As we walk along the dimly lit, tight cobblestone pathways of some of Venice’s oldest and slightly grungy streets in search of the Aman hotel, it’s puzzling to think an opulent Italian palazzo of grandeur is anywhere nearby.

After first walking straight past the mighty old-world gates, we find our way back to the subtle entrance, press the buzzer and stroll down the pebble path to the majestic 16th-century Baroque building, curious about the evening ahead.

If there’s one thing the Venetians do impeccably, it’s construct awe-inspiring palazzos dripping in splendour and filled with rich history. Arva is no exception.

While many Aman Venice guests enjoy the characteristically Italian fine dining experience at Arva (‘cultivated land’), the hotel’s restaurant is open to everyone – if you can find it.

Lofty ceilings finished with intricate fresco art, sweeping marble staircases, magnificent ancient sculptures, ornamental marble fireplaces, a grand piano, traditional chandelier with 30 twinkling lights and walls wrapped in genuine gold silk make for a welcoming reception as the gentle hum from an acoustic musician fills the intimate restaurant.

As we sit overlooking the Grand Canal, Arva’s Deputy Manager Bartolomeo Fusco shares the incredible history behind the eminently ornate and extravagant palace, which was completed in 1570 as Palazzo Papadopoli and refurbished by Aman Resorts in 2013.

Having been home to some of the world’s leading aristocrats, politicians and royals – none of which Mr Fusco would be drawn to name – it’s little surprise the luxury hotel is now widely regarded as one of the best hotels in the City of Bridges.

If there’s one thing the Venetians do impeccably, it’s construct awe-inspiring palazzos dripping in splendour and filled with rich history. Arva is no exception.

Having read about the blending traditional Italian family recipes with sustainably sourced seasonal produce to create uncomplicated yet hearty dishes, my expectations are high. And from the moment our first course of focaccia alle patate, prosciutto San Daniele melts in my mouth, I know we’re in for an unforgettably glorious ride.

The pillowy potato-dough focaccia, which has a light, crispy crust and fluffy inside, is served with generous lashings of San Daniele prosciutto. It’s simple, elegant and utterly delicious. The empty plate is a bittersweet sight – no more buttery focaccia, but a plethora of Italian delicacies are to follow.

Aman Venice, Arva

For those with a weakness for cured meats, look no further than the carpaccio di Fassona al coltello e salsa bernese (Fassona beef carpaccio with Parmigiano Reggiano and Bérnaise sauce). A bed of paper-thin slices of the Fassona beef are laid across the Bérnaise-dotted plate, topped with liberal shavings of cheese. The Parmigiano Reggiano is so sharp it cuts through the fatty beef as the buttery French sauce wraps the harmonious flavours together.

And it wouldn’t be an Italian feast without traditional artisanal Italian pasta – and lots of it.

Spaghettoro rafano, cacio e pepe (spaghetti with pecorino, cracked black pepper and horseradish) may seem like a humble, unassuming dish, but it’s like nothing I’ve ever tasted.

A delicate mound of spaghetti dripping in a creamy cheese sauce fills my plate. With each spoonful there’s an explosion of flavour; the zest of fresh tomato, tenuous hint of spice, and creaminess of Pecorino cheese beautifully swathes dainty twines of pasta.

The traditional rich Roman dish is made with just three ingredients. With no room for error, the challenge comes in balancing the flavours immaculately.

My dinner guest opts for beef pappardelle. Oozing a smoky, full-bodied taste, the tender beef cheeks effortlessly swim in the decadent sauce and melt with every bite.

To cleanse our palates from the rich main courses, we share a raspberry and peach gelato paired with a sweet botanical dessert wine, which our waiter describes as being typical to the region.

What makes Arva so magically unforgettable is its focus on authentic dishes executed with expertise and brimming with golden flavour; trend-led creations have no place here.

Of course, the extravagant meal doesn’t end there. An array of petit fours graces our table; mixed berry jelly, blonde chocolate, polenta with handpicked grapes and, my personal favourite, dark chocolate ganache with lemongrass.

What makes Arva so magically unforgettable is its focus on authentic dishes executed with expertise and brimming with golden flavour; trend-led creations have no place here.

Between the hearty three-course meal, matching wines, atmospheric live acoustic singer and quintessential Grand Canal view, the inspiring heritage Italian feast is everything and more than what you would expect from dining at a five-star heritage palazzo.

Getting lost in Venice is predestined, and where better than at one of the city’s oldest palazzos. Just be sure it’s on an empty stomach.