This post was written by my friend Linda Dodge. It’s about her three stays in Venice. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
I have been to Venice three times. Thinking back on those three times, I see an evolution in how I booked our accomodations. I moved from picking something straight out of a guidebook to feeling very independent as I surfed the web and selected something on my own. Some of the growing independence came from more experience as a traveler and some came from the wonderful interconnectivity of the world due to the Internet.
My first visit was in 1999, when the Internet for travel purposes was in its infancy. We stayed for three nights in a hotel near St. Mark’s Square chosen from one of Rick Steve’s recommendations. It was pleasant enough and featured many Murano glass chandeliers. The bathroom was definitely an add-on, located up two steep steps from the floor of the bedroom to get it squeezed in over a staircase. Negotiating those stairs and opening the door which swung outward was a bit of challenge, especially in the middle of the night when the door seemed to want to sweep me off the steps before I could step inside. Best feature was the large shuttered windows that opened on to a canal that was frequently used by the gondoliers so it was not uncommon to hear the strains of Ole Sole Mio in the evenings. Breakfast was in the overly decorated breakfast room with loads of pink frou-frou and plates of cookies that were popular with the French travelers.
My second visit came in 2006 when we booked through Untours (http://www.untours.com/ ). This time we spent two weeks in the Dorsoduro section, which is located behind the Guggenheim and Academia art museums. We had nice water views over the Guidecca Canal. We chose Untours because they offered a two-week rental plus a local contact who met us at the airport, arranged a brief walking orientation to the neighborhood, a vaporetto pass, and a few half-day activities scattered over the two weeks. Housekeeping with fresh linens were provided once during our stay. We could also call this contact if we had any questions during our stay. This felt a bit more adventurous than staying in a hotel but not so adventurous that we didn’t have someone to call on. The apartment was lovely, comfortably furnished, light and airy. We bought museum passes and visited many of them, learned to use the *vaporetto as a refreshing way to rest our feet between museums and enjoyed getting to know the layout of the city well as we cruised the waters, jumping off at stops when we felt refreshed or curious about something on onshore. Every day we stopped for a spritz (a cocktail peculiar to the Veneto region). After shopping around we settled on our favorite watering hole the second week and stopped there every evening, nodding politely to some of the other regulars. We wondered if they asked each other ‘where are those American girls’ after our vacation ended. At the end of two weeks, we wished we could stay longer.
The third visit came in 2015 when we went solo on the booking. After trolling the internet, I found http://www.trulyveniceapartments.com/ and was very pleased with them. This time five of us were looking for a place and we found a three bed/two bathroom apartment located in Cannaregio. I wanted to see Venice from a different perspective than the previous two neighborhoods. This company provided someone to meet us at the taxi boat stop, walk us to our apartment, explain how everything worked, and provide light housekeeping halfway through our stay. This time we picked up our own vaporetto passes at the airport. My friends who hadn’t been to Venice before questioned the price of the vaporetto passes initially but were the first to say at the end of the trip that they were worth every euro and more!
We love staying in one place for two weeks or more so we get to know the neighborhood. Also having the option to cook in or just munch on cheese and crackers is a nice alternative to dining out every night. Visiting the open produce and fish markets in Europe is always a pleasure for me and it’s nice to buy and eat what we see and not just be onlookers. An on-site washing machine means less to pack.
*Vaporetto is the name for a boat that serves as a public bus in Venice.