Linen Brand Once Milano’s Insider Guide to Venice, Italy

Once Milano founders Allegra Marchiorello and Valeria Piovesana Thompson share their insider guide to a weekend in The Floating City.

The best part of staying at a nice hotel is often the bed - particularly those made up with crisp linen sheets. Transporting those sumptuous sheets to our homes, Once Milano has its bedding recipe - a modern interpretation of traditional linen - down to a fine art.

Once Milano founders Allegra Marchiorello and Valeria Piovesana Thompson, now rattle off collections made by skilled artisans in Venice, which include bed and table linen, kitchen and bathroom accessories as well as a burgeoning range of lounge wear, bags and pochettes. A sophisticated colour wheel of brick reds, inky blues and dusty pinks dominate Once Milano's linen cupboards - influenced as much by the Dorsoduro district and the Venice Giardini parkland as by the city's skyline at sunset.

Clad in our custom-made, pipe-trim PJs, we rest our head on our macrame-fringed Once Milano pillowcases and dream of a recent weekend spent in The Floating City.

The best day to arrive in town is…

Thursday, so that you can enjoy a performance at Teatro La Fenice - one of Italy's finest opera houses.

Where should we stay when in town?

Aman Venice and The Gritti Palace are both incredibly special.

Where is the Once Milano studio based?

Our production house, in the Veneto region, is one hour north of Venice. The area is known for its specialist artisans and skilled craftsmen.

What hotels or eateries in Venice use your products?

None at present, but we are in talks with a hotelier on Giudecca island.

Where are the best spots for shopping Italian homewares in Venice?

Fondaco dei Tedeschi. Housed in a historic building dating back to 1228, the department store stocks locally made products alongside labels including Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Brioni.

Must-visit markets…

For food lovers, Mercati di Rialto bursts with fresh produce - from piles of peaches and cherries to artichokes and red chicory from Treviso. It's a really lively place to visit, bustling with tourists and locals alike. Fruit, vegetables and fish are strictly seasonal. For shoppers, Fondaco dei Tedeschi - set in a stunning Renaissance building, which has one of the most beautiful rooftops in Venice - is a must visit.

Favourite city districts worth exploring…

Dorsoduro and around the Giardini (where the main exhibit of the Venice Biennale art festival is set).

For a slice of history head to…

San Marco (home to iconic sights like St Mark's Basilica, the Doge's Palace and the Bridge of Sighs), il Ghetto, the Santa Maria della Salute and many more. Every inch of Venice reveals history, art, culture and beauty.

What's the city's dress code?

Casual. Unless you go to a ball…

Where's good for lunch?

Naranzaria, a sweet little restaurant in a renovated palazzo that serves Asian and Venetian tapas, plus cocktails. It's a beautiful spot with gorgeous views. It's a cliché but

Harry's Bar, the legendary 30s bar known as the birthplace of the bellini cocktail, is also a must-visit.

How about a romantic dinner?

Antiche Carampane.

Other food spots to try…

Fondamenta dei Ormesini - grab a table outside.

For after dinner drinks head to…

B Bar at the Bauer Hotel is always fun.

Where should we head post-party?

To bed, between softly crumpled Once Milano sheets.

At Once Milano's core is the concept of slowing down. Where can we go in the city for a change of pace?

Travel to the back of the laguna by boat at sunset. Sit with a glass of prosecco in hand and look at the city with its twinkly lights as you listen to the sound of the water.

How is a Sunday best spent here?

Travelling by boat from place to place, seeing friends and going to an exhibit or a museum.

For Sunday brunch book a table at…

On the terrace at The Gritti Palace.

One place only locals know about…


Where should we explore beyond the city?

The islands surrounding Venice, for sure. Go to San Giorgio and look at San Marco from there.

Underrated spots worth a visit…

The Lido di Venezia is wonderful not only during the Venice festival and summer, but also for a change of scenery.

One book to read before we go…

Death in Venice by Thomas Mann.

What key pieces do you always pack when travelling?

A Once Milano linen tasseled throw and pyjama set.

A souvenir to bring home…

Venini glasses and a Venetian mask decorated with Murano pearls.

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