In that most famous of cities, picturesque and waterlogged Venice, can be found a lovely bed and breakfast called B&B A Le Boteghe.
As more residents flee Venice, it being a fairly impractical place to live in this modern day and age, most of those who do remain have turned their attention towards tourism, the city’s number one industry. This is the case for Clara and Giordano, who have converted their home into a splendid bed and breakfast. Surprisingly affordable for a city that, let’s be honest here, ain’t cheap to visit, this B&B has got everything you could want. ...Except perhaps an elevator.
A Le Boteghe occupies the third floor of a typical Venetian palazzo, which we never could have found had Giordano not graciously met us at the water taxi (as he does for all his guests). Taking careful note of directions and landmarks, it still took us the better part of an hour to find it again later that night. In retrospect, our note was not so careful. Upon entering, motion sensors turn on lights for you to reveal a Neoclassical Italian common area, dominated by a dark wood dining table and overhung with a delicate Murano glass chandelier. Stark white doors lead to three rental rooms of varying sizes, as well as the (privato) impressive kitchen and residence of Clara, Giordano and daughter Erica, who, at eight years old, plays the part of hostess with as much charm and grace as do her parents. Our room, the smallest of the three, was quite comfortable and stylish. Light and airy, with stunning polished terrazzo floors, large windows, rich wood accents and rustic beamed ceilings, it was simple yet elegant, the hallmark of modern Italian design. Air conditioning, satellite TV, reading lamps, convenient switches and outlets were all welcome comforts. There was even an electronic mosquito deterrent, a big bonus for those like me who insects see as a walking buffet, but who prefer open windows to AC at bed time (there are no screens in Europe).
The bathroom is a masterpiece. Ultramodern, yet classically styled, it blends antiquey Italian tile and trims (really, in Italy?) with state of the art appliances. There is a large pedestal sink in which you can wash up or do your wash, a toilet with both short and long flush options (come now, you can figure out why), hair dryer, extra large, fluffy bath towels hung on a warmer rack, and even a bidet (which, if you have never tried one, can be an odd, almost zen-like experience). The shower stall, with it’s sliding glass doors, is a tad small, but as the shower head is completely adjustable for position and height (or can be handheld if you prefer) this was not much of a problem. Water temperature did fluctuate a bit, but not so much as to cause severe angst.
It is no wonder that this place is so well designed, as Giordano, when not meeting guests at the water taxi or drawing out directions on maps, is an architect. He is enthusiastic, friendly, helpful and speaks English quite well. Clara, who is pleasant and accommodating, served us our breakfast (available 8:30 - 9:30 AM) with Erica’s help. Croissants, rolls, cereal, juice, yogurt, coffees, teas, various jams and, most important for any chocoholic (boy did I have a hard time prying my wife away from the breakfast table), Nutella, made a fine start to the day.
If you don’t have the cash to stay with the hoighty-toits on the Grande Canal, and can hack the three flights of slightly cockeyed steps, then this is the place for you. Good price, good ambiance, good people and good fun.