For years I dreamed of visiting the Biennale in Venice some day. I was lucky enough to go to Italy this year, and I decided to spend a week in Venice. That was a hard choice to make, since there's so much to see in Italy and only so much time. But there was so much art to see, and I thought it would be amazing to really get to know Venice. Of course, I only scratched the surface, but it was still amazing. I saw so much art... and my feet paid dearly. Oh, so much walking in Venice. I would end up soaking my feet in the bidet each evening, trying to build up the strength to go out to dinner. I stayed in three Airbnb rentals, giving me the chance to get to know different parts of the city. Although it would take two days figure out the path to get back without getting lost, as it's such a labrinth. The apartments were so great, that I'm doing one post on them and another on the art.
My first host was Alberto, (find his listing here) and even though I felt sure I could find the place on my own, he insisted on meeting me at Piazalle Roma. Thank God - it would have taken me forever to find it, and going over those damn bridges of stairs with a rolling suitcase is no picnic. It was four winding steep steps up to the flat (I'll be Eurotrashy and call them flats), but the view was worth it. The sounds of wailing children and scolding mothers (both of which seem to be in endless supply in all of Italy) would waft up to the windows. I keep hearing an odd noise, which sounded like the cry of a human baby mixed with a cat. I pinpointed it to an odd creature on the rooftop across from my window, and realized it was a pair of baby seagulls. They look a bit like fuzzy aliens. I took to chucking bits of bread and cheese over to the roof, and the mom would snatch them and feed the kids. Here's a video on my instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BUr9dtYFKnT/?taken-by=kellywitmer
Alberto was kind enough to invite me to dinner, can you believe that? His girlfriend made lasagna, while I helped Alberto and his twelve year old daughter practice their English. A retired French photographer and a young archeologist joined us as well, and we went through a lot of wine. I was exhausted, though, and jet-lagged, and was dozing off in a sitting position. When Alberto took me back to the rental, he did the double cheek kiss thing, and I was so tired my timing was off and I think I sort of pecked him on or near the lips. I was mortified and apologized profusely, explaining how tired I was. Hopefully he understood, but I still feel horribly embarrassed.
ANYway, on to the next Airbnb. I got a beautiful FLAT in Giardini, where it was an easy walk to the main Biennale exhibitions. This garden district is on the outskirts of Venice, and it was a quiet break from the hustle of the city center. There weren't a lot of options in that area, so I splurged on a place that was way too big for me. The top photo on this post shows the big main room, which would have been wonderful for a dinner party. But alas, it was only me. But I thoroughly enjoyed sitting on the balcony with wine or coffee. Find this listing on Airbnb here.
Next stop, another splurge - I was on a roll. I got a place near the Rialto bridge and San Mark's square. Besides the location and killer terrace pictured above, the insane tile in the bathroom sold me. PLUS it was connected with Hotel Da Bruno (Bruno is my dog's name). It was easy to check in, I just went to the hotel and they had one of the nice guys working there take me to the apartment. You can find this listing here on Airbnb.
The kitchen tile was also great. I enjoyed some of The.Best.Cheese.InTheWorld. up on that roof deck. (I know, people who write Like.That. are worse than people who say "flat")
I'm really glad I rented these amazing places - I had a wonderful time and felt like I got to know Venice pretty well in just a week. Years ago I visited Italy and stayed in "pensiones", which are rooms rented out in private homes. Europeans were doing this long before Airbnb came around, but finding them was the difficult part. Some were listed in guidebooks, or often owners would loiter the train stations to offer housing to foreigners as they arrived. I was lured to several places that way, which was strange and scary but luckily worked out fine. Still, I'm certainly glad Airbnb has made the whole process easier for everyone.