I first mentioned my apartment back in this post. Now that I've actually stayed in it, I thought I would update all of you (and include some video), and form the basis for my rental review for the site.
The apartment is located in the Cannaregio Sestieri of Venice (there are six and you can read more about them here, Venice Sestieri - the neighborhoods and where to stay. Specifically, it's in this area on this Google map. It's just off the Rio Terra della Madelena which becomes the Strada Nova.
View Venice Apartment - San Marcuola in a larger map
The entrance was right onto the calle so there is foot traffic going by.
It's maybe 10 minute walk from the train station but be warned, the way gets very crowded with people so in the thick of the day, it's hard making good time, and you have at least two bridges to go over (though the larger one does have semi-ramps for wheeled luggage - though they're on one side for going up and the other side going down, which forces you to cross the bridge at the top - I didn't get it).
I loved the convenience of being able to walk to the train station and being close to the vaporetto. The main drag was slightly too touristy for me, but once you moved off it, not at all (probably true for most of Venice). I also liked the convenience of so many shops and things nearby.
Really everything you need is within five minutes walk - wine bars, restaurants (though I didn't dine at any), a Billa Supermarket is on the Strada Nova, one bridge down, you're close to the San Marcuola vaporetto stop (Line 1) - maybe 3 minutes walk and if need be, a bit further to the Ca d'Oro vaporetto stop (also Line1), cafes, gelato, chotchkey shops, camera stores, bancomat. All within a few minutes.
Gosh, I do not know if the building was historical, I'd imagine it was old though (i.e., not built within at least the past 100 years). Though inside, everything was updated. There were definitely other apartments in the building, as I heard people above me and next to me (typical apartment noises). I do not know how many though. The apartment is showing a little wear - in the kitchen for example, there was a gouge out of the counter top, and a piece of molding was pulling away from the closet doors. None of this bothered me however.
I did take a bit of video of the place with my Flip camera.
I had visions of sitting out on that patio, sipping coffee, writing in my blog. The reality was different in only that I was so on the move this trip, I never seemed to have time to do that. It does seem very nice and quiet. Unfortunately, I also forgot to check to see if the WiFi reaches to the patio.
Overall, I did find the apartment clean. There was a bit of crumb (but I don't really think that's what it was - more like maybe paint flakes or stucco) on the dresser top but other than that I didn't notice anything else. I walk barefoot and totally didn't feel like there was dirt/dust on the floor and the countertops in the kitchen and bathroom were spotless so I'm inclined to believe that little bit of shmutz was an anomaly. The bed is really an open futon (it stays open) and there's no living space other than this and the small kitchen table and/or stools at the kitchen counter.
It's a studio apartment, so no bedroom per se. There's a separation between the kitchen area (opening) and the "bedroom" area but no doors to close. If my husband and I were both staying there, and I rose early, I'd have to sit at the kitchen table, counter or the patio to amuse myself (quietly) until he awoke. As I said, the bed is an open futon and I found it comfortable enough. You should know though, that your head rests against the wall that abuts the calle, and therefore, if people outside walk by loudly, or greet each other in the morning, you will hear it. When I wanted to sleep in, I wore my earplugs and it was fine.
On, and there's a media center on the opposite wall from the bed, large flat-screen TV and stereo system, but I never used them.
Lastly, there are drapes that cover the windows but not pull-down shades or shutters, so light does creep in around the cracks.
It's a good size with plenty of shelving for toiletries, a towel warmer, and decent towels (not those thin, scratchy ones) were provided. Two things to note about the bathroom though 1) there's no toilette paper holder (by the way, plenty of toilette paper was provided), so I just rested it on the bidet (this didn't bother me at all) 2) The ceiling over the shower is slanted. I'm short, so it was fine, but I wonder how Chris, with his six foot frame would manage.
The kitchen had a clothes washing machine, double sink, microwave, refrigerator, 5-burner stove top, oven, juicer, electric kettle and stove-top espresso maker (no American coffee machine that I saw). It had some fry pans, pots, a few wine glasses, regular glasses, plates, large mugs (good for my morning cafe latte and oatmeal). Other than scrambling some eggs, I really did not cook in the kitchen, so I can't comment as to its effectiveness. For my breakfasts, and some lunches, it worked just fine. The clothes washer seemed to work well too.
Once I figured out the key for the WiFi, it worked great.
I found the apartment on HomeAway but I did not work with the owner. Instead, I ended up dealing with an agent at Immobiliare Rio Alto s.r.l. which was fine with me. But there were two things I had to deal with that a newbie traveler may be uncomfortable with (and were a slight inconvenience to me). 1) Paola, the agent, could not meet me when I arrived on Sunday (had she though, I would have had to pay an extra €30 for an off-hour pick up anyway), so instead I had to travel to Trattoria San Toma (in the San Polo sestieri) to get my key and map to the apartment. Luckily, I was able to drop my gear at Shannon's apartment (and called the trattoria to make sure they were open), before I headed over on the vaporetto. On a Sunday afternoon, it was very crowded and the trip took me about 20 minutes there and longer for the return because I had to wait about 15 minutes for another boat. If I had been more familiar I probably could have walked it but not in much less time. In total, it took me about an hour for this excursion. And if I didn't have Shannon there, it could have been a pain dealing with my luggage. 2) Rather than coming to the apartment to show me around, Paola asked me to drop by her office on Via Garibaldi in Castello on Monday to make the payment. Again, that's about a 30 minute vaporetto ride each way on the Number 1 (or if you're like me and walk it, and get a bit turned around, about a 45 minute walk). I did find some welcome information in the apartment that appears to be older as there were a lot of cross-outs and hand-written updates to it (it could use a retyping), so it was up to me to figure out how things worked, like the aforementioned WiFi. Again, this was fine, but it may not fly with other people.
I paid €470 for five nights. They did not require a deposit (only a credit card number) and I paid the total amount in cash (there was a surcharge for using credit cards).
So given everything I mentioned, would I stay here again? Absolutely! It's a nifty little place, very comfortable for me alone. I liked the location. I liked the WiFi. I liked that it had a washing machine and a patio. I'm not sure if I'd stay here with Chris though, only because of the shower height, though I would like to give it a try.