The Friday Traveller: a vacation rental in Venice

Vacation rental apps are popular these days. Even techno laggards like me are in on the scene. We rented an apartment in Venice last fall. Then one in Milan. Then an agriturismo in Piano di Sorrento. We arranged these from Ottawa in July before we went.  This is what our abode in Venice looked like.

Here is the square near our apartment, about 2 blocks behind the Doge’s Palace. Exit the far corner of the square and go through a short passageway to arrive at the Grand Canal / Venice Lagoon.


above: one finds Ottawa Public Library bags in the strangest locales

Below: the narrow “street” that led to an unmarked demise in a canal; and the view back to the square. Half way along the block was home.

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The front door entered a showing-its-age lobby and a staircase up. The stair starts inside the building, but winds up through a light well, or gap between a front building and a back building. At the top of the stairs, the lightwell space was stuffed full of operating air conditioners that made it incredibly hot. Looking down, we saw into the shower stall of a ground floor bathroom.

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The open air landing let into our apartment. It had two small panel doors that opened inward. Neither door was wide enough to squeeze through by itself. The lock mechanism, shown from the inside, was antique. Note bottom of A/C unit above the door.

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below: we had a nice living room with modern wall unit and two casement windows looking onto the street behind the building. Up above were twin lofts accessed by a ladder. And several skylights.


below: An antique red velvet curtain on a wire could separate the living room to make it a bedroom. The kitchen had a gas stove, oven, washing machine, and to the left of the sink, a fridge with freezer. The floor was modern manufactured “wood” planks. The combined space had three large windows looking south.



The skylights had power openers and power blinds. The loft spaces were … cozy.




The kitchen window looked out to the back street. Several buildings were missing from the block behind us, and overgrown with trees and shrubs, making a pleasant bird-filled courtyard:



Here’s the view straight down, with a load of cargo being delivered to a workshop on the ground floor of the building behind us:


Other windows looked out at the closer building to the right, on the opposite side of the alleyway. The big brick wall was the back of a palace / hotel facing the Venice lagoon (we think, finding ones way anywhere is an adventure):


We took an apartment because eating out in Venice is expensive. Really expensive. Even a friggin cup o’tea verges on bankruptcy. We shopped at a medium size grocery store two blocks away (about same size as the Metro in Hintonburg) and brought up cooked chicken and ham, veggies, ice cream bars, and huge bottles of beer (sold warm in grocery stores, dirt cheap; sold cold and expensive at bars everywhere). Bacon and eggs for brekky, although we sometimes had variety:.

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The grocery store staff spoke only Italian so visitors order by pointing and pantomine:

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The laundry machine was a great bonus; we hung the clothes on the line outside the window to dry:



In addition to the living room + loft – kitchen combo, there was a hallway, a curious bathroom with too many fixtures fitted into too small a space; and a decent sized bedroom. The apartment was air conditioned. We paid about 90E or $135 a night in September 2015. Cash only, please and thanks.

The instant we left the building, children ran up to try the door:


When we got about a block away to the lagoon, we saw Beyonce and Jay Z’s rented yacht, which is only $900,000US per week, or $18,000 per night, in Canadian pesos.


You can read about their accommodation here:



Mind, the little line up of flip flops on the dock edge (behind the very large man posted near the gangplank) looked pretty ordinary.



2 thoughts on “The Friday Traveller: a vacation rental in Venice

  1. Agree on the Apartment rental in Venice. We had a lovely apartment when we visited Venice a few years back, just off of Campo Santa Margarita, in Dorsoduro. The campo is absolutely the best public space in the entire world. Used 24 hours a day by everyone from people shopping at the stalls in the morning, to kids playing after school, to students gathering and drinking until the wee hours of the morning. It just works and is probably my favourite place in the world.

  2. Hi Eric- This is my dream! When I come into money eventually I’d like to go for 3 weeks to Venice only so I get a real feel for the city. Please email me off list with the particulars, cost etc. Did you buy fresh fish from open air markets? What season did you go in? Thanks, Glen

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