Venice holiday rental palace, Venice, Italy. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Our Home Away from Home in Venice

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We’ve become the people we’ve always envied in Venice, sipping glasses of Prosecco at the windows of our Venetian palazzo as we survey the action on the Grand Canal down below.

People crammed on the vaporettos that pull up at the wharf in front smile up at us, while tourists cruising by on their gondola rides neglect their serenade to take snaps and shoot video of us. We’re loving it! Wouldn’t you?

Venice holiday rental palace, Venice, Italy. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Our ‘home’ away from home for two weeks is a sprawling apartment in a 17th century palazzo (palace), slap bang on Venice’s Grand Canal, at the end of a narrow lane leading to the vaporetto (ferry) stop. Despite the easy access to public transport we took a water taxi here from the train station so we could arrive in style. Well, it’s not every day we get to pull up at our own Venice Grand Canal water entrance. How could we resist?

Venice holiday rental palace, Venice, Italy. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

We’re located on the border between the St Polo and Dorsodoro sestieri or quarters. It’s a brilliant location – just a 15 minute stroll to the Rialto where we go to the morning markets most days to buy seafood and fruit and vegetables, and 15 minutes to Piazzale Roma (Venice’s main transport hub) where there’s an organic market on Monday; we’ll tell you more about both in another post. It’s a 25-minute walk to St Marco or Cannaregio depending on the time of day and the crowds.

Aside from the main route that tourists take to get between the Rialto and the Accademia bridges, which is lined with trattorias, pizzerias, gelaterias, and souvenir shops most of the way, the neighbourhood is one of Venice’s most down-to-earth once you get off the beaten track. It’s home to one of Venice’s universities and nearby Campo Santa Margherita, a square lined with bars that is busy with students downing beers most nights.

In the tiny side streets are bookshops, art galleries, paper shops, antique stores, leather-makers, jewellery shops, and boutiques specialising in vintage clothes and gifts made from recycled materials. It’s one of Venice’s most interesting neighbourhoods for shopping.

Venice holiday rental palace, Venice, Italy. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

The apartment itself is on the first floor of the three-storey palazzo and it has a certain faded grandeur and retro-elegance about it with its colossal ceilings, Murano chandeliers, antique furniture, gilded mirrors, and big velvet sofas. There are charming touches such as old paintings of Venice, portraits of children, and a glass coffee table covered with an old National Geographic map.

It’s a spacious apartment with an enormous open-plan living-cum- dining area and the main bedroom above it on a mezzanine level so we can hear the action on the Grand Canal below from our bed. There’s a corridor that leads to a decent-sized kitchen, two bathrooms, and a second twin bedroom.

The owners have thought of everything in terms of amenities, and the kitchens are crammed with loads of crockery, cutlery and glasses, so much that we’ve been tempted to host a cocktail party. There’s also plenty of linen and towels, and soap and toilet paper (not always provided in these places as we’ve written before).

Venice holiday rental palace, Venice, Italy. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

There’s a library of books (though most are in Italian), a few guidebooks, and a small stock of DVDs and CDs, and complimentary wireless Internet access. They also provided a generous welcome package that included Veneto wine and traditional Venetian biscuits and there’s a fantastic supply of foodstuffs in the cupboards from tomato paste to spices and different types of salts.

It must be said that the place is a tad rough around the edges in spots with peeling paint, worn upholstery, and broken fittings, and could do with a bit of a renovation, but it dates to the 17th century, and the furniture is goodness knows how old, and the place makes up for its rough spots with loads of charm.

Venice holiday rental palace, Venice, Italy. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Being Venice, the floor is wonky, the windows don’t shut properly, and there are cracks on the walls that might be scary in other cities… but, hey, this is Venice. We’re in Venice. And that’s what we say to ourselves every time we walk out our door.

