Under the audacious eye of Marianna Serandrei, Ca’ Pisani has become both an international art hub and the initiator of a new Venetian élan—ancient repubblica reinvented as cultural oasis.

Two hundred personal invitations arrive in the mailboxes of two hundred welcoming recipients. A few days later, the lofty ceilings of an exquisitely restored 16th-century palazzo begin to echo with the arrival of Venetian art-lovers, gallerists, and a politician or two. Soon it will begin: an illuminating talk with an acclaimed artist, the ...

“For me, the hotel is part of the travel experience itself. Sometimes I go to a place just because I know there is a fabulous hotel!”

... launch of a keenly awaited book, the unveiling of a much-anticipated exhibition. It is, in other words, just another night at Ca' Pisani.

Whatever the affair, one person sure to be in attendance is Marianna Serandrei, ebullient host and eldest member of the fourth generation of her family’s Venetian hotelier dynasty. In 2000, with almost 100 years in the business (thanks to their much-lauded, traditional four-star Hotel Saturnia), the Serandrei family was determined to add a second iconic property to their hospitality firmament. From its beginning, the new venture, Ca’ Pisani—Venice’s very first boutique hotel, and one of the earliest members of Design Hotels™—revealed its elegant yet delightful, slightly cheeky point of view. The 500-year-old merchant’s townhouse that houses the property has been lovingly refurbished and boldly furnished with 1930s-40s Art Deco pieces from the Serandrei family’s personal collection. The result is a Venetian hotel sui generis—a true original. Nestled in a bohemian, art-rich corner of Venice known as Dorsoduro, this audacious jewel demanded a visionary at the helm, and found it in Marianna Serandrei. “I am driven by emotion, feelings!” she laughs. “I draw inspiration from reading, traveling, talking with friends—everything and nothing!”

In her twelve-year tenure, Marianna, the free-spirited daughter of community cornerstone Dr. Ugo Serandrei, has used her passion and expertise in art and art history to create—via word-of-mouth—the go-to hotel for guests of the Biennale. The hotel has also become a year-round hub of the region’s vibrant art scene. To wit: A weekly happy hour finds the hotel’s habitués—many of them architects, artists, writers—sipping wine and discoursing with their native host about everything from the resurgence of Futurism to an opening at the neighborhood’s hottest new gallery. It is here that Marianna is in her element. And it’s easy to understand why. Taking in the hotel and the scene around her, one can begin to see how she has blended intuition, collaboration, and chance to create a playground of possibility perhaps best described as calculated chaos. “I don’t plan beforehand that this or that will happen,” she says. “I just open the doors of Ca’ Pisani to the Venetian people!”

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