Tucked away on the seven-mile barrier island known as the Lido, an astounding hotel sits just outside of Venice. Designed by architect Nicholo Piamonte, the hotel was built in 1907 and welcomed celebrities and royals from all over Europe. Originally called the Hungaria Palace Hotel, the height of Hungarian society frequented the accommodation. Visitors traveled to Lido using railroads and ferry routes that connected the vast Astro-Hungarian Empire.
Ceramist Luigi Fabris and his young apprentice Doro Sebellin from Bassano del Grappa, Italy, finished the building’s multicolored ceramic facade in 1913. The extensive ceramic tile facade faced the bustling Gran Viale, Lido’s busiest street.
After World War I, the hotel’s name was changed to the Ausonia (with Hungaria being added back sometime later).
The tiles themselves featured fruit, vegetables, flowers, puttos, and female personifications of Venice and Hungary. In 1945, retreating Nazi soldiers used the female figures, which are near the top of the facade, for target practice.
The clientele over the years has included Prince Edward (later to become, for a short time, Edward VIII of England), Sarah Churchill (actor and Winston Churchill’s daughter), Claudia Cardinale (famous for many roles but notably for The Pink Panther opposite David Niven), and Jerry Lewis. It is still common for many famous film stars, directors, and producers to stay here during the Venice Film Festival.
Know Before You Go
Just opposite the hotel is the Garbisa Bar, which does a fantastic lemon margarita.
Boat 5.1 from Venice's main railway station is one of several which will get you to Lido then just walk as if you are taking the shortest route to the beach. You will see the Ausonia Hungaria on your right.