Ausonia Hungaria: A Centennial Hotel Reopens at Lido di Venezia
By Massimo Terracina
The Lido di Venezia, an island 12.5 km long and 700 meters wide, is the bathing area of the “Serenissima Republic”, where it once housed an hidden, discrete, utterly upscale hospitality, so much so that, even today, the Venice Film Festival uses the Lido as a stage, strongly supported and founded by the legendary Ciga Hotel chain.
Nowadays, one of the heritage of that gone age is the Ausonia Hungaria Hotel, an immortal example of art decò, from a project of Nicolò Piamonte, an architect, which has been acquired by Venetian hotel group Russo, with the result of a rebirth of the hotel with a completely unchanged appeal.
Hungaria, named after the Hungarian guests among which Venice Lido was very popular, bringing so many tourists from that country for a vacation here, got the name Ausonia back in the 1920s, from the ancient name of Italy. History tells us that the hotel was inaugurated in 1907 and in 1913 the ceramics from Bassano del Grappa, very well known for the tiles, Luigi Fabris, presented to the Municipality a project to cover the facade, as we see it today, with 800 square meters of polychrome majolica of different sizes and types, with ocher and aqua colored vegetable motifs, fruits, garlands and flowers, cherubs and female figures, to represent Venice and Hungary which, ideally, came together to give life to this amazing artistic achievement.
Wars and various vicissitudes darkened the essence of the prestigious hotel which, in 2007, "came back to life" thanks to the foresight of Teodoro Russo, master of the structure restoration and of the 7,000 tiles of the wall decoration.
The original structure was born in the late 19th century as a two-storey villa, with a rounded profile and, as reported by the Gazzettino di Venezia, "in just 4 months it was expanded" to become the hotel it has returned to be today, after having been through so many drawbacks that have also seen the property go through a phase of decline.
Those were the times when “beach mood” started to be all the rage, giving the Lido an important phase of development.
With its 60 rooms, this 5-star luxury hotel, which has kept most of its charm intact with a restyling of the houses, maintains a sober but functional style. The rooms are divided into 10 "Cozy", 24 Superior, 13 De luxe, 12 Junior suites and, above all, the enveloping Amazing Suite, on the top floor of the tower.
The external architecture has been since then enriched, in 2018, by another great external work: the largest wall in Europe (400 square meters) of Murano glass tiles by Joe Tilson, a modern interpretation that matches perfectly with the classicism of the original facade to which it acts as a counterbalance.
Another interesting aspect concerning all high-class hotels is wellness, and in this particular case it shows off quite a lot.
“We have an agreement with the Thai government to host therapists who have graduated from our Lanna Gaia wellness center,” explains Daniele Del Zotto, the hotel’s general manager. “This places our spa at a higher level, because the investment in the extreme professionalism of the operators coming from the Lanna Thai Academy in Bangkok is very important to us.”
In addition to being a place to stay, the Ausonia Hungaria is now a meeting place, thanks to its bars and restaurants, the spaces dominated by the wonderful background of majolica and Murano glass. There are two bars inside the hotel: The Mode and 28.5, two pulsating centers for socialites.
The Mode is the bar-restaurant that offers a native food concept, precisely with the delicacies of the Lagoon and an Italian cuisine, enriched with innovative and contemporary passion. Breakfast in the Orangerie, at Natyve, on the ground floor of the hotel, is a priceless ritual to start the day in the best possible way, while 28.5, with a fantastic view of the lagoon, is nestled on the panoramic terrace; here you can dine or enjoy a cocktail, in the perfect "rooftop" style.
The outdoor swimming pool gives a touch of intimacy just a few steps from the main avenue, but in an environment protected from clamor.
And then, to remember the movie inspiring art, many objects related to it are scattered around the corners of the hotel, coupled with a photo gallery in the corridors with pictures belonging to the Accademia del Cinema, hanged from the walls to celebrate iconic moments of filmmaking cherished as everlasting mementos through the splendor of the Lido.