Villa F, a hidden treasure on Quaint Island
Venice in the 16th Century was a prosperous and mostly peaceful city and was home to more than 2,500 nobles. Little wonder then that one of them chose to make his home on the island of Giudecca. Across the canal from St Mark’s it was close enough to the city and yet far enough away for privacy to be maintained. The city was also awash with artists and craftspeople who no doubt contributed to the decoration of the magnificent villa.
Known as Pensione Frollo in the early part of the 20th Century it was an upmarket retreat for many famous artists and remained extremely popular until the 1989s when it fell into disrepair and was abandoned.
Enter Francesca Bortolotto Possati, granddaughter of Arnaldo Bennati who bought the first Bauer hotel in 1930. She was already incredibly successful as a mother, entrepreneur, writer, interior designer, and driven by a passion for her native city. In 2008 she was the only female CEO in Venice when she took control of the family business and following her vision has enabled her to create most significant hotels in Venice. Bauer Hotels are part of the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World group and none deserve the title more fittingly than Villa F.
When we think of Venice, apart from the canals, we think of richness of textiles and colour, art and beauty. Villa F incorporates all of these elements in its design and furnishings. Francesca Possati took the dilapidated building and like a phoenix rising from the ashes she created a living masterpiece dedicated to Venetian life. Opulent in its design and furnishings Francesca has created a comfortable oasis where she invites her guests to relax and feel at home. Villa F is secluded and private and off the beaten track for most tourists but a shuttle boat travels to the mainland all day long so you can visit the city at leisure to sightsee or shop. There’s another Bauer hotel only minutes away from Villa F, Bauer Palladio Hotel & Spa, where you can visit for beauty treatments or dine at the bar and restaurant.
Set in three acres of gardens Villa F has been transformed into eleven luxurious residences where guests are encouraged to feel part of the city and its daily life. The residences range from one bedroom studios to a variety of two bedroom rooms and suites all either overlooking the gardens or the Lagoon and St Mark’s.
You’re met by a butler when you arrive and that sets the scene for the remainder of your visit. The staff couldn’t be more helpful and friendly as they share their Venice with you. Wandering through the huge rooms, enjoying the atmosphere and the sheer lavishness of your surroundings it’s easy to imagine a much earlier time when the nobility of the time gathered to party.
Villa F could be called one of Venice’s most hidden treasures and that’s a large part of its charm. Knowing that you’re so close but yet so far from the city ensures your holiday is out of this world.