|A small canal in Venice (credit: Mama Jude)|
We searched many different travel sites: HomeAway, HomeExchange, Airbnb, VRBO, FlipKey and Venice for Visitors recommendations, among others.
Apartment hunting in July for the month of September apparently is very last minute of us. Mama's rare, terminal brain cancer meant that we really couldn't plan this trip a year in advance, which it seems was required for some of the most outstanding apartments for rent in Venice. We had only a couple months, at best, to set this all up and make it happen.
Narrowing Down Our Requirements
The main requirement of the apartment was that it have canal views from inside so that Mama Jude could enjoy Venice from the comfort of our home on the days she was not able to go out. Finding a home with canal views is trickier than you'd think since many of the advertised "canal views" were really only if you stick your head out the window and look down (something you'd only discover upon very careful examination of the photos and occasional reviews). This is because the canals are very narrow and from inside the home you really only see other Venetian homes (which are also beautiful, but not the canals by which Mama yearns to sit and observe water traffic). Because of this, Mama Jude really wanted to be on the Grand Canal, which is very wide and provides plenty of canal views with the passing gondoliers and assorted boat traffic.
Since we hoped to bring a close friend to help me care for Mama, we decided that we needed 2 or more bedrooms (I'd share, of course) and that 2 bathrooms would be ideal ('cause 3 women, 1 bathroom just didn't seem like a good idea... seriously), plus a bathtub is needed since standing up in a shower can be difficult and dangerous when your brain is screwing with your balance.
Another huge challenge in finding the right Venetian home is the stairs factor. Many apartments were only accessible through a huge number of stairs and no elevator. This would be very difficult for Mama and truly prohibit her from being able to go out and enjoy Venice whenever she felt up to it. Insider tip: Venetian homes start on the ground floor and when you go up a level, it is to the 1st floor ― which we native Californians would actually consider the 2nd floor. Therefore, we were looking for a ground floor apartment (or one with an elevator, which seemed even less common or likely).
|Abby (named for NCIS' Abby Sciuto)|
At this point, we knew were already asking for a lot, but also hoped to have sunny and bright rooms, a full kitchen so we could do some cooking, a terrace to enjoy a glass of Moscato D'Asti (our favorite wine!), WiFi Internet access, washing machine to do our own laundry (at least nearby), heating and A/C (summer will turn to fall while we're there) and comfortable furniture (many homes were filled with antiques and felt like museums). Plus, they needed to be ok with our sweet, healing service dog, Abby.
Though these seemed impossible requirements, particularly within our limited budget, I kept on searching, determined to find the closest fit that I could make work.
Views on Venice to the Rescue
After a truly exhaustive search, it felt like the clouds parted when I discovered the highly recommended Views On Venice with more than 70 beautiful apartments of varying sizes and each with breathtaking views.
We are thrilled to have secured a beautiful ground-floor Venetian home with spectacular views of the Grand Canal. The apartment meets our various medical and comfort related needs. We knew it was the one for us when we read one of the many wonderful reviews where the little girl loved to sit and call ciao to the passing gondoliers ― I got goosebumps, Mama got tears. We knew it was the one.
|Mama's Favorite Symbol of Venice: Ferro on the Gondola|
Views on Venice (VoV) advertises special offers for 3-5 nights and stays longer than 2 weeks, but when they learned of our special trip, they kindly extended a very special deal making our dream apartment just within reach (well, we splurged a bit, but if not at this time in life, when?). VoV also consistently replied promptly and were considerate of Mama's needs. We highly recommend them and we aren't even there yet. We greatly appreciate their support in helping make this special trip a reality.
First, don't worry... we promise to post lots of pictures when we get there. And next up in blog land? A post dedicated to the traveling party... you know Abby is coming with us, but who's the mystery close friend joining us on our this special trip??? Nosy Parker Goes to Venice, Italy with the answer in a special feature blog post :)
(I'm trying to blog more. But I admit, this feels so weird. I have no idea if anyone is really reading. Except for a few close friends... seriously, hi Lys. To anyone out there, thank you for reading and for your encouragement, albeit silent. Feel free to join in whenever, you are welcome. Ok, I'm going to stop now.)