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October 1, 2013updated Jul 13, 2016



Really, these European pedigrees can be very difficult to understand. Take Count Gilberto Carbonello Tiberto Maria Arrivabene-Valenti-Gonzaga and his wife Bianca, who in her own right is Princess Bianca Irene Olga Elena Isabella Fiorenza Maria of Savoy.

Her mother is Princess Claude of Orléans, sister of Prince Henri, Count of Paris and claimant to the French throne. Her father is son of Princess Irene of Greece and Prince Aimone, whom some recognized as King Tomislav II of Croatia.

The Count and Countess of Arrivabene now live, with their five children, on the top floor of the sumptuous Palazzo Papadopoli on Venice’s Grand Canal. The lower six floors, which they have leased to Aman Resorts, opened on June 1 as the amazing and unique Aman Canal Grande Venice.

Arrive by boat, straight to the hotel’s dock, and find all public areas and 24 bedrooms characterized by high-high frescoed, gilded, and molded ceilings paired with lavish chandeliers and designer Jean-Michel Gathy’s signature sleekness.

Those who have been to, say, One & Only Reethi Rah in the Maldives, or The Setai in South Beach, know that Gathy does not do clutter. Here he has gone for pale mushroom and mole-gray tones, soft woods, and Rubelli fabrics.

More good news: Venice’s Marco Polo Airport has a dedicated private jet terminal so you do not get caught up in the hubbub of the growing number of full scheduled flights (Emirates has two daily flights out of Dubai, for instance).

Unlike some other iconic Venice hotels, Aman Canal Grande is open year-round. Be sure to book a canal-facing room. General Manager Olivia Richli, a creative genius, has arranged such specialist-escorted tours as private visits to Renaissance or modern art collections, or, at night, ghost walks or a chocolate lock-in at a local artisan manufacturer.

If it is French, and not Italian, indulgence that tickles the palate, Stéphane Tillement is your man. His company, Wine Tour in France, can arrange entrée into any top Michelin-starred restaurant, and drive you or fly you there and back. He is also into wines: La Baronne Philippine de Rothschild recently reopened Château Mouton Rothschild with a dinner for 400 and Monsieur Tillement was, of course, on the exclusive guest list.

Tillement can get you into any top house privately, but you do need to give him at least a month to plan your trip, as, for each brand on the itinerary, he needs to propose a “business plan” justifying your behind-the-scenes access.

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Even better, why not mix in a bit of retail reconnaissance, say a bespoke visit to Hermès or Louis Vuitton, in Paris? You will, again, need to give Tillement a month’s notice.

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