Property 432044 Lara and Terry spent almost a month in Italy, including two weeks in Venice where they stayed in a lovely apartment located on the Grand Canal in a 17th century palazzo. Francesca Papafava gives us an insight into the history of the property, as well as the reasons for renting it out as a holiday home. In addition, Francesca shares with us her recommendations on the best things to do in Venice.

For more great tips and inspiration about things to do and see in Venice, read all Lara and Terry's posts on Venice.

Why did you choose to buy a property in Venice?

My mother is Venetian, her ancestors were valiant traders and shipowners. The apartment is located in the palace which was bought by my mother's grandfather in the 19th century from the Dandolo Dogal family. At the time it was home to my great grandfather and his family, today it has been divided among many heirs, one of them being my mother.


When did you buy the property and approximately how much did you pay for it?

My mother inherited the property in the 1990s.


Why did you decide to make it into a holiday home / rent it out?

My mother and my father have moved to the country near Florence, and use the property in Venice only occasionally. I have suggested she could rent it out to have some income for the expenses and the maintenance of her share of the palace (in 2009 the façade and the internal courtyard as well as the roof were completely renovated following the very strict rules of the Venetian Soprintendenza, the state office appointed to control the quality of the renovation of listed buildings in Venice). As I live in Padua, only 50 km from Venice, it is easier for me to take care of the apartment, organise the bookings and check-in and check-out the guests.


On average, how many weeks do you rent out per year, and during which months?

On average I rent the apartment 20 - 25 weeks per year. July and August are the quieter months.

Why should people come to visit Venice?

Venice is the most exceptional city in the world, all built on water and almost completely preserved throughout the many centuries of great Venetian power. In Venice it is possible to admire architecture dating back to the Gothic period through the  Renaissance and the more recent 18th century. It is as if time has come to a stop and anywhere your eyes rest you can see something glorious of the history of this city, famous in the entire world for the richness reached in the 1500s through trade exchanges with the East. Thanks to this exceptional flow of cash, for centuries rich Venetians have built beautiful palaces decorated by the most important artists of the period who were either Venetian themselves or were attracted to the city due to its wealth and work opportunities. Among the most important painters, the visitor can see masterpieces by Bellini, Tiziano, Canaletto, Giorgone, Longhi, Tintoretto, Veronese, Tiepolo and works of the most famous architect in Veneto, Andrea Palladio.

What are your top three tips for ‘living like a local’ in Venice?

The vegetable and fish market at Rialto bridge.
The church at Frari with paintings by Bellini and Tiziano.
Campo Santa Margherita, a joyful square where Venetians like to have open-air drinks in one of the many bars and restaurants, while children play freely football, run or bicycle. In the evening the Campo is full of students of the Venetian University.


What is you favourite place in Venice?

Scuola Internazionale di Grafica Cannaregio, an internationally established centre for Visual Arts founded in 1969. The programmes range from Printmaking and Book-Arts, to Painting and Drawing, Photography and Graphic Design. Visiting artists, independent residents and students work in a productive and stimulating environment, while having daily access to the professional facilities of the Scuola and the cultural inspiration of the masters of the Venetian School such as Bellini, Tintoretto, Veronese, and Titian. Working class and studio space is provided in spacious studios, in classrooms as well as in the computer room and print workshop. Students can access the Scuola’s library and have Internet access. Independent work is available in out-of-class hours in the printshop and in the paint studio. Classes are taught both in English and Italian; international students receive help from BFA and MFA graduate assistants and fellows, both during our outside class hours.


What is your favourite local dish and the best place to enjoy it?

Trattoria le Antiche Carampane. My favourite dish is: risotto al nero di seppie  (cuttlefishs risotto cooked in their black ink).


What’s the best thing for travellers to take home as a souvenir from Venice?

Venice is famous for its work of glass. The island of Murano manufactures very beautiful high quality and often expensive blown glass works, the leftovers are made into glass beads of all colours and shapes. These beads are called MURRINA. I would get a necklace of these very local beads that ancient traders employed as medium of trade exchange all over the known world.


How would you describe the local people in Venice?

Local people are romantic, helpful and proud of their beautiful and unique city.


Francesca Papafava

Francesca Papafava

Francesca's mother owns a stunning apartment located in a 17th century palazzo, on the Grand Canal in Venice. The property is available to rent on (Property 432044).

Property 432044 in Venice
The apartment is on the first floor of a 17th century palace facing the Gran Canal. The façade and the court yard as well as the roof of the palace have been recently restored. The living room is a large open space with two windows, from where you can reach the mezzanine with a king size double bed. On the corridor there is the main bathroom and on the back of the apartment you can find the kitchen, the twin bedroom and the second bathroom. The furnishing of the apartment is very refined with many original pieces of the 18th century Venetian hand craft.

Read Lara and Terry's full review of the property