It may sound a little strange to admit but I love to be proven wrong. I find it kind of thrilling to have my beliefs turned on their head and to experience a subsequent shift in perspective – it’s the fundamental reason why I love to travel. The best kind of travel often challenges our perceptions about a place and helps us learn something new about the world, mankind and, ultimately, ourselves. It’s this feeling of wonder that spurs me to keep exploring: I often tell people I’m proverbially digging for gold in Italy and each time I resurface with more treasure, insights and questions, I’m invigorated by how much more there is to discover. The Bel Paese may be one of the most visited countries in the world but it’s filled with secrets: perhaps we just need to learn to travel better.
The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.
William Butler Yeats
Take Venice for example. I had long associated La Serenissima with its Gothic architecture, manmade canals and well-worn facades but as I’ve ventured deeper into the lagoon during each visit, I’ve uncovered a different kind of magic that extends beyond its manmade masterpieces: Venice is home to vineyards (more than one!), fields of violet artichokes, olive groves, pheasants, pink flamingos, herons and more. The lagoon is more wild that I every realized and its many sparsely inhabited islands remain distinct, yet united, by their sheer improbability of existence.
One of the most idyllic islands in the Venice Lagoon is Isola Santa Cristina, a private island located north in the lagoon, just past the colorful fishing houses of Burano and the 11th century Basilica of Torcello. The 30-acre estate can only be reached via private transfer, offering its guests the allure of a remote retreat a short boat ride away from the main attractions in Venice. This natural paradise is full of wildlife, orchards and fishing valleys and feels largely untouched by man over the centuries – save for an ancient brick chapel at the edge of the island that seems to exist outside of time or place.
Isola Santa Cristina belongs to Sandra and René Deutsch, part of the Swarovski family, who sought to create a luxurious, ecological sanctuary for visitors in the Venice Lagoon. The 9-bedroom Villa Ammiana is the focal point on the island and boasts a pool, gazebo, indoor and outdoors patios and comfortable common areas that inspire rest and relaxation. The property also features many elements sourced, and inspired, by Eastern philosophy: the Austrian couple spent several years living in an Ashram in Australia and yoga remains an important part of their daily lives. Isola Santa Cristina has two certified instructors on-site and can be booked for special events, company retreats and more.
With efforts underway to make the island fully self-sustainable thanks to its own fresh water sources, organic produce, honey bees and fishing farms, Isola Santa Cristina is an ideal retreat to nourish the mind, body and spirit. Its a place where guests can enjoy the luxury of tranquility and space in order to foster contemplation – all while remaining well connected to the rest of Venice and nearby European cities for a relaxing – and inspiring – city break.
Isola Santa Cristina
Isola Santa Cristina is located approximately 35 minutes from the Marco Polo airport in Venice. Private boat transfers are arranged for guests to reach the island.
+43 664 822 5080