Palazzo Abadessa

Cannaregio, Venice, Italy Book from Book from £87 per night

A beautifully restored Baroque palace with a peaceful walled garden and private jetty
Step back in time. Surrounded by gorgeous antiques, paintings, superb authentic ceilings, damask walls and marquetry floors, you'll feel like an honoured guest of a historic Venetian family as you're warmly welcomed by the palazzo's charming staff.

Tucked away down the snug Calle Priuli alleyway, in the bohemian Cannaregio quarter, fronted by a secret walled garden, this was the private mansion of the Priuli family of Doges, and dates to the late 16th-century. The Rossis bought it in 1975 as their home and, after a quarter century of loving restoration - seeking out the perfect period detail, the finest pieces of furniture - opened it as an intimate hotel. Marisa (as she is known) grew up in a Palladian villa "surrounded by beautiful history", then ran several factories in Vicenza, inviting clients to the Abadessa (the 'Mother Superior') for weekend breaks. Now she, and her son Simone, love welcoming cultured folk from all over the world to stay in their elegant palazzo hotel.

Highs

  • The location: beside a quiet canal, with the option of coming and going by private water taxi from the palace’s own red-carpeted jetty, only a 15-minute walk from the airport waterbus, and 3 minutes to the Ca'D'Oro vaporetto stop
  • The huge ground floor ballroom with tall stained glass windows to the jetty; and the equally grand 'piano nobile' above, connected by a unique horseshoe staircase
  • The sumptuous bedrooms, with authentic 17th-century frescoes, 18th-century furniture, silk-lined walls and massive Murano-glass chandeliers
  • Nothing is too much trouble for the staff, as we reaffirmed on our 2016 revisit
  • The large walled garden where you can enjoy breakfast

Lows

  • Breakfast is the only in-house meal, though they can order in for parties and conferences
  • The property focuses squarely on its heritage, some will prefer more contemporary surroundings
  • Some of the rooms are small and low-ceilinged
  • Only a few of the rooms have bathtubs, though all have ensuite showers

Best time to go

Venice is an all year round destination, most prefer the spring and autumn seasons when the weather is at its most balmy. Availability is best in the winter. Note that Palazzo Abadessa is usually closed most of January for maintenance

Our top tips

Venice is great for shopping - the streets leading to St Mark's Square are lined with exclusive designer stores, the Dorsoduro area is full of independent galleries, and San Polo has the Rialto market as well as great artisan masks and furnishings

Great for...

City Style
Honeymoon
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 10 rooms + 5 suites
  • Breakfast (walk to restaurants)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
Room: Classic 11

Rooms

A horseshoe staircase sweeps up to the tall-windowed piano nobile (literally 'noble floor'), here the Suites and one Superior Room are located. The grandest Suite, where we stayed on our original visit, has a balcony over the canal and raised mezzanine with bathroom, chaise longue and second double bedroom. OneJunior Suite has a superb painted ceiling. Expect large ornate glass chandeliers, high ceilings, baroque bedsteads and prized painted furniture from Bassano. The floors are special Venetian marquetry or flexible pavimento - a 'mosaic' of coloured stones set into elastic calce cement, to avoid cracking from tidal movement.

Classic and other Superior Rooms are carved out of a mezzanine floor, low ceilings make them feel a bit cramped. We stayed here on our 2016 revisit, and loved the original 16th-century beams, and handmade silk-lined walls.

Ensuite bathrooms have been upgraded, though note most are small with shower only; you get own brand toiletries. Almost all rooms can be reconfigured as twins on request; all have safes, satellite TV and mini-bar fridges.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • WiFi

Eating

As the hotel doesn’t have a restaurant, the only meal served is breakfast though it is one fit for a Doge. A feast of cereals, yogurts and fresh fruits, cheeses, parma and other hams, cake, croissants, rolls, pastries, toast and jams… the table was groaning and I returned for at least 5 glasses of their delicious blood-orange juice. You can have breakfast in bed or eat in the atrium ballroom (a range of daily newspapers are supplied); in warm weather most prefer the parasoled tables in the sunny garden.

After a hard day’s sightseeing, reconvene for daily afternoon tea (4-6pm). In the evening sip Prosecco (a gift for having booked through i-escape) and cocktails either in your room or downstairs (there’s an impressive range of drinks laid out in the ballroom and cocktails are offered 7-8pm Saturdays), before being swept away in a water taxi from the palace's private jetty to dinner.

