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Isola Santa Cristina, one of the largest of some 70 islands in the Venetian lagoon, was until recently the private escape of the Swarovskis. But when the first family of crystal bestowed the property (including the palatial, three-story Villa Ammiana) to entrepreneur René Deutsch, step-son of Gernot Langes-Swarovski, and his wife, Sandra, the couple decided to reinvent the retreat—and its impressive 75 surrounding acres—as a sustainable, and stylish, business. Villa Ammiana, formerly styled as a Swiss chalet, has undergone a total transformation that was unveiled in October 2016: Its once heavy-handed hallways now give way to rounded, wood-framed archways, undercut by blond wood floors and chic, equally-muted furnishings. The home almost begs for a party—there are nine spacious bedrooms, each with an en suite bathroom, as well as a fully-equipped gourmet kitchen, an Art Deco library, and a panoramic terrace for dining and relaxing—though one of the many perks of this island rental is not having to plan it (or clean it up) yourself. Guests can either request the services of a private local chef, butler service, or event planner, or can opt to book the grounds autonomously and do all the heavy lifting themselves. From the teak deck of the poolside, you can see the Dolomite mountains and nearby islands of Burano and Torcello (the former being a fishing village famous for lace, brightly-painted doors and quaint eateries; the latter a medieval town with one of the best restaurants in the region, Locanda Cipriani); though rest assured, guests can enjoy complete privacy on the island amid a shelter of fig and apricot orchards, a fish farm, assorted vegetable patches, and an expansive vineyard (from which the island produces its own vintage, of course). Either way, the island—which takes just thirty minutes to circumnavigate—is entirely theirs. A bonus? All rentals come with a private boat and driver for lagoon cruising, island hopping, or trips to Venice, just a leisurely 20-minute ride away—a perfect jumping-off point for vacationers and Biennale-goers alike who crave a little post-soirée paradise. —Andrew Cotto
Published on Condé Nast Traveler: ISOLA SANTA CRISTINA