Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 58: Parker Villas, Casa l'Opera (Balconcello)
2bed/2bath apartment, Venice
Fall 1999, 1 week
Two friends and I rented the apartment described below from The Parker Company for the week following Thanksgiving last year (1999). We needed to make arrangements to pick up the key later than scheduled, and they were quick to accommodate us. The rent for the week was $1230. The apartment had two bedrooms - one large room with a full size bed and armoire, and one small room with just enough room for two twin beds and a clothes rack. We had to keep our suitcases under the bed! There were two bathrooms - one with a toilet and sink only, one with a shower, toilet and sink. Towels, soap, toilet paper were all provided, along with a midweek cleaning.
The apartment building - Casa l'Opera - is directly across from the Hotel La Fenice, in the Campiello Fenice, right behind the still-under-reconstruction opera house. We didn't hear any construction noise during our stay. Our apartment, called Balconcello, was on the second floor (European first) and had two small lace-curtained balconies off the living/dining area overlooking the small campo. The building had a main, locked entrance on the campo, then interior stairs to our apartment (no elevator).
The hotel desk staff was our contact point for key pickup and any help during our stay. The Parker Company also gave us the name of their agent in Venice, and in hindsight, he could have helped us out with the only problem we had with the apartment ... oh well! (The apartment was warm, and we couldn't figure out how to lower the temperature - we should have called, but for some reason, none of us thought to do so!) It was easy enough to occasionally open one of the balcony doors for cool air...
The closest vaporetto stop is Sant' Angelo - about a five-minute walk from the apartment. There is also a traghetto stop in the same area. Lisa had arranged to pick up the keys prior to our arrival, and make sure we had coffee, milk, and sugar for the morning. The clerks at the hotel were very helpful, and handed her full bags of coffee and sugar!
The directions to the apartment were not very good, but we eventually found our way (using our Venice map), met up with Lisa in the hotel lobby, and got ourselves settled into the apartment. Debbie's bedroom had a window, while ours had a balcony, but we were unable to open the shutters because of the scaffolding at La Fenice. The beds were comfortable, with those typical flat Italian pillows.
The apartment living/dining area - one large room - had a sofa and coffee table, TV with CNN Europe and Sky News (these are the only channels I remember - there were also Italian channels!), two side chairs, sideboard, phone and phonebook, and a lovely cherry-wood dining table with four chairs. Did I mention that the sofa was bright orange? Interesting color scheme going on there...
The kitchen was small but serviceable - sink, four-burner gas stove, 1/2 fridge. Dishes, silverware and dishtowels were provided. During our stay we purchased paper towels, dish soap and matches for the stove. The kitchen was separated from the living/dining area by a waist-high counter with two high stools.
The apartment was in an excellent location. About a 10 minute walk in any direction would get us to San Marco, the Rialto, or the Accademia. Two restaurants we particularly enjoyed were Da Ivo at Calle dei Fuseri, San Marco - elegant, with an extensive menu, and Trattoria da Fiore at Calle delle Botteghe, San Marco - small, family run, casual.
Pauline asks some questions: Would you stay in this apartment again? >>Yes, I would stay in that apartment again in a flash! I loved being able to open the balcony windows to look out onto the campo and the rooftops. The space was big enough so the three of us could spread out, and with the two bathrooms, we never had to fight over mirror space! The location is another bonus - it almost doesn't get any better in Venice. We were away from the hustle and bustle of San Marco, but within a few minute's walk. The vaporetto stop was close, as were lots of restaurants and coffee bars. The apartment was perfect for our needs, and I think, a good value.<<
When do you think the construction on La Fenice will be finished, so you can open the balcony doors? >>Hmm. Construction on La Fenice... I heard a few months ago that construction had been halted and restarted - some agreements were made with the construction crews, so the restoration was in progress again. Just a wild guess, but I'd say at least another year before it's done. My travel agent told me that the rent will go up on the apartment when La Fenice reopens. I (obviously) don't know how much, but even a couple hundred more per week would still be a good value in Venice.<<
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