If we know the date of birth of an island, then that island becomes a person we care about, a part of the earth that is our friend. The Island of Roses, the youngest in the Venetian lagoon, was born in 1870. Its position, halfway between the lagoon and the sea, has endowed this magnificent garden of 16 hectares with a special microclimate. In fact a fresh and salutary breeze blows on the Isola delle Rose, already Mediterranean as a result of the play of marine currents, which has stimulated the growth of plants rare in Venice, such as the olive, and suggested the setting up of a clinic for respiratory diseases at the beginning of the 20th century.
In 1914 the Isola delle Rose received its first patients. The same years saw the opening of the house of the clinic’s director, in a Romanesque Revival style, and the cavana, a typically Venetian covered shelter for boats. The clinic, closed during the First World War, was re-opened in 1920 with the addition of new buildings, including the church and the Dopolavoro, or working men’s club.
In 1936 the Isola delle Rose was visited by Victor Emanuel III, an event recorded in an Istituto Luce newsreel and to which the royal coat of arms at the entrance still bears witness. Everywhere tranquillity, light and the freshness and splendour of the vegetation hold sway, in the gardens that line the shores, in the great park behind the hotel and in the hundreds of roses that scent the air. The people of the Isola delle Rose live in harmony with nature, to the point where the ‘island’ economy is self-sufficient. The soil, rich in nutrients, sustains vegetable gardens, orchards and even an olive grove with around a hundred trees.
In 1980 the clinic closed down for good. The only person left to watch over the gardens and the rose beds was a Capuchin friar, Padre Policarpo. When he too was obliged to depart, all that remained on the island was the beauty of his name. The Greek word polykarpos means rich in fruit, and by extension creative. Bearing fruit and creating beauty, that is what happens every day at our resort.