Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1056: Visit Venice, Apartment
2bed/1bath apartment in Cannaregio, Venice
July 2004, one week
It's near the end of the Cannaregio canal, an easy walk or boat ride from the train station or Piazzale Roma. There are two nearby vaporetto stops. It's off the annoying main drag between the train station and the Rialto bridge, but you have to take that main drag in order to get anywhere efficiently, and it's close enough that tourists and buskers wander up. The residential neighbourhood behind is somewhat characterless.
There's a small grocery and produce store a few minutes' walk away, and fish and vegetable market stands a few more minutes along. A good restaurant is located just a few doors down, others ten minutes' walk to the east. Supermarkets are about fifteen minutes away on foot, the main Rialto marketplace perhaps twenty-five minutes (depending on the speed of a traghetto canal crossing).
The apartment is on the second (top) floor of a small building fronting on the canal (living-room windows). Apartment is long and thin, with windows at front and on one side; recently renovated, but more functional than beautiful. No noise from first-floor neighbours (only other apartment in building).
You can see someone else's garden from the main bedroom window. For Venice, this is good. The ground floor door opens right onto the sidewalk; there isn't really a place to hang out at street level.
Basic, decent furniture. The apartment was a little dirty when we arrived. The owners live in England, and must rely on a local cleaner and the good will of serial tenants.
The main bedroom has a nice double bed (I found the bed a bit hard, but better that than too soft) and built-in wardrobe; the smaller bedroom is a bit more awkward, with twin beds that can bolt together (though one has to be right up against a window if they are separate). Both have efficient high-tech air-conditioning units. The bathroom has a Jacuzzi shower that is quite finicky and a bit frustrating. It's really best for a family of two, three, or four; two couples, or five people, might find the logistics quite awkward.
The kitchen is quite nicely equipped (e.g. built-in full-sized fridge and effective freezer, labelled cutting boards) but it's basically a hallway between the bedrooms/bathroom and the living room, meaning a shortage of pantry and prep space. It's fine for small meals, but I found it frustrating to prepare a full seafood dinner. There are exactly five plates, bowls, and glasses, so be prepared to hand-wash or run the dishwasher after every meal.
Problems or Bonuses
Bonuses: An exceptionally well-documented apartment with a small library of guidebooks (we left all of ours at home) and related literature; mosquito screens on living room and bedroom windows. All appliances worked quite well.
Problems: A number of little annoyances, most of which I mentioned above. We were there during a heat wave (temperatures in the low 30's Celsius) and the top-floor location makes it hard for the place to cool down, even with all windows open. We had to close ourselves in the bedrooms and turn the air conditioning on in order to cool ourselves enough to go to sleep.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The owners were prompt to respond to e-mail and quite organized. Their web page is extensive and accurate. The only onsite person is the cleaner, who we did not see and who apparently does not speak English. We paid $1970 (Canadian dollars) for the week (high season) which is a reasonable price for a place of this quality with a view.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would recommend this apartment for a first-time visitor to Venice, particularly one who speaks little or no Italian, or has little experience with European rental apartments. The standard of documentation here is exceptional; one can follow their instructions and recommendations and have a much better experience than the average visitor to Venice.
But this was our third visit (the other two for two weeks each) and, knowing what we did, we were a bit frustrated; we were a little farther away from the things we wanted to do and the neighbourhoods we liked, and a little less comfortable than we wanted (the heat wave was no one's fault, of course).
We would not stay here again, but only because we tend to seek out new experiences. I have been a little more critical than other reviews of this apartment mostly to convey that it is not flawless and one should not expect paradise, but it is definitely above average in our experience.
Things to do in this area
The restaurant "dalla Marisa" just a few doors down offers a single set meal that is of high quality and good value. After trying a few local shops and finding them nothing special, we tended to get our supplies further afield. There are some exciting new restaurants a bit to the east in Cannaregio: Anice Stellato, Osteria da Rioba.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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