Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 519: Classic Vacation Rental, Ca'Frari
3bed/2bath apartment in San Polo, Venice
April 5-12, 2003, one week
This fabulous apartment is located directly across the campo from the Frari Church in the San Polo sestiere of Venice. Vaporetto stop is San Toma, which is literally 5 mins. from the apt. One enters a small campiello (Ca'Zen) and then goes through a locked set of double doors into a small courtyard surrounded by 3 connected buildings. The apartment is one floor up. The buildings seemed to be unoccupied or perhaps we just didn't see the residents! On site is a caretaker who can assist with any problems, for example, he showed us how to operate the washing machine. The only downside was the ringing of the church bells in the morning at approximately 7 am; otherwise the location is fairly quiet, and the heavy shutters cut out alot of pedestrian traffic noise. The apartment is on 2 levels.
As one enters the Campiello, there is a small market selling fresh produce and items such as bottled water and minimal basics. Within a 2-3 minute walk is a nice grocery for anything else one could need or want. There are several restaurants in the area; we had two excellent meals at the Trattoria San Toma. Right near that restaurant is an Internet site, and near the Frari church are coffee shop, gelato shop, as well as gift and artisan shops. We could not have wished for a better location.
The building is definetly older, although we are not sure when it was built. It was in good condition for its age; the ground floor showed some signs of moisture "damage", but this was part of the charm. I don't know how may other apartments are located in the buildings; there was an artisan shop on the ground floor, but I never saw any other residents coming or going from our building.
No outside sitting area, garden, or pool.
The furnishings were lovely and just as pictured at the website. There are some antiques mixed in and lovely artwork on the walls; the window treatments were also very nice and colorful. The beamed ceilings were painted and the floors were marble. The apartment was immaculate and very attractive. Although the living/dining area and kitchen were small, they were adequate for the 4 of us, and we felt very comfortable staying there.
One bedroom had a king sized bed, the second twin beds, and the third had a single bed. There was plenty of drawer and closet space, as well as chairs, night tables, and reading lamps in each bedroom. Upstairs was one bath with tub and hand held sprayer, toilet, bidet and sink; downstairs was a second bath, divided into two rooms ... one contained a sink and toilet and was small. The second room contained a tub with same hand held sprayer (no showers in apt.); it was the larger of two rooms.
The kitchen was small, but fine. Everything needed was there, but counter space was a bit limited. We only prepared coffee and snacks in the kitchen, but one could cook a meal there, if desired. There was a smallish fridge, nice stove with dishwasher below, washing machine, and double sink. Also in the kitchen was a table that was used as a counter and a large cupboard containing all dishes, etc. The stove also had a lucite cover that could be raised or lowered, depending if one wanted to use it for food preparation or get it out of the way in order to cook. There was also a utility closet containing an iron and ironing board, as well as vacuum, etc.
Problems or Bonuses
We were pleasantly surprised that the apartment was just as the website pictured it. Once we oriented ourselves, we liked the location for many reasons: close to major sites, quick access to a vaporetto, and easy walks to amenities. Electricty was included in the rental fee, which is unusual from what I understand.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Carina with Classic Vacation Rental was very helpful to us; she recommended tour guides and answered questions we had regarding the apartment. She is very knowledgeable about Venice and Italy. Views on Venice partners with her to meet renters and lead them to the apartment. Jennifer from that agency speaks fluent English and Italian (she's a transplanted Australian); she was delightful, and for a reasonable hourly rate ($30) tooks us on a "tour" of our own design. She spent alot of time helping us with restaurant recommendations, and the agency even provided us with a free cell phone on which we could receive calls. We could also make calls, but would have needed a calling card.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Without any hesitation at all, I would HIGHLY recommend this lovely, well-located apartment. I would also definetely stay there again, and I will rent from CVR in the future. They offer rentals in other areas of Italy and also in France; their website deserves checking out! We paid 1,800 USD for the week, and split among 2 couples, the nightly rate was approx 130 USD, which is well below that of decent hotels. Plus one gets so much more than any hotel can offer; we especially enjoyed being able to have food in the fridge and be together with the other couple to reflect on the day or plan for the next one. This is the second time we have rented an apt. and feel that there's no other way to travel!!
Things to do in this area
As mentioned, the Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari church is adjacent to the apt.,and nearby are the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, the Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista, Campo San Polo and Campo Santa Margherita. The works of art in the Frari church and Scuola San Rocco are just beautiful; both should be on any don't miss list!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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