Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Hemingways Favorite Venice Hotel

 



The GRAND CANAL

The GRITTI PALACE





The GITTI PALACE HOTEL

VENICE





The GRITTI PALACE







The GRITTI PALACE
















WORLDWIDE

HOTELS & FLIGHTS










Ernest Hemingway with Wife Martha Gellhorn

The GRITTI PALACE

VENICE, ITALY



Not only can I look down from Hemingway’s window, I can also sit in his chair."

Adrian Mourby in the newly unveiled Hemingway Suite at the Gritti Palace which reopened last month after an 18 month refurbishment.

Outside my window the men who punt the black traghetti back and forth joke while waiting for customers. The traghetto has crossed at this point for centuries. There are only a few places on the great serpentine coil of Venice’s Grand Canal that are still served by them, but when Hemingway, Somerset Maugham or John Ruskin wanted to get across the Grand Canal, these eminent men of English letters could just walk outside the Gritti Palace and step on board. It’s one of the many advantages of this sixteenth century brick palazzo that became a hotel in the nineteenth.

To commemorate these writers, the newly reopened Gritti Palace has named a suite after each.

Not only can I look down from Hemingway’s window, I can also sit in his chair. When the Gritti closed eighteen months ago for refurbishment, every item of furniture, every picture and Murano glass chandelier was labelled and stored, which is why I know that Papa Hemingway sat in this unremarkable low green chair. By the time Hem was staying at the Gritti he had grown corpulent, sitting here his belly would have rested low on his thighs. As I take his place, I can’t help wondering what he would have made of the new Gritti and the suite that bears his name. No doubt he would have found it all a bit over-decorated, and more to the taste of “Miss Mary”, his hard-faced fourth wife who is pictured on the wall opposite. She and Papa are standing on the terrace of the Gritti during one of her visits, circa 1949.





The HEMINGWAY SUITE

The GRITTI PALACE HOTEL




There is only one Gritti Palace, and there is only one true Hemingway's Suite. 

Of course, as an avid Hemingway fan, I’m aware that when that black and white photo was taken Hem (left with Mary) was infuriating Miss Mary with a new infatuation. Ernest Hemingway was 50 and had recently fallen for a young Venetian artist, Countess Adriana Ivancich. She was only 19 and quite unaware of the strength of his feelings. Frustrated, Hemingway poured his passion into the worst he ever wrote, Across the River and into the Trees. The story is a thinly veiled fantasy in which an old American colonel, marked for death, is having a barely unconsummated affair with Renata, a young Venetian aristocrat. Hem wrote the book fuelled by crates of Valpolicella which he would buy from Harry’s bar round the corner. I feel rather sorry for the author, physically old before his time, staggering back to the Gritti at night or waking as light played on the surface of the Grand Canal, and taking a bottle of Valpolicella and the Herald Tribune to the lavatory with him, as Colonel Cantwell does.

A man needs toys. Big men need big toys. 

When the book came out, it was a critical disaster. Worse Hemingway made the guilty mistake of dedicating his book of Adriana fantasies to Mary. No wonder she looks so tightly wound in that photo. Ironically the critical mauling that Hemingway received over Across the River and into the Trees spurred him to hit back with The Old Man and the Sea, which won him the Nobel Prize for Literature - though I’m sure  Mary Hemingway would have had something to say about the fact that the cover illustration of that book was done by the young woman he fell in love with in Venice. 




The HEMINGWAY SUITE

The GRITTI PALACE HOTEL





VENICE HOTELS






Models of HEMINGWAYS BOATS

The HEMINGWAY SUITE






And finally: Rum with a view. 
The bar in the author's former suite is well stocked ...

The HEMINGWAY SUITE

The GRITTI PALACE HOTEL





In 1948, Hemingway stayed in Venice’s glamorous GRITTI PALACE Gritti Palace has also hosted other celebrated figures, like Peggy Guggenheim, Elizabeth Taylor, and Richard Burton, and is still known as one of Venice’s most alluring luxury hotels. Even when Hemingway was in Venice and not staying at Gritti Palace, he came often to dine and socialize.





ERNEST HEMINGWAY

Behind The BAR - HARRY'S BAR

VENICE, ITALY


At this time Hemingway began to frequent Harry's Bar and befriends the owner Giuseppe Cipriani, a warm local man who took much pride in his establishment. At Harry’s, Hemingway could observe and meet people, while eating, drinking, and writing in style at his table in the corner. Although Hemingway was Harry’s Bar most celebrated guest, perhaps because he went so frequently, it is also known for entertaining famous creative characters like Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Truman Capote, Orson Welles, and Woody Allen. The owner, Ciprani invented the ‘Bellini,’ a light, sparkling cocktail made with Prosecco and fresh white peaches, which is still served at Harry’s Bar. Hemingway was partial to Harry’s Montgomery cocktail, which was made with gin and a touch of vermouth, as well as Venice’s divine wines.

Seduced by Venice’s excellent wine and food, Hemingway soon craved more solitude and invigorating stimulation to write, so he moved to the Venetian island of Torcello. On Torcello, Hemingway had the chance to hole himself away to write. He also was able to engage in more active, adventurous pursuits, like jetting across the Grand Canal, and hunting game with his Venetian friends. On this tiny island, Hemingway wrote another novel, Across the River and into the Trees.







GIUSEPPE CIPRIANI & ERNEST HEMINGWAY

VENICE






HARY'S BAR, VENICE

ERNEST HEMINGWAY with Owner GIUSEPPE CIPRIANI






HOTELS in VENICE

WORLDWIDE























No comments: