ISOLA SANTA CRISTINA, VENICE
One of the most historic and beautiful islands in the Venetian lagoon, Isola Santa Cristina was once part of an archipelago known as Ammiana and, according to legend, named after Saint Christina whose body was secretly transported from Constantinople in 1325. The island, a 30-minute boat ride from the city, has been owned by the Swarovski family for many years and one of its younger members, Rene Deutsch, an Austrian businessman, and his wife Sandra recently opened it as an eco-friendly private hideaway and yoga retreat.
The 30-hectare island is home to organic apricot, plum and fig orchards, fish farms and vineyards. In the nine-bed room villa, filled with the couple’s private art collection, larch-wood floors with white walls and chalky colours give it a smart, almost beach-house vibe and the bedrooms, with lofty larch ceilings, are peaceful spaces. There’s an outdoor fireplace and pool terrace, shady gazebos and a rooftop altana with views of the island’s private lake and the lagoon beyond. From here it’s a 10-minute boat ride to Bura no and its famous lace-making museum, or to Torcello with its Byzantine cathedral. For a night out, go to Venissa, the restaurant on Mazzorbo, for mazzancolle, or Da Celeste on Pellestrina for its fried catch of the day.