The History of Venice Lido
“Do not leave without visiting first the Lido of Venice, the new beach resort “Bagni Alberoni-Lido", claimed one of the first ads presenting the tourist area of the now internationally renowned Lido of Venice.
As comes clear from its history and its many features, the ocean sites and beach facilities, not too far away from the hustle of Venice, made the fortune of this strip of sandy land.
A transformation begun in the late 1800, brought the Lido to be compared to important European beach destinations as Biarritz or Ostend, and was example of the successful mix of initiative, inspiration and passion by few business men who turned the island into a complete wellness destination.
In 1873 the beach property, founded by Cav. Busetto in 1857, began to see strong growth of presences with 160,000 admissions from all over Europe and the consequent improvement of services and facilities. Less than 10 years later the “Società Laguna di Venezia”- “Steam Navigation” created the regular 24 hours service by steam boat between Venice and the Lido.
The charme of the island went far beyond the idea of a “a la mode” beach resort; sanctuary for leading world literature writers as Lord Byron and Thomas Mann who chose it as their home, the Lido started to feature architectural itineraries: the building of several buildings involved personalities such as Torres, Perez, Conrad and Del Giudice, representatives of Liberty style, sometimes mixed with byzantine, neo-romanic, gothic, neo-eclectic.
With the opening of the private airport Nicelli at the beginning of the 1900, the image of the Lido was associated to Gabriele D’Annunzio, brave aviator, who promoted it throughout Europe.
Nevertheless it’s with the Venice Film Festival (Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica della Biennale di Venezia) that Lido got its definitive consacration. Founded by Count Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata, was the first international event of this kind, receiving strong support by authorities.
The first edition took place in 1932 on the terrace of the Hotel Excelsior but at that time it was not a competition: movies were just presented to the public but already from the first edition titles included Proibito from the great movie director Frank Capra, Grand Hotel by Edmund Goulding, Il Campione by King Vidor, the first and inimitable Frankenstein by James Whale, The Devil to Pay! by George Fitzmaurice, Gli Uomini che mascalzoni…by Mario Camerini and A me la libertà by Renè Clair.
Standing personalities were the actors performing on the big screen in the presented movies, so that the Festival became even more popular than expected with more than twenty five thousand viewers: Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Fredric March, Wallace Beery, Norma Shearer, James Cagney, Ronald Colman, Loretta Young, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, without forgetting the Italian idol Vittorio De Sica and the great Boris Karloff, who went down in history with his role as the monster in the first Frankenstein.
Year after year, edition after edition, key players of high-society and jet-set lived and still live special moments entering the doorstep of the Hotel Excelsior: still today the Venice Film Festival attracts every year thousands of visitors, movie enthusiasts, life-style lovers.