I discovered that “Il Ridotto” , near Piazza San Marco, inside the Hotel Monaco and Grand Canal has re-opened to the public a few years ago. This place has a special meaning for me because my parents met there for the first time, and moreover it represents one of the most historic places of Venetian culture.
The ancient building was first leased in XVII century to the State, that made it a public casino. The placed opened in Carnival and was run by fallen nobility that forced everyone to wear a mask, excluding dealers.
Although the place had acquired European fame, it was closed repeatedly. In recent times the space hosted the Cinema Modernissimo and after that the Teatro del Ridotto, called like this for the few seats there were available in the room. The theater used to host very important acting companies and high level performances for wealthy people.
Now it is part of the Hotel Monaco and Canal Grande and it hosts special events (conferences, festivals, concerts and banquets), but if you ask at the reception you can still visit it for free: immediately upon entering, through a scenic internal staircase, you arrive to the main floor to get into a magnificent central hall surrounded by eight other locations. The walls and ceiling reveal rich decorations in imitation of colored marble, with mirrors and elaborate festoons of flowers, ribbons, scrolls and shells in stucco.