Sunday, August 25, 2013

Our Venice Apartment

One of the joys of traveling in Europe from me is trying to live like a local. For accommodations, I'd rather book and apartment or a small Bed and Breakfast rather than a chain hotel or a luxurious independent.

Our apartment in Venice was in Santa Croce, a less-touristed part of Venice. Casa dei Pittori (House of Painters), a 7-unit apartment building was originally a 19th century mansion that has since been converted to vacation rentals by enterprising couple, Simone and Francesco.

We were met at the train station by Cristiano, a summer employee of Casa dei Pittori. Cristiano helped us wheel our bags from the train station to the apartment, checked us in, and gave us his mobile number. telling us to text him if we had any questions. 

Christiano, college sophomore from Padova

The route to the apartment looked complicated--we passed through narrow alleyways, bridges and piazzas. Good thing we had downloaded  TripAdvisor's Venice Cityguide. This very useful app uses GPS to show us where we are and also points us to where we want to go (It also has restaurant and hotel reviews and all that fun stuff of TripAdvisor).  How bad could it be to get lost in Venice anyway?

Our two-bedroom unit was on the ground floor. Thank goodness, because there were no lifts in the building.  The beauty of being on the ground floor? Take a look at our view.

Our apartment was at the corner of two canals frequently traversed by gondolas. I felt like I was in a movie set.

I immediately explored the other floors--actually just the staircase and hallways--- if only to  look at the interior details.

A 3-minute walk from the apartment brings you to Campo San Giacomo,  a typical local piazza. There are hardly any tourists here.  There's a church, a couple of restaurants, bars, and a supermarket where we bought breakfast provisions, tomatoes, mascarpone cheese and balsamic vinegar (we still had our olive oil from Tuscany).


The kitchen of our apartment rentals always get a lot of use. We let the kids cook whatever they want, by themselves, and then we eat whatever they cook.

 G's pasta pomodoro

The beds were a bit too firm for my taste, and the sala set could use new upholstery-- but the spaciousness of the apartment, the modern galley kitchen and the non-touristy location made up for these little inconveniences.

A delicious pastry/coffee shop, Majer, is close by, and one of the best restaurants in Venice, La Zucca, is only a block away. Cristiano also said the pizza place around the corner wasvery popular, but the kids never wanted pizza, so we didn't get to try it.

Majer on Calle Larga

Check out time is usually the same as a hotel--12 noon. But our  train was not till 9 pm. Cristiano was flexible and allowed us depart whenever it was convenient since he had no guest arriving on that day.  We were able to get another full day in, exploring Murano and Burano, and getting back to the apartment just in time to get our suitcases and walk over to the train station.

We crossed this bridge everyday not knowing we were passing La Zucca each time.

We found this apartment on We've been lucky with online bookings so far, and haven't had the misfortune of booking any major duds. Also, since we're adventurous enough to survive any disappointment, we've actually racked up quite a few unique experiences.

Feeling like a local

 Leaving like a tourist

Casa dei Pittori
Calle de le Oche, 1032, Venezia, Italia 
+39 392 296 1431

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