Imperiale Piano Nobile Venice

I have been to Venice a number of times and each time I visit I love the city even more than the last time. Thanks to its incredible beauty it never loses its capacity to enchant and this makes it one of my favourite travel destinations in the world. My latest visit to Venice was something quite incredible, surpassing all my other experiences there. We were kindly invited along by John Simpson, award-winning classical architect, and his wife Erica to stay at their meticulously renovated classical period property at Campo Santa Maria del Giglio. Read on and learn more about this incredible rental property in the heart of Venice.


John Simpson is a leading classical British architect, who rejected international modernism opting instead for classical architecture and design. John has a huge number of landmark projects to his name, such as the Queens Gallery at Buckingham Palace, redesigning the museum spaces at Kensington Palace, the East Courtyard project at The Royal College of London as well as a multitude of other global projects.

John and his wife Erica fell in love with Venice many years ago and nurtured their dream of owning a classical Venetian home for many years as their family grew up. In 2014 John and Erica found the ideal property and decided now was the time to embark upon their dream development project.

The Property History

The property is thought to have been originally built in the 1600’s with paintings of the time showing the property originally being just two stories with the upper stories being added in the 19th century. The property was originally built as a small palazzo by the Grimani family, which is thought to have been used as an entertaining space rather than living space, little is known about its official use over the following centuries.

In the 19th century, the building was passed onto the Musatti family, who John and Erica bought the property from, having been used since 1964 as the Bridge Club of Venice. The palazzo is a listed property which had been neglected for many years. Renovation work started in late 2014 and took three and a half years to complete.


Palazzo Grimani is located in Campo Santa Maria del Giglio, with the entrance directly across from the famous Gritti Palace hotel. Located just moments away from Piazza San Marco right you are right in the heard of Venice and incredibly conveniently, behind the apartment, is the Santa Maria del Giglio Vaporetto stop.

If you are flying into Venice, Venice Prestige can organise a water taxi to pick you up from the airport and take you directly to the apartment.

The Property

The apartment is on the paino noble (first floor), so two half sets of stairs lead up to the entrance. Once you open the doors you are transported to another regal world, this isn’t so much an apartment in Venice, rather a palace in Venice.

The entrance foyer runs the full length of the apartment with double height ceiling. Leading off the foyer are the bedrooms and kitchen, In front of you is the central salon.

The Salon

The Salon is incredible! I saw pictures of the property before John and Erica took it over and what an incredible job they have done with the restoration, it is as if it was always the way it was. The Salon walls are panelled with mirrors and fully restored stucchi detailing with a colour pallet matching how it would have originally looked. A grand piano sits to the left ready for a recital and furniture is upholstered in deep luxurious reds while extensive french windows give onto a long balcony with wonderful Grand Canal views to the right.

The Dining Room

Leading of the Salon and also accessed from the Foyer is the formal dining room, with ceiling fresco by Cedini and stunning chandelier positioned over the dining table. Walls, like the Salon, are panelled with mirrors and original stucchi depicting musical instruments all of which have been full restored. Completing the room are incredible terrazzo flooring.

We ate out two of the nights while we were there, but with such a beautiful dining room and well thought out kitchen eating in is a must too.

Master Bedroom

To the right of the entrance foyer a small interior hall leads off to the master bedroom and second bedroom. The master bedroom looks out to the Campo at the front of the property and features a stunning canopied four poster bed draped in swags of blue silk. The walls are finished with stucchi detailing and beautiful original artwork sourced by John and Erica. A large en suite bathroom leads off the bedroom and corrects back to the entrance foyer.

Bedroom Two

The second bedroom which faces the back of the property is as regal as the first, with terrazzo flooring, and delightful artwork on the wall. This bedroom has the most ingeniously disguised toilet that is accessed by opening a mahogany wardrobe. The shower sits on the mezzanine floor above the bedroom.

The mezzanine bathroom runs the length of the bedroom with marble double sinks and small anti room complete with chaise lounge and a gigantic marble walk in shower room.

Bedroom Three

The third bedroom is on the opposite side of the property, smaller than the other two bedrooms however it makes up for this with its own large dressing room, complete with marble shower room and toilet.


Overlooking the dining room is a small snug/library that has its own shower room and below the library is a further communal toilet.


The kitchen really is a home from home, with large range style gas hob and oven, dishwasher, microwave , fridge and freezer. As well as plenty of cutlery and dinner-wear to entertain an army of guests if you are entertaining.

Final Thoughts

It takes a lot for me to gush about a property, but what John and Erica have done at Imperiale Piano Nobile is nothing short of incredible. It’s a beautiful apartment, there are plenty of luxury hotels in Venice, but if you want to truly immerse yourself in the city and Venitian life, then Palazzo Grimani is the perfect place to be.

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