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Review 873: Venetian Apartments, Casa dell'Albero


Review by A. N. F. from England

3 bed/2 bath house, Venice


May 2004, One week


We were very satisfied with the excellent service of Venetian Apartments before and during our recent one-week holiday in Venice. Massimo, their water taxi man, was there to greet us at the airport waterbus stop, and Gaia Marzollo, their local agent was at the Sant’Angelo vaporetto stop waiting for us with the house keys. It was very comforting to have such a good start to our long-awaited annual family holiday. Overall we had a delightful time, the weather was nearly perfect and Venice is still as enchanting as ever.

This was our third visit to Venice, but our grown children had never been. During our previous visits we had stayed at the Bauer Hotel, and for our most recent visit we splurged on the renowned Cipriani with which I was not especially impressed. So this time the prospect of "living like the Venetians" in a 16th century merchants house in the heart of San Marco, was very appealing.

Our historic little pink house was charming but there are some things about Casa dell’Albero that could use attention. The owners need to consider freshening up some of the house contents. The amazing antiques are looking a little neglected but that was not as discouraging as the kitchen where much could use replacement. As avid cooks, my husband and I were indeed a tad discouraged. Rentals tend to have mix & match surplus things from the owners’ homes, but much of the crockery was stained, cracked or chipped. Pots and pans had peeling Teflon. Old food (like crackers) was left in the cabinet. In the bedrooms: curtains, linens and towels could also use some freshening up.

It’s an enchanting house, overlooking a canal with gondoliers passing by occasionally, and with lovely enough furnishings, but the photos in the website make it appear so much fresher than it really is.

Despite it all, we thoroughly enjoyed it and did manage to have some excellent meals prepared in the tiny kitchen with foods purchased at the wonderful Rialto markets and nearby shops. The location is excellent, though noisy, mostly due to it’s being the path to the nearby Sant’Angelo vaporetto stop. We were, however, near the Accademia Bridge, which our daughters used as their step-master each morning for their daily work-out routine. The internet café is also minutes away, which they frequented daily to catch up on e-mails and to phone home. There is a metered phone in the house but we did not use it. We had our mobiles.

One bonus for our son (a pizza addict) was that "Aqua Pazza", a trendy pizzeria and restaurant was literally just around the corner. We enjoyed having the CD player as we came equipped with our favourite music, and never once missed the telly. The beautiful coffee table books provided by the owners were delightful to browse through. There were umbrellas for Venetian rain, shopping trolleys for the markets, and adequate space in the bedrooms for our things. You can tell a lot of thought went into originally preparing the house for renters; it just needs freshening up.

The local agent Gaia Marzollo is delightful and very helpful. We always felt that if we needed her for an emergency, she would be there to help.

This was our second experience renting a home for our annual family reunions, and it was such a positive experience that we will be looking to do this again very soon.

I just discovered the "Slow Travel" website and was so impressed with the helpful feedback on vacation rentals provided by kind and thoughtful people, that I couldn't resist submitting my review of Casa dell'Albero.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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