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A travel and food writer who has experienced over 70 countries and written for The Guardian, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Feast, Delicious, National Geographic Traveller, Conde Nast Traveller, Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia, DestinAsian, TIME, CNN, The Independent, The Telegraph, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, AFAR, Wanderlust, International Traveller, Get Lost, Four Seasons Magazine, Fah Thai, Sawasdee, and more, as well as authored more than 40 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, DK, Footprint, Rough Guides, Fodors, Thomas Cook, and AA Guides.

19 thoughts on “Our Home Away from Home in Venice”

  1. Bellissimo palazzo! And so romantic. I’ve often wondered what these apartments look like on the inside. You must feel like true locals living in one! :)

  2. It *is* romantic and endearingly old-fashioned, as you can see! In a way I love that there is a mish-mash of furniture from every century up to the 1970s because it feels ‘real’ and it *is* real. I think I prefer this to something that had been re-designed and was perfectly stylish.

  3. Yes, *everything* is a bit old, but still has charm. They are in fact replacing the bathrooms in October-November apparently, when this season ends. Those lush images are Terence’s, not mine – molto grazie on his behalf!

    Thanks for dropping by, Guido. :)

  4. Oh, it’s interesting that you and Lisa both use the word ‘dreamy’. I’m going to add ‘magical’. There really *is* something wonderful about Venice, and the Grand Canal, and especially staying here in a palazzo on the canal. It will be hard to return and *not* stay in one next time… :(

  5. Everything about Venice is romantic and nostalgic. I smiled, with the “…a tad rough around the edges in spots with peeling paint, worn upholstery, and broken fittings..” – those just actually add to the mystery and beauty of venice, never really a disadvantage. this was a good read – good travel! :)

  6. Dear Lara,

    I am Francesca, Maria Novella’s sister who has welcomed you in Venice. The bathrooms and kitchen have been replaced, the works were completed in March 2011. The walls have been repainted and even if the apartment is the same it looks more fresh. The pictures by Terence are really very beautiful. Thank you very much! I hope to have you back in Venice or in the Euganean Hills ( 50 km West of Venice) where I run our century old family estate with eight self catering villas and apartments.

  7. How do we find apartments in Italy? My mom and I are going for,the first time in early October and we want to stay in Venice, near Florence and near Rome. Would you suggest just finding local real estate companies and contacting them directly? I don’t mean this u complimentary, but how do I trust that the place I rent will be decent or even actually there when I arrive. Previously, we have only stayed at hotels in vacations, but this time we want an apartment at each location – for three nights at each place.
    Thank you in advance if you have time to answer this. Elayne

  8. Hi Elayne – we used real estate agents in the old days, before sites such as HomeAway, VRBO.com, Roomorama etc existed, but these days I’d recommend using one of those sites. We’ve literally stayed in dozens of properties from the HomeAway website. If you click through on the link above you will see the listing for the Venice apartment we rented. Click on SLOW on the top bar and STAY and you’ll see all of the properties we tested out. This article features interviews with the experts on how to avoid holiday rental scams: https://grantourismotravels.com/2012/11/19/how-to-avoid-holiday-rental-scams/

  9. Hi Lara, any comments about sleeping on pull-out sofas? We are travelling through Italy this summer and have found a lot of cute flats for less than 120euros but the problem is that they only have 1 double bed and a pull-out sofa. We are a family of 4, our teenagers are probably taller than me! Are they going to be okay sleeping on a Pull-Out sofa? Thank you!

  10. Hi Elisa,
    We once rented a studio apartment in a medieval palazzo many years ago and had a day bed that converted into a double bed and it was fine for us and my husband is 5’11. However, it was a very old day bed – an antique – so maybe they were made differently back then. I would actually recommend asking the owners how long they are when they fold out completely.
    Apartments are definitely a fantastic option in Venice. There’s nothing we love more than going to Rialto markets and buying some beautiful fresh produce and having at least one meal in each day.
    If you love to cook, definitely consider Enrica Rocca’s cooking class: https://grantourismotravels.com/2010/06/21/cooking-with-the-countess-in-venice/
    Enjoy! And don’t hesitate to let us know if you have more questions.
    Thanks for dropping by!
    Lara

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