“‘That’s the hotel where we’re stopping at, Jackson,'” says Richard Cantwell, the gruff, battle-scarred hero of Ernest Hemingway’s Across the River and Into the Trees. With his military driver, the officer is on a boat on the Grand Canal, pulling up to the dock of the Gritti Palace Hotel.
“The Colonel indicated the three story, rose coloured, small, pleasant place abutting on the Canal. […] It was probably the best hotel, if you did not wish to be fawned on, or fussed over, or over-flunkied, in a city of great hotels, and the Colonel loved it.”
For ‘the Colonel’, it would be easy enough to substitute ‘Hemingway’: in all his visits to the lagoon city, the author made this Venetian classic his base. He had his favourite room, his favourite table in the restaurant overlooking the Grand Canal, his favourites on the restaurant’s menu and a host of adoring staff members who may not have over-flunkied but who indulged his every whim – for privacy, and for being at the centre of attention.