Ask the concierge for restaurant recommendations, note that as everything in Venice has to be shipped in, it is one of the priciest places to dine in Italy.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Visit some of the countless churches and museums showcasing Venetian architecture, art and history, including the world-famous Palazzo Ducale, Basilica, Gothic seat of Venetian power, and extraordinary little church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, 'a jewel box of ancient marbles'
  • Wonder at all the Canalettos, Titians, Tintorettos and other paintings gathered under one roof in the Galleria dell’Academia in Dorsoduro
  • Take a lazy gondola ride through the labyrinth of canals or join others on a communal sunset tour complete with singers and instruments
  • Visit the nearby islands of San Michele (a huge cemetery park), Murano (glass-blowing), Burano (fishing, lace-making and gaily-colored houses) or Torcello (7th- to 13th-century architecture, Byzantine mosaics and a tiny resident population)
  • Or just explore the labyrinth of narrow alleys and little hump-backed bridges - getting lost is all part of the fun here
  • At the palazzo, sit in the beautiful, flower-filled garden sipping cappuccinos or cocktails and watching the shadows deepen

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets

Kids

Well behaved kids are welcome and extra beds, cots and babysitting can be arranged. Children under 5 stay for free. That said, the place is full of valuable furniture and ornaments, they prefer to keep it fairly quiet and civilised and not to have too many children staying at any one time.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The impressive Suites and Superior Room found off the piano nobile can sleep 3-4 people and some interconnect

Families Should Know:

There's a canal to the rear of the property

Distances:

  • Airport: 1 hour
  • Shops: 1 minute
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 9 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Rooms
8/10
Food
10/10
Service
9/10
Value
9/10
Overall

Palazzo Abadessa provides a haven in Venice, only a short walk from Ca D'Oro but on a quiet side street. The main lobby is impressive and it has a fabulous garden. The staff couldn't have been more helpful and were friendly. We had a room looking onto the street and there was a little noise from "merry" carnival goers. Will definitely book again.

10/10, , March 2017

Beautiful hotel with traditional Venetian decor in the rooms. Has a tranquil courtyard garden to get away from the buzz of Venice. Great location, many nice restaurants in the vicinity.

10/10, , February 2017

This could not be a more perfect place to stay in Venice. It's luxurious, spacious, grand but not overbearing, with sumptuous fabrics and furnishings, utterly comfortable and a very special place indeed. We found it perfectly placed for the best bars and restaurants and for exploring the myriad streets. Anyone who gets to stay here is incredibly lucky.

10/10, , December 2016

Beautiful garden and décor, the Suite for the 5 of us had views over the canal with its ongoing traffic which were sublime. Hotel small enough to feel like a private home. Hotel recommendations for restaurants good, the only way to arrive from Marco Polo airport in style is by private water taxi to the hotel’s own landing stage.

10/10, , June 2015

The room was very small indeed, but I guess that is Venice. The bed was small and very bouncy, but the garden was sublime.

8/10, , June 2015

My daughter and I stayed in May. Room no 14 was very small, decor plush, room v clean. However it was extremely hot and noisy, located beside a bridge, suitcases rumbling from early morning and conversations loud and clear of passing people (the room was so warm that we had to have the windows open which probably did not help with noise). This room does not have a view of canal or garden and was very dark and a bit cramped. The Garden for breakfast is beautiful a perfect setting, relaxing and pleasent. Staff were very friendly, helpful and nice. No food available apart from breakfast which is very standard, the coffee was good. Its a really central location and was perfect for us to get up the main venues of the Venice Biennale. With a bigger room it could be perfect. We would go back.

8/10, , May 2015

We had a marvelous time at the palazzo abadessa. The hotel is located very central with easy access to all the transportation and sightseeing points. It is extremely kid friendly, I was worried that my kids who are below the age of 7, would be too loud and noisy for a place like this, but the staff were more then friendly and they felt completely integrated. This hotel throws you back into a Venice that I imagined existed 100 years ago, the flair and atmosphere made the venice experience happen for us, despite 3 little children....

10/10, , August 2014

Perfect service in a beautiful hotel. The out of San Marco location is a plus, not a minus.

9/10, , July 2014

Very nice stay for our honeymoon, staff very helpful and even posted me an item that i had left in my room, forwarding it onto us at our next hotel. Beautiful bedroom overlooking one of the smaller canals, lovely breakfast in the private garden each morning.

8/10, , June 2014

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Rates for Palazzo Abadessa