Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 942: Venice Rentals, Redentore 11, v219
3 bed/2 bath apartment on Guidecca, Venice
July, 2003, one week
This gorgeous apartment in Venice was great for our group of two couples and two kids (see the trip report about travelling with kids in Venice and Umbria).
First, the location: spectacular!! The apartment was on the island of Guidecca, a short walk from the vaporetto, with a penthouse terrace that overlooked not only our own garden and the rooftops of Venice, but three famous gardens that are private and normally closed to the public. We had a perfect bird's eye view of them all! One, to our left, was written up at the turn of the century in a famous book called "A Garden in Venice", a copy of which was eagerly copied by our aristocratic landlady's aristocratic friend and author of a well-known book about Venice gardens (all of which is another story). The second garden was owned and maintained by the Italian developer of the industrial city of Mestre. The third was owned and maintained by the brothers of Redentore Church (the cupola of which was a stone's throw from our terrace). It was a great joy to climb up to the roof terrace (safe for supervised kids), feel the breeze, see Redentore and all Venice, and then look down at this series of spectacular Italian gardens. We spent a lot of time in that terrace at all times of the day.
Our apartment was on the top floor of a lovely stone palazzo that once hosted a pope (memorial plaque for all to see in the interior of the entryway). The landlady lived on the ground or garden floor. There was a shady loggia for her, and a shady part for guests with a banquette. The garden was charming, with brick walls, shade and grass and the children were allowed to play and explore but we were careful not to let them get wild and rowdy there. At one end was a lovely pool. Pool hours were restricted, but negotiable, mostly to allow for our landlady to sleep in during the mornings and to have her daily afternoon swim in private, but her swim was brief and we found times to use the pool that suited our group well.
All was stone and Venice as you enter, up a wide and gracious marble and stone stairwell to the various rental apartments. Ours was the top floor and largest. It consisted of three small bedrooms (one very small and charming, good for one adult in a twin bed or 2 toddler-sized beds. The other two bedrooms had "matrimoniale" beds), all with windows overlooking the gardens. There were two windowed bathrooms, both with tubs and tile, one a bit more faded than the other, not top of the line but clean. There was a casual dining room next to the well-equipped and very large kitchen.
All was not just charming but full of light and a renovation sensitive to the building's architecture. It was a memorable place.
The living room was huge with two sitting areas and an additional dining table with a pass-through window to to the kitche. There were some antique pieces and leather couches. The modern pieces felt a bit jarring but we grew to appreciate the functionality of it with two kids. Overall the living room was a bit faded and also had for us had somewhat mistaken modern new windows overlooking the palazzo's garden, but with great views of Guidecca rooftops (the views are why they were put in I suppose).
Then there were tiny circular stairs to the roof terrace. The bedrooms were comfortable, and very tiny. The furnishings in them were a bit faded and not of my taste, but I'd go back in a heartbeat.
We were there during the famous heatwave, so we were initially taken aback by our landlady's insistence that we not use the air conditioners much. Well, we had two small children and the heat wave was legendary and we had rented the place because of the a/c, so she relented. We used them during the night when we were sleeping and in the late afternoons when we were there with the kids. But the two a/c's were in a odd locations: one in a hallway fronting the bedrooms and the second in the living room. This meant that the third bedroom could not get cooled down, so two of our group had to move mattresses to the living room floor in the worst of the heatwave. Then one of the air conditioners broke (the one in the living room) so two nights were hellish for the couple in the third bedroom. I suspect that in more "normal July heat" (which I do know about since we've been to Venice many times), the a/c would not be an issue. The landlady could not get the a/c fixed during our stay and we let it go, although we did complain to the rental agency and they kindly gave us a modest rebate on our rental fee.
The aesthetics of this rental are remarkable. Cooking in the big, exceptionally well-equipped kitchen was a delight. There was a washer/dryer too! The terrace was close to heaven. The pool absolutely essential for our survival in the heatwave. Our kids had a blast. So did we.
Shopping on Guideccas was fun, as was exploring the far ends of it. There are two supermarkets there, the one farther away was bigger and had more selection. There is also a gourmet shop (expensive) and a few restaurants, one quite charming, but with kids we preferred the cafe-pizzeria not far from the Redentore Churche (plenty of the brothers could be seen taking away their pizza). There was one gelateria on Guidecca with hours that did not match ours, so we always crossed over for the best ice cream though, on the opposite fundamente of Dorsodoro. This is insider's Venice, and we loved every minute.
Last, note on the agency's website there is a lovely photo of the entryway of the palazzo but that is not part of the apartment.
Problems or Bonuses
More wonderful in terms of location, pool, gardens, building aesthetics, and kitchen than expected. Bedrooms a bit tinier than expected.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Agency fair. Landlady had limited English but that is for us part of the charm. Never had contact with the local rep of the agency.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Yes, with proviso about heatwaves and air conditioning.
Things to do in this area
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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