Venice Lido

Sea, Jet Set life and...golf

Venice LidoIf you have chosen Venice as your next holiday destination, consider of staying at Venice Lido during the summertime, taking advantage of its beaches after a full day of culture.

Book your stay at Venice Lido through VeneziaSì.

The island offers beautiful structures to satisfy every need, from luxury hotels to cosy and welcoming structures right along the sea.

 

The island of Lido stretches just opposite Venice for approximately 12 km between Malamocco and Lido harbour entrances.

The island had not been much populated until the 19th century, with the exception of Malamocco; at the two edges of the island (especially the northern part) there were only the forts controlling the access to the Lagoon. Up North, near the convent of S. Nicolo’, there were a fortress and a big military zone surrounded by walls, which have now disappeared. The rest of the island consisted of agricultural lands crossed by canals.
From the second half of the 19th century, the discovery of “baths”, the therapeutical properties of the sea climate, the proximity to Venice and the beauty of the sandy shores turned Venice Lido into a seaside resort and a center of cosmopolitan jet set life. Such features still link its fame to the memories of its magnificent past.

The island offers a lot of attractions: some areas of the 18th-19th century center are rich in Art Nouveau and  Art Deco samples. In some of the less known areas of the island one can admire some of the very first functionalist architecture examples existing in Venice.  In addition, Venice Lido displays a lot of important signs of its most ancient history: the historical center of San Nicolo’, with the homonymous convent and the remains of the fort of San Nicolo’; the historical center of Malamocco, with a particular and well-preserved fabric of the city, the former Punta fort, at Alberoni, on the Southern part of the Island, dominating Malamocco harbour entrance.
The shores of the island feature 18th-century “Murazzi”, a set of defence dykes, which stretch from the area of Alberoni to the area in front of the Casino.

Here, some time back, one could find the ancient fort of Quattro Fontane (first half of the 19th century). This was substituted in the 30’s by modern buildings such as the Casino and the Cinema Palace, which are the perfect places for the many cultural and jet-set-life events in town; the most important one is the Cinema Exhibition.

The architecture in the center of the island is rich in Art Nouveau buildings and green areas. The main street of communication is Gran Viale Santa Maria Elisabetta, a large boulevard dotted with trees that crosses the island perpendicularly, from the lagoon to the sea. Some canals cross this area, dividing the Lido into sub-islands similarly to other areas of the lagoon.
The old center of Santa Maria Elisabetta faces the lagoon and still displays several buildings of the late 19th century, as well as the homonymous church. In this area, just alongside the lagoon, one can find the Votive Temple, a world memorial built after World War I and where the body of Nazario Sauro now rests. 

Walking along San Nicolo’ Riviera, sided by Art Nouveau buildings, one can get to San Nicolo’ area where the biggest defence of the island is located ( Ridotto del Lido); here, it is also possible to admire the ancient church that was re-built in the 17th century. There, on the Ascension Day, the Serenissima Republic of Venice would celebrate the “Sposalizio del Mare”, a ceremony that is still celebrated every year in May. 
On the opposite side of the island, by the sea, lies the “Lungomare”, a very beautiful promenade consisting of a long boulevard along the beach, dotted with cluster-pines. This boulevard leads from the area of the Former Hospital (Ospedale al Mare), in San Nicolo’, to the area of Murazzi.

The beach of Lido is famous for its natural sand dunes and its crystal water, made such by the protection of the two outer dykes of San Nicolo’ (up North) and Alberoni (down South). Many other dykes called “pennelli” are located near the beach, facing each bathing establishment.
There are many different opportunities at Venice Lido, from the free access beaches of San Nicolo’ and Alberoni-whose main feature is the natural habitat of the ancient sand dunes, to the cliffs of “Murazzi” and the bathing establishment of the central part of the island. Here, one can find the typical “capanne”, namely cabins with an external veranda and a tent added to a closed structure and painted with the typical colours of the bathing establishment to which they belong.
The first bathing establishment dates back to 1857: the central part of the island started to get crowded with visitors, and soon its nickname became “Isola d’Oro” (Golden Island).

But Venice Lido also means golf: according to a legend, the president of Ford car factory Henry Ford was the one who gave life to a golf pitch at Venice Lido. He landed at Hotel Excelsior in 1928, carrying his clubs and golf bag with him, and he soon found out that neither Venice nor Venice Lido had a pitch where he could play golf. Such sport was already common at that time in the USA, but not very well known in Italy yet.
He soon expressed his disappointment to his friend, Count Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata, the President of CIGA (Grand Hotel Italian Company) at that time. Ford convinced him to find a place at Venice Lido where they could design a smart golf pitch, equal to the already existing structures of the island.
On the other hand, Count Volpi would give life to the first International Festival of Music in 1930. in 1932, he inaugurated the first Cinema Festival and in 1934 the first Theatre Festival. Such cultural events still take place every year or every two years.
On the occasion of the Cinema Exhibition, which features movie stars from all over the world every summer, the best actor and best actress awards have been named after him since the first edition, “Coppa Volpi”.

Ford and Volpi chose the area of Alberoni, on the Southern part of Venice Lido, near Malamocco harbour entrance: an area of 100 hectares whose natural features were similar to Scottish links, where sand and wind would make Italian golf equal to British traditions.
In 1928 the works started under the supervision of the Scottish Architect Cruikshank. The structure was built around an ancient Austrian fortification, built for the defence of Venice and still existing. Nearby, military lodgins and horse studs still represent the heart of the Club House.
Cruikshank designed the first nine holes, finally creating an intriguing par 35. The opening in 1930 was followed by a week of competitions. The first 25 people who became members of the new Club took part to the competitions; they were part of noble families of the Venetian aristocracy.

The place hosted many important events throughout the years, and many famous people would attend it. In 1934, for instance, Hitler and Mussolini met there. Tullio Scarso, the first golf coach at the Golf Club, reports that other personalities like Henry Cotton, the Duke of Windsor or the actor Bing Crosby showed their skills on the challenging gulf pitch of Venice Lido.
After the war, golf started to spread over Italy, too. For this reason, it was necessary to extend the area of the pitch, and Architect C.K. Cotton created a project in which nine more holes were added, giving life to a challenging par 72.


After the 1966 flood, which forced to close the wells who drew water from the artesian layer, some small lakes were created. They were true baisins for the irrigation of the pitch, and they were located at hole 11 and 13. A smaller baisin was located between the two. Important events took one after the other: Italy Open in 1955, 1960 and 1974, and 2005, 2006 and 2007 Open Seniors edition.

Very important players showed their abilities on the pitch: from Arnold Palmer (the record holder, 5 under par!) to Severiano Ballesteros, Tony Jacklin, Lee Treviso, and Baldovino Dassù. The pitch includes many different features: a wide selection of trees along the fairways make the game harder. Cluster pines, willow trees, poplar trees and mulberry trees keep the pitch green and practicable every day of the year. Moreover, the sandy and self-draining ground absorbs even the heaviest rains in a very short time. Bora and sirocco winds, which can change the game tactics very quickly, together with the obstacles represented by the holes themselves make Venice Golf one of the most challenging and glamorous pitches of Italy.

Several different animal species live in this area, such as herons, pheasants, ducks and nutrias.
Hole 9 is still the most original one. A blind par 3 built around a 19th century bastion; one can access the green from here by stepping over a water obstacle located in front of it.   

 

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