“18th-century style with a contemporary twist in this elegant B&B, just 5 minutes’ walk from St Mark’s Square”
Though the apartment is Gianni’s home, it mainly operates as a B&B and provides entirely independent accommodation for guests; Gianni simply spends a few hours on-site each morning during the daily maid service. Note, there’s no formal reception.
This laid-back approach encourages guests to make use of the entire apartment. While bedrooms have minimal facilities - a hairdryer, toiletries and WiFi - the shared lounge has a satellite TV, a CD player and an enormous stack of magazines, plus there’s a coffee machine and seating in the small kitchen.
But don’t be fooled, this is no ‘back to basics’ homestay. Soft-grey silk drapes fall from tall windows while queensize beds are dressed in pretty velvet cushions and sumptuous chocolate and plum bedding. Antique burl-wood chests and hardwood floors mix with ornate headboards, 18th-century portraits and red Murano-glass chandeliers to create a unifying sense of elegance.
The spacious Junior Suite offers a particularly romantic stay. It is the only guest room to overlook the canal, and has a lovely Juliet balcony so you can throw open the French windows as you enjoy a summer’s breakfast (or wave to your lover as they cross the bridge outside!). Inside, a Classical tapestry hangs above a comfy sofa, but the ensuite shower room cuts a more modern figure with sandy marble tiling and a heated towel rail.
Though not as spacious as the Junior Suite, the Double Rooms have their own strengths. One has a cosy fireplace, the other a bathtub and shower (rare in Venice); both encourage blissful slumbers thanks to their positions overlooking quiet walkways.
In the morning you can surface at your leisure, safe in the knowledge that breakfast will be waiting for you in the kitchen. One wall is lined with units holding a coffee machine and crockery, and there’s a fridge with a selection of chilled goodies assigned to each room (milk, butter, yoghurts and juice). Opposite, a selection of packaged breads, pastries, cakes, teas and jams sits atop the dining table, as well as a toaster and kettle.
Though it isn’t the most decadent spread we’ve ever seen, it suits Gio & Gio’s ethos of prioritising informality and independence over traditional B&B service. The breakfast allows guests to make their own timetable, and Junior Suite guests have space to dine in their room.
Being such a tourist honey-trap means there’s no shortage of eateries in Venice, but finding somewhere decent is another matter. Our advice would be to grab light-lunch bites 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 sat next to a gondolier on his lunch break.
When choosing a restaurant for dinner, it’s worth seeking the advice of your hosts. Otherwise (unless you’ve done your research) it’s a bit of a lucky dip; you might get outstanding authentic cuisine, you might get something utterly awful. For a taste of iconic Venice, dine outdoors at Caffé Florian (Italy's oldest café) on the Piazza San Marco, or head to the famous (and outrageously expensive) Harry’s Bar for world-class Bellinis and Carpaccio.
Gio & Gio welcomes all ages, but it's quite an intimate set-up so families will need to be considerate of their fellow guests. Better to book all 3 rooms and have the entire apartment to yourselves. There are 2 rollaway beds but no baby cots so you'd need to bring your own.
Children (4-12 years)
The Junior Suite has space for up to 2 extra beds. Families with older children could book 2 rooms; one of the Double Rooms can be made up as a twin. Babies are welcome but guests will have to provide their own baby cots.