Gio & Gio

San Marco, Venice, Italy Book from Book from £84 per night

18th-century style with a contemporary twist in this perfectly located B&B, just 5 minutes’ walk from St Mark’s Square
How do you find authenticity in a city like Venice? With the full-time population depleted to little more than 60,000 and an influx of up to 20 million tourists a year, it’s not easy. But this historic, semi-aquatic and often quite mystical urbanisation has always defied the expectations of the outside world - and Gio & Gio ties right in with that.

As tourists pound the busy thoroughfare to nearby St Mark’s Square, you’ll slip through inconspicuous bottle-green doors, ascend a marble staircase and arrive in a charming little Venetian home. Inside, 3 sumptuously dressed guest rooms and an understated Baroque lounge exhibit gilt gold mirrors, antique turquoise vases and 18th-century family portraits against powdery grey walls. The apartment, owned by the charming Gianni, has become an oasis for culture-weary travellers. And as you unwind on the sofa, delicious coffee in hand (this is Italy, after all), the only indication of your busy city location will be the spirited gondolier repartee flooding the canal beneath you. Finding authenticity in Venice is rare; finding it for a good price with an adjacent gondolier stop is truly special.

Highs

  • Gianni’s insider tips will help you ‘live like a local’ - he knows the area and can recommend the best restaurants to try, places to see and things to do
  • As this is Gianni’s apartment it feels like a welcoming Venetian home
  • A brilliant location, moments from the Piazza San Marco and Teatro La Fenice, and just across the bridge there’s the Gallerie dell’Accadameia, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