Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 4606: Venice Rentals, Arsenale
1bed/1bath apartment in Castello, Venice
May 2010, 5 nights
The Arsenale apartment is in the Castello sestiere of Venice. The apartment is in a quiet area near Campo della Bragora, Arsenale, and the Corte Sconta restaurant. It's a short walk to the Arsenale or San Zaccaria vaporetto stops, and San Marco is less than 10 minutes walk away. That said, this area has the feel of a residential neighborhood with shops, bars, and restaurants catering to locals. My family liked the area and our feeling of temporarily living in Venice.
There are several bars and restaurants nearby, so there were multiple options for morning coffee or a close option for dinner (on those days where you are extra tired from walking all over Venice). There are local shops nearby for some groceries (a butcher and bakery half a block away, a wine shop a block away, small alimentari and specialty shops 1-2 blocks away). The nearest supermercato is by Campo San Lorenzo, not super close, but a very easy walk.
The apartment has been renovated relatively recently and was in fantastic shape, very attractive. The pictures provided by the rental agency are accurate, and yet the in-person appearance and quality of the apartment exceeded our expectations. Appliances were new, hot water was plentiful, the washing machine worked perfectly, there's SkyTV and a safe, and the newer windows blocked all street noise (the apartment is amazingly quiet if the windows are closed). We were there when the temperatures were mild, but the apartment also has air conditioning.
The apartment is on the first floor of the building (up one flight of stairs) and has a private entrance. The apartment opens onto the combined living room/kitchen. This is also where the agency placed a roll-away bed for the third person in the party (me). The apartment has a bedroom and a bathroom with a large shower (the bathroom is accessible from the main area -- you don't need to go through the bedroom to get to it). There is a small terrace off the bedroom. A washing machine is tucked into a tall cabinet in the hallway.
The apartment has a small terrace (with a table and two chairs) facing the interior courtyard. The terrace has access to a clothesline for hanging up washing and provided a little green space.
The furniture was in good shape and very comfortable. Everything was spotless. The kitchen/living room area has a couch, a small desk, and there were four chairs at a breakfast bar. The apartment is a well-organized one-bedroom. It's perfect for two people and worked fine for three.
The beds were all comfortable. The bedroom had an antique bedroom set that was beautiful, and the roll-away was comfortable as well. We didn't realize until we got there that the sofa also folds out into a bed.
The bathroom is big for Italy, and the shower is big by any standard (no knocking of elbows here). The fixtures and amenities were new and very nice. There was lots of room on the sink counter and a small cabinet for storing toiletries.
We cooked at the apartment on two of the nights we were there and had no problems. There were plenty of dishes and glasses (and all of good quality). There were plenty of cooking utensils (which were in good or decent shape). Having stayed at a lot of rentals, the kitchen tools and dishes were above and beyond the usual assortment at rentals. Everything we thought we needed, we were able to find. The kitchen has a gas range, oven, toaster, refrigerator, big sink, American-style coffeepot (and an Italian-style one too), and a microwave.
Problems or Bonuses
There weren't any problems with the apartment, and there were a lot of bonuses that made the stay memorable and enjoyable. The apartment includes a cell phone (which saved us when our own cell phone had problems), WiFi, and a hairdryer. The owners provide some really nice touches like basic kitchen staples to get you started (e.g., tea, pasta, coffee, sugar, olive oil), laundry detergent, washcloths, lots of toilette paper, and some spare soaps and shampoo. On top of that, there was a small bag of cookies waiting for us. The overall impression we got is that the agency and the owners put a lot of thought and care into the rental apartment.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
I had booked through Venice Rentals before and had a very positive experience, so I really wanted to use them again. They provide great options (at fair prices) and are very responsive via email (you can also call, but I mainly communicated via email). We had several options for payment and for this property we were able to send the owner a check in advance (we get nervous carrying cash for a rental property payment, so this was a big benefit for us). The directions and advice for getting from the airport to the nearest vaporetto stop were detailed and perfect.
I cannot overstate how helpful it is that you will be met at the nearest vaporetto stop and walked to the apartment (particularly when you are arriving after an overnight flight and are exhausted). Maurizio called our cellphone as we were heading to the Alilaguna dock, and we were able to quickly confirm a plan and meeting arrangements. We were able to spot one another at the San Zaccaria stop, and he got us to the apartment quickly (and helped with carrying one of my mom's bags). Once there, he gave us a thorough overview of the apartment, described the Venetian garbage rules, and offered local area information (providing a map and marking places for groceries, good restaurants, vaporetto routes, etc.).
I would happily rent from them again.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would definitely recommend this vacation rental (and the rental agents) to others. Between the three of us, we've rented a lot of vacation apartments and houses in the U.S. and overseas. We were all blown away by how nice this rental was. It was a great start to our Italian adventure and a lovely home base.
Things to do in this area
We were fond of a place in Campo d'Arsenale (Trattoria Pizzeria da Paolo). It was a comfortable, friendly place with good pizza. We shopped at the bakery and butcher near us. We were able to walk most places in Venice (true pretty much anywhere you stay in Venice), and for longer trips, we were able to get to the vaporetto in less than five minutes. It's a great location.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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