Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1915: Papavero Rentals, Ca'Barnaba
2bed/2bath apartment, Dorsoduro, Venice
October 2005, 1 week
I was lucky to win a week's rental at Ca'Barnaba in Slow Travel's first contest. So first a huge thank-you to Patrice of Papavero Rentals and to the apartment owner, who lives in nearby Friuli. Ca'Barnaba is located in the sestiere of Dorsoduro, two minutes from the Ca'Rezzonica vaporetto stop, a minute from Campo San Barnaba, and about five minutes from Campo San Margherita. It's the perfect location for seeing the sights of Venice or just hanging out.
The nearest restaurant is next door - a simple osteria which is great for a quick dinner before a concert - and there are many restaurants in all price ranges within a ten-minute walk. The closest grocery store (which can sometimes be frustratingly difficult to find in Venice) is only about five minutes away, between Campo San Barnaba and Campo San Margherita.
The apartment is totally peaceful and quiet, located off a narrow calle or street, one bridge away from Campo San Barnaba. A coded gate (so a key isn't necessary) leads into a courtyard shared by a couple of other apartments, and the buildings are in excellent shape.
The courtyard, shared with the other apartments, is full of plants and would be nice for breakfast or lunch in warm weather.
The apartment is clean and the furniture comfortable. The living room is part of a living room/dining room/kitchette combination and feels quite spacious. It has a comfortable sofa and an antique desk, and a lovely ceiling-high grilled window which opens onto a small canal. It was fun to watch the occasional gondola or working boat glide silently by.
There are two bedrooms, the first a spacious room separated from the living room by a heavy drawable curtain which we always left open. It had a firm double bed which has been replaced since our visit with a brand new bed, according to Patrice of Papavero Rentals. It's nicely decorated and has a large antique armoire with plenty of hangars - and blankets if you happen to be there during the winter.
The second bedroom, which had twins which could not be joined together during our visit, now has new twins convertible into a double - it would be great for kids, and perfectly adequate for a couple now that it sports a double bed. We enjoyed using it as a dressing room.
There is a bathroom between the bedrooms, which has the two things of most importance to me: a good shower with a steady flow of hot water, and a basin (nicely tiled) with room for cosmetics, lotions, etc. The second bath is a small bath off the twin bedroom - it's even nice for a couple to have a second basin and toilet.
The kitchen is really a kitchenettte, located at one end of the living/dining room, and is not intended for cooking full meals - we used it mainly for making coffee in the morning. The dishes, though, are of good quality, and it's certainly adequate for making a salad and pasta.
Problems or Bonuses
I think the perfect word to describe Ca'Barnaba is "cozy" - and that does NOT mean cramped. It's a great apartment for a couple, or for a couple with 1 or 2 children, and it might also work for 2 couples who know each other well and don't mind the proximity a smaller apartment brings. With the new bed arrangement, it would also be perfect for 3 people.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
I could not have been treated better by Patrice and Papavero Rentals if I had been a paying client. The owner even installed a coded rather than keyed entry gate so we could arrive during the day, when the onsite person, who lives upstairs, is normally at work. But he was so concerned about us that he stayed home to meet us and show us around. The website info is accurate and is matched by Patrice's honesty in describing the apartment and its location.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Yes, we'd love to stay here again and would recommend it to a couple (or a couple with kids) looking for the perfect location in Venice. I can't stress enough what a great location this is, close to the two campos described above, and almost equidistant between the Rialto and Accademia bridges in terms of walking time. I don't think there's a more central location in Venice!
Things to do in this area
Having a spritz at Campo Santa Margherita while you watch the people who really live in Venice shop at the outdoor market there - or the kids play soccer - is a great way to pass some time.
Our favorite restaurant remains La Riviera on the Zattere. On our second dinner there, they fixed the lamb chops with blueberries described by Ruth (Boleskine) even though they weren't on the menu. I think Venice is one city where it really pays to do some research before you go - and to have a good guide like Chow! Venice. In a city that can have bad food and often shoddy service, we ate well - and usually much more reasonably than at La Riviera, which is pricey but worth it.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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