Searching for accommodation in Venice meant wading through websites offering a fearful combination of the fussy, the twee and the bland. Then, somehow, we stumbled across the self-described ‘Cool Venice Apartment’ on Facebook. Set in the chilled Cannaregio district of Venice (a five minute walk from Ca d’Oro), the apartment is owned by a group of like-minded friends who pooled together for a two-bedroom pad in Venice. (And why wouldn’t you?)
Traditional Venetian flats are set over three floors – the first floor is essentially an entry way left vacant presumably as a flood precaution, the second floor is the living area and the third floor is for bedrooms. In this case the flat occupies only the first two floors, but is nonetheless extremely generous in size. While the master bedroom is a bit bigger with more clothes storage the second bedroom (with twin beds) is very light and spacious so there’s really no need for anyone to feel like they’ve drawn the short straw. The flat has lovely views from most rooms, the kitchen is well-equipped, and the bathroom has a jacuzzi (noisy, but after all that walking around its worth a try at least once).
Great things about the location – Venice is tiny so once you get your head around the maze factor everything is within walking distance. For us it made sense to steer clear of the heavily touristed San Marco and set ourselves up near useful things such as a bakery, supermarket, well-priced cicheti bars and some of Venice’s best restaurants! Staying around here will also enable you to soak up the neighbourhood atmosphere without too much danger of being elbowed by tour groups over breakfast.
What We Love
Overall there’s something incredibly pleasing about this understated yet extremely elegant flat – the proportions, the light… It just feels good. The furnishings are a mix of IKEA and Philippe Starck; it’s a little bit cold and in winter one feels a floor rug in the bedrooms wouldn’t go astray; but there’s nothing to offend the eye and given that everything has to be transported by barge we can understand the appeal of lightweight and easy-to-assemble furnishings! Plus the simplicity of the decor really allows the architectural details to shine: the original terrazzo floor, wooden ceiling beams and glass detailing all reveal an understated, simple beauty.
Room to Improve
Communications could be improved – there was some confusion over the key for our arrival |(it worked out in the end). When we tried to book the flat for a second time the owners responded very belatedly. Confirm what the deal is with the cleaning at the time of booking – ie: if you need to leave cash etc. Note that terrazzo isn’t the quietest flooring choice – you may hear people moving around in the flat upstairs.
The owners will supply you with all the information you need to get to the flat from the airport.
If you arrive in the evening kick-start the night over cicheti (Venetian tapas) and an ombra (glass) of wine at Un Mondo di Vino nearby (Salizada San Canzian 5984a). With its rustic atmosphere, tasty snacks and an ombra going for a Euro or two, it’s guaranteed to be a very cheerful start to the evening. If you’re planning to eat somewhere special during your stay you definitely need to book in advance – you’ll be glad you did. (The owners provide a useful list of their favourite neighborhood joints to get you started.)