Mar 28, 2020

Our history

The history of Principessa Restaurant is indissolubly linked to the annex Hotel Savoia & Jolanda. As you may guess by the name of the hotel, the house of Savoia - Italian royal family - is related to the property from its early beginning. We have succeeded in gathering many testimonies over the years that allow us to outline our own roots.

As proven by all pictures in our possession, the Restaurant has always been part of the Hotel even if under different names.

The first trace of the restaurant existence dates back to the 19th century: it is a black-and-white postcard portraying the then “Hotel Bavaria e Jolanda avec grand restaurant-terrasse”.  In the back there is a description of the property, here quoted: “Jouissant du plus beau panorama de la ville, à deux pas du Palais des Doges, de la Place St. Marc. Vis-à-vis des debarcadères pour le Grand Canal, Lido et iles environnantes. Entièrement remis à neuf. Lumière électrique. Carolorifère. Bains. Confort moderne. Restaurant de 1er ordre. Prix moderés. Portier à la gare".

The hotel was actually named after the official union of the Savoia royal family with the Duchy of Bavaria, sealed two centuries ago with the wedding between the princess Enrichetta Adelaide Savoia and the duke Ferdinand. The bond with the Italian royal family is confirmed as well by the presence of an equestrian statue in Riva degli Schiavoni, a few meters away from the hotel, dedicated to the king Vittorio Emanuele II to remember the tenth anniversary of his death. The statute was inaugurated in 1887 by the king Umberto I and the queen Margherita Savoia.

The name of the hotel restaurant had been then modified in Savoia Hotel & Principessa Jolanda, as proved by an iconography realized during to the so-called Belle Epoque (1900-1930) by the publishing house Richter & C., who used to produce postcards of the most important luxury hotels of Italy. 

Its definitive name Hotel Savoia & Jolanda was finally assigned in the 1940s.

Beside the name, the hotel restaurant is still preserving its roots with the exposition of several portraits of different princesses, among which the princess Iolanda Margherita to whom the annex Principessa Restaurant has been dedicated.

Over the past decades, Hotel Savoia & Jolanda had the great honor to welcome several renowned personages of the world cultural scene, among which the well-known and iconic Peggy Guggenheim who stayed in one of our suites on the occasion of the XXIV Venice Art Biennale in 1948. 

The most famous art patron of all time was our guest because she fiercely exposed a comprehensive modern art collection in the Greek Pavilion considering that, at the time, Greece was torn apart by the civil war. The exhibition was a big event in Italy after the dictatorial regime, as it included never-before-seen works by Mondrian, Brancusi, Kandinsky, Ernst and Giacometti. 

According to Peggy Guggenheim’s assistant Vittorio Carrain, “the 1948 Biennale was like opening a bottle of champagne, it was the explosion of modern art after the Nazis had tried to kill it”.

2018 marked the 70th anniversary of the Peggy Guggenheim exhibition which has been celebrated in the 2019 Art Biennale: the Greek Pavilion displayed a letter dating back to June 11th 1948 addressed to Mrs. Peggy Guggenheim herself who at the time was guest of "Albergo Savoia e Yolanda", as written in the letter signed by the then Greek consul Typalde Forestis assigned in Venice.

Visiting the Peggy Guggenheim Collection of Venice, it is possible to admire the picture of Peggy Guggenheim by the balcony of one of our suites captured while she was typing alongside one of her beloved dogs. We have also a great fortune to have a photo of Mrs. Guggenheim taking a tea seated in our patio overlooking St. Marks’ Basin.

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