We heart Venice, the San Lio neighbourhood

Ah Venice, just one of the many destinations that we dream about while being in our endless loop of a lockdown in Melbourne. Quite hopeless Australia, while many parts of the world are already allowing travel. Nevertheless, we count ourselves lucky to have been to the fabled floating city many times, via our Creative Director. As promised in an earlier post, here are more snaps of Venice, and we would like to go into more detail this time.

This post, let’s start at the lovely San Lio neighbourhood where our Creative Director stayed. It’s a neighbourhood that’s not far from Piazza San Marco, but it’s really closer to the Rialto Bridge along the Grand Canal, so it may be better to get off at the Rialto ferry stop if you’re coming from the Santa Lucia train station.

Narrow streets are a common sight in Venice, straight ahead is the bakery chain Farini with all sorts of yummy pastries and selections of coffee that caters to the San Lio neighbourhood. It’s always lovely to see the locals going about their business in the morning, minus the tourists.

A very prime position for a gelateria, by the canal, facing a Piazza della Formosa and with ample outdoor seating
The make shift florist stall at Piazza della Formosa
Piazza della Formosa

The Venetian bakery chain Farini, this is the exact one that our Creative Director visits daily for his morning cappuccino.

The beauty of staying at the San Lio district, is that it’s really still at the heart of the tourist hub, but one or two bridges, alleys away, you enter into a part of Venice that’s more local, more everyday. Especially the area around Piazza della Formosa, with the newspaper kiosk (below), you can escape the hordes of tourists and pretend to be a local for a while.

The kiosk where our Creative Director bought his Italian magazines at Piazza della Formosa

Located very close to the San Lio neighbourhood, just off Piazza della Formosa, you’ll find Querini Stampalia Foundation (Pictured below).

According to the homepage of Querini Stampalia Foundation, the foundation was established in 1869 by Count Giovanni Querini, the last descendant of the Querini Stampalia family. The Querini Stampalia Foundation houses a library, a museum, spaces for other exhibitions and even a cafe and gift shop.

You can explore the Querini family’s original rooms, antique furnishings and art collection as well as view the contemporary architectural additions contributed by Carlo Scarpa, Valeriano Pastor and Mario Botta which are really elegant. Overall, the foundation is a great place for a pause, a respite, an almost meditative space to clear the mind.

The roll of palazzi that house the Querini Stampalia Foundation
The bridge over a canal that takes you to the main entrance of the Querini Stampalia Foundation

Side view of the bridge entering the Querini Stampalia Foundation
One of the interior spaces of the Querini Stampalia Foundation
An interesting suspended corridor that joins two buildings

Our Creative Director was very fortunate to stay at a really quirky property, Fabrizio’s Tower Apartment close to the Rialto Bridge. Also in the San Lio neighbourhood, the apartment is set over 5 floors, almost like a tower. Each floor houses a different living space, with the top floor having a view of the rooftops of Venice, just splendid.

At the ground floor main entrance of the tower apartment

Whoever was responsible for the decorating the apartment, did it with a lot of love and sentimentality. There are old art posters from Venice lining the walls of the stairwell. The entire vibe is very lived in, it’s like the apartment really housed many memories, and as a guest, you feel like you’ve walked in, lived in and become a part of those memories.

Here’s a breakdown of how the tower apartment is laid out. You actually ascend to Level 1 to enter the apartment, so the first living space is on Level 2, which houses the main and only bathroom and a spacious utility and laundry room. The next level up, is the main bedroom. Another level up is the living room, which has a small desk by the window. And then the top level which is the kitchen.

The stairs leading up to the top floor where the kitchen is located

Spectacular sunset view over the rooftops of Venice from the top kitchen floor of the tower apartment
Very quaint outdoor seating of one of the osteria nearby
View from one of the windows of the tower apartment

Our Creative Director LOVES the tower apartment, and will definitely rebook when he visits Venice again. Yes, some may not relish the thought of going up that many flights of steps every day, but it’s an apartment with an experience that’s one and only. And that top floor kitchen’s view is absolutely bucket list worthy.

Fabrizio’s Tower Apartment in San Lio, Venice is https://www.airbnb.com.au/rooms/24125228

We still have more of Venice to share, don’t despair. For those like us who can’t get to Venice but want to experience city, do check out YouTube where there are many walking video tours of the city. That’s how we’ve been spending our time in lockdown here in Melbourne also.

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