloured so brightly in order for fisherman to be able to see them through the fog and avoid crashing. I loved the beautiful rainbow shades of the facades; a pink house can’t help but make you smile!
Beautiful Burano is also known for its lace-making, a tradition that dates back to 1500 and an art form that has been handed down for generations in the area. Visitors interested in knowing more about the artisan handicraft can visit the lace museum located in the town.
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We sped away from Burano, bound for another series of islands, Murano, a place known for producing glass of the finest quality.  riva-experience-at-the-gritti-palace_-57
Speeding through the narrow waterways of Murano there was so much beauty to admire. Other boats bobbing at the side of the canal, people enjoying coffee at the pretty cafés, elegant bridges and lots of shops selling the famous Murano glass.
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There is a lengthy history of glass-making in Murano ever since the artisans of Venice were ordered to move there in 1291 amongst fears of fire sparked by the glass blowing.

I was already taken by the beautiful Murano glass everywhere in The Gritti Palace and it was fantastic to see the place where the beautiful creations originate.
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A little more about our beautiful boat itself, Riva are currently owned by the Ferretti Group who are dedicated to preserving the unique essence of the yachts. When the group purchased the brand in 2001 they launched the Aquariva and the 11 metre yacht became the new classic. The Gritti Palace’s Aquariva can accommodate up to seven people; guests can choose from a selection of itineraries or select a totally bespoke journey. Excursions can be themed around archeology, art, birdwatching and fishing and, of course, the boat can be fully equipped with champagne!
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Pointing out side streets to me, the captain said ‘that’s the real Venice, where true Venetians live.’riva-experience-at-the-gritti-palace_-71riva-experience-at-the-gritti-palace_-72 riva-experience-at-the-gritti-palace_-73riva-experience-at-the-gritti-palace_
Heading away from Murano and back to the lagoon we sped back to Venice….
Past the Santa Maria della Salute church…
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And back to our floating hotel…
The ideal way to finish the experience is with a drink at The Gritti Palace Riva Lounge. The beautiful terrace has been inspired by the Aquarama Lounge of the Yacht Club de Monaco and as you can see uses materials and replicates the feeling of being on the yacht. There’s even a cocktail that has been created to pair perfectly with the experience and the Riva Cocktail containing White Rhum, grapefruit, orgeat syrup and orange bitter is suitably glamorous.

I absolutely loved my excursion on the Riva yacht and I’d highly recommend it if you’re staying at The Gritti Palace.


The Gritti Palace, A Luxury Collection Hotel
Campo Santa Maria del Giglio

+39 041 794611

I was hosted by The Gritti Palace and The Luxury Collection for this trip and my stay, the excursion and all meals were complimentary.