Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 4804: Immobiliare Rio Alto s.r.l., San Marcuola (#14939)
Studio apartment in Cannaregio, Venice
October 2010, 5 days
The apartment is located in the Cannaregio Sestiere of Venice It's just off the Rio Terra della Madelena which becomes the Strada Nova.
The apartment 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.
I loved the convenience of being able to walk to the train station and being close to the vaporetto. I 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 three 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.
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.
FYI, you can see a more detailed version of this review, including video of the apartment on my blog at San Marcuola Apartment.
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. There is no view from 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 locked 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 counter tops in the kitchen and bathroom were spotless so I'm inclined to believe that little bit of mess 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 (three stools at the counter, two chairs at the table). There was plenty of shelving, drawers, closet space in which to unpack.
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.
The bathroom is 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, five-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.
Problems or Bonuses
Bonus - once I figured out the key for the WiFi, it worked great.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
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 my friend's apartment (and call 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 my friend 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).
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
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 my husband though, only because of the shower height (he's six feet tall), though I would like to give it a try.
Things to do in this area
I didn't get to do nearly as much shopping as I'd hoped. Visit La Cantina for a glass of wine and though I didn't partake, according to friends the gelato store at the end of the calle serves some really good stuff.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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