The best way to arrive in Venice is undoubtedly by boat. We pre-booked ours through Consorzio Motoscafi. As there were 8 of us, it surprisingly worked out cheaper than any other way to get into Venice and the fact that we had the boat to ourselves made it all the more special.
Unfortunately our flight was delayed but the upside was that the sun was setting as we made our way into this magical city.
The water was quite high which meant the boat couldn’t get under the bridge to our friends preferred drop-off point but this just added to the thrill of arriving like a Venetian!
We then walked to our Airbnb – a ground floor 2-bed apartment in a beautiful Palazzo right on the Grand Canal. The tide was so high we were advised to keep the flood-gate up at all times. It was amazing to see the water lapping at the Palazzo’s doorsteps (not the apartments, thankfully) and I promptly made sure all my beautiful shoes were not left on the floor, just in case!
After quickly exploring the immediate neighbourhood (very nice) we settled down to a delicious dinner of langoustines and then retired to bed. It was amazing to be surrounded by water on both sides – we felt as if we were on a boat, as you can hear the water lapping against the wall. In the morning we were awoken by the sound of gondoliers going past our bedroom door…
…I suppose for some this could be irritating, but for me it was every shade of wonderful.
We then sat on our balcony on the Grand Canal having our morning coffee and watching all the boats come into the market opposite.
If you look carefully you can see the Rialto Bridge!
There are so many beautiful hotels in Venice but when travelling with children it quickly becomes very expensive, so we decided to book an Airbnb instead. It definitely worked out for the best as we had more space, as well as the fantastic experience of living like a Venetian.
The Palazzo Smith Valmarana was the residence of the British consul Joseph Smith, diplomatic envoy to George III. The palazzo was rebuilt by the architect, painter and engraver Antonio Visentini. The work was finished in 1751.
The apartment runs along the bottom corner of the palazzo, with the living room looking out onto the Grand Canal and the other rooms onto the side canal.
The palazzo has two entrances which means that you have the option of arriving by boat or on foot.
It was such a privilege to call this piece of history our home for a few days.
As with most of Venice, there is something so striking about the rustic, crumbling elegance of the place. If you are into Venetian opulence, then this is probably not for you. Personally, as much as I like to see all the amazing artistry, mosaics and gilt work, I don’t find it particularly restful; so the cool, simple interiors of this apartment were the perfect antidote.
The apartment has a spacious living/dining area, galley kitchen, two shower rooms (galley-style), a double bedroom and a twin room (double-click to enlarge images).
It was perfect for us but as you can see from the photos the galley-style kitchens and bathrooms, and the low ceilings in places, might prove challenging for particularly tall people or people needing a wider berth!
It is very tastefully done – I loved the simplicity of it, with little florishes of architectural references. The fact that it had its own little balcony and jetty on the Grand Canal was the icing on the cake!
(More posts on Venice and Burano to come!)
(Ph: A Wri)
Dress: Anthropologie (on sale)