Ca della Corte

Dorsoduro, Venice, Italy Book from Eur73

Reviewed by Laura Dixon
Friendly palazzo B&B with dazzling chandeliers, plus apartments for 2-7 so you can live like a local
Venice has so many museums, monuments and milling masses that it’s easy to feel like a cog in a tourist machine. But not at Ca della Corte. Here, in the 16th-century palazzo of Caterina and Piero, you are welcomed as an old friend, and shown to a room overlooking tranquil gardens which feel a million miles from the bustle of San Marco.

You’ll be given a detailed city map and genuinely useful advice on the local area, once settled you can make yourself a tea or coffee, chat with other guests on the roof terrace, or even play the grand piano.

If you need a bit more space and independence, the owners also lease a couple apartments nearby. You get more space for your money, the privilege of your own front door key, and the luxury of leaving the cleaning to someone else.

Highs

  • Ideal location: 4 minutes' walk from Piazzale Roma (bus / car terminus) but in a quiet residential quarter with plenty of cafés and restaurants
  • The décor is full of classical Venetian charm, from the rich fabrics to the giant glass chandelier above the breakfast table
  • Caterina can arrange anything with a bit of advance notice, from small music concerts to the hire of neighbouring buildings for exhibitions, events and workshops
  • Great for young children: when we revisited in 2013 we saw families making use of the free cots, strollers etc (but watch the stairs)

Lows

  • It’s hard to find - you'll get a map when you book through i-escape - and don't confuse it with Casa della Corte near San Marco Square
  • The Standard Rooms in the palazzo are nothing special, but still clean and comfy
  • Some bathrooms are rather old-fashioned and the apartment kitchens are lacking in basic utensils
  • Previous reports mentioned ghastly pre-wrapped breakfasts, but this is often the case in Venice
  • Those staying in apartments may feel a bit left to their own devices; you have to come up to the B&B for any concierge service or suggestions on what to do

Best time to go

High season is from Easter to the end of June, and again from September through October. It’s popular because of the clear and warm (but not too hot) weather. Because of the increased heat and humidity (and crowds), Summer is generally mid-season, although the Redentore and the film festival are always popular. Winter are low season - and a good time to see the sites without the crowds if you don’t mind a chilly wind and the risk of acqua alta (high tides). Of course, Christmas and Carnival are the exceptions to this rule and need plenty of advance booking.

Our top tips

Take a walk around the Zattere waterfront area of Venice (over the Ponte d'Accademia in the Dorsoduro district) for the best views of the lagoon, quiet cafes and evening sunsets. The Gianduja gelato over here is thought to be the best in the city.

Great for...

Family
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • B&B + Apartments
  • 9 rooms + 2 apartments
  • Breakfast only (restaurants nearby)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
Room: Standard Room

Rooms

The Main Palazzo hold the guests rooms, and there are a couple of apartments 5-10 minutes' walk away. The bedrooms are not the height of luxury or style, but perfectly clean and comfortable. Likewise the bathrooms, which are fine by Italian standards but in some cases could do with updating. But this is not a place you come for the décor - it's the friendly service and authentic location that lift it above the ordinary.

The guest rooms are spread over 3 floors and arranged around the owners’ own accommodation. Most look over the gardens (which are reserved for the owners’ use) and are very tranquil. Pride of place goes to the Junior Suite on the first floor - a huge L-shaped room with a mini grand piano, a double bed plus a sofa, bookshelves and pretty Venetian chandeliers. It’s perfect for a romantic retreat. The Superior Rooms also well sized. Some have double aspect views while others are more cosy and secluded.

The Standard Rooms are really nothing to write home about, but still clean, comfortable and well-kept. All rooms have TV, phone, air-conditioning, tea- and coffee-making facilities, minibar, breakfast table and a small, simple ensuite bathroom with a bathtub and shower.

The apartments offer a true live like a local experience, perfect for your second or third trip to the city. Both are furnished with a with a blend of antiques, oils and watercolours but with enough restraint that it feels like you can relax there, rather than constantly worry that you’ll break something.

Henry’s Haven (sleeping 2-6) is a plush 2-bedroom maisonette next to the Frari church with its own courtyard garden, living room, open-plan kitchen and ensuite bathrooms. Jeremy Irons stayed here while filming in Venice and wanted to buy it, largely because it has discreet entrances and exits down a choice of 2 tiny alleyways that would preserve his privacy.

We loved the Gaffaro apartment (sleeping 2-7) at the top of flight of narrow stairs in a palazzo turned residential block overlooking a canal. (Fortunately we didn’t have to bring heavy suitcases up - there’s no lift). Caterina can provide advice on which apartments will suit you - we recommend Henry’s Haven for a couple or small family and the Gaffaro for a group of friends or an older family.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Terrace
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

B&B guests get a simple continental breakfast of rolls, brioche, orange juice, tea or coffee, jam, honey, cheese spread and yoghurt, which you can have brought to your room on request. Breakfast is usually served in the first-floor dining room on an antique dining table beneath the most enormous chandelier. There is a small patio downstairs and a roof terrace at the top of the palazzo.

The apartments also get a breakfast service - a 'welcome hamper' with daily top-up; but you’ll need to make your own hot drinks, of course, and get fresh bread from the canal-side shop, if you want it; you can also request the bar ticket for a nearby café as an alternative. With a reasonably well-equipped kitchen at your disposal, it is obviously much easier to supplement the breakfast, or indeed to rustle up your own simple lunches and dinners, should the mood take you. Each apartment has a few pots and pans, a coffee machine, a stove and oven, cutlery and crockery. It's fine for pastas or salads, but don’t plan any gastronomic feasts.

If you want to eat out, Antiche Carampane is very nearby (although ask for directions as it can be tricky to find); it’s a friendly, family-run establishment with incredibly delicious food - the best of our trip - sourced fresh from the Rialto Market that day. This excellence hasn’t gone unnoticed so ask someone at the B&B to help with booking a table. At lunchtime, grab a bite at one of the city’s barcari - small bars with even smaller dishes called cicheti (mini sandwiches, salads, cured hams and cheeses). They’re fast paced and often filled with locals; we were sat next to a gondolier on his lunch break.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Children meals
  • Coffee tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Welcome hamper
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Take to the water! The vaporetti (waterbuses) are a cost-effective and practical way to see the city, while the gondolas offer a quintessential (if pricey) Venetian experience. For something in between, hop on one of the traghetto, which commuters use to cross the Grand Canal

  • Take a short walk to the Rialto fish and produce Market, for fresh, edible offering of all shapes and sizes, a little beyond this you’ll find the iconic Rialto Bridge

  • Venice's churches are myriad and stunning; the Frari church is very close by, and we highly recommend spending an evening at the Chiesa di San Vidal, where Vivaldi recitals are held amongst Renaissance masterpieces

  • Marvel at St Mark's Square: it’s the centre of the action with the glittering Basilica di San Marco, the historic Palazzo Ducale, and the Museo Corror lining its tourist filled centre

  • Exercise your flexible friend - San Polo's shops are great for clothes, leather goods (bags, gloves, etc), tasty treats and Venetian masks

  • Take a waterbus to the nearby islands of San Michele (a huge cemetery park), Murano (famous for glass-blowing), Burano (fishing, lace-making and gaily-coloured houses) or Torcello (with 7th- to 13th-century architecture, Byzantine mosaics and a tiny resident population of some 80 people)

  • Or just explore the labyrinth of narrow alleys and little hump-backed bridges - getting lost is all part of the fun here and it's very easy to do!

      Activities on site or nearby include:

      • Boat trips
      • Concerts
      • Historical sites
      • Museums / galleries
      • Shopping / markets

Kids

Venice can be a tricky place to take kids: we took our baby and found hefting our pushchair up a million steps a day far from relaxing (bring a backpack if you don't want to suffer the same fate). That said, Italians love babies, and we were warmly welcomed wherever we went.

Toddlers will need an extra eye on them at all times but bigger children will enjoy the watery city as much as anyone (especially if they have a taste for gelato). Ca' della Corte's owners are very happy to see children and babies.

Food is easy (unless you're unlucky enough to have a child who doesn't like pizza and pasta) and the city's main attractions have family appeal - boats, beaches, grand art galleries and museums and wide piazzas.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

The apartments are well suited for families with 1-2 children. Note that the Main Palazzo and the canalside apartment Gaffaro have a lot of stairs and no lift - not ideal with a pushchair. One of the Main Palazzo's Superior Rooms has a mezzanine level which makes it a pleasant option for families.

Babysitting:

English-speaking babysitter can be arranged with advance notice.

Baby equipment:

  • Cot
  • Stroller
  • Backpack
  • Bottle warming

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

The B&B serves breakfast but it isn't worth staying in for. If you're in an apartment, stock your fridge with goodies in advance. Feeding children in Venice is easy; tearing them away from the gelateria, not so...

Kids Activities nearby:

Most of Venice's attractions are interesting for children - particularly anything on the water.

Families Should Know:

Steps up to the B&B and to the Gaffaro apartment aren't ideal if you have a pushchair and heavy luggage - there's no lift. Bring reins if you have a toddler who might run into the canal. Venice's many bridges are all stepped, and it is hard work with a pushchair.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

7/
Rooms
6/
Food
8/
Service
7/
Value
7/
Overall

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