The head of the four property Bauers Hotel Group is the “best connected woman” in Venice. Francesca Bortolotto Possati is a native of the city and the granddaughter of Arnaldo Bennati, a Liguarian shipbuilder and “Onassis-like figure” who purchased the Bauer Hotel in 1930. A patron of the arts and a leading member of Save Venice Inc., Bortolotto is a divorced mother of two and began her career as an estate agent and interior designer. She’s undoubtedly one of the most important ladies to know in this part of Italy and of women in business in Venice, in 2010, told Departures magazine: “Women have an important role in Venice. They always have. Especially in art and business. Perhaps that is the legacy of the courtesan – remember, the courtesan had the power. She chose who she would be with. That is the power. And this, I think, is the DNA of Venice: strong women”.