Hotel Santa Chiara is located in a building that has been part of Venetian history for the last five centuries. Part of the main building (the older section) is what remains of an old monastery – more specifically, a nunnery for the Orsoline sisters. The convent was partially dismantled during the years as to make room for the Rio Novo canal, as well as to give Piazzale Roma square more room for roads. This means the building is actually older than the canal itself, as the latter was dug at the beginning of the 20th century!
Venice was not always reachable by vehicle: the bridge connecting the city to the mainland was only built during the early 20th century. From that moment onward, Piazzale Roma took on a new role, becoming the only place in Venice to be reachable by car, along with Tronchetto island.
In more recent times, the history of Piazzale Roma reached another milestone with its newest addition, the Constitution bridge (also known as the Calatrava bridge, after the name of the architect who designed it). Along with the bridge, new buildings were erected: the newer wing of the hotel, of the same white marble the bridge is made out of; the new courthouse, on the opposite side of the square; the new monorail line with its angular platform roof and the "People moover". These buildings are part of the new face of Venice, a more modern side to an old city with a rich history. Accordingly, Venetians themselves have contrasting opinions on the matter… which is fitting, in a way, and a bit poetic.
The Hotel exists since 1938. Originally a simple inn, it was purchased in the 80s by the Dazzo family, who undertook to perform a first round of repairs and renovations, after which the establishment became a 3-star hotel. Thirty-odd years later, the newer wing was built, along with an underground parking garage, the only one of its kind in Venice. The older section of the building was then renovated, taking care to respect its rich and storied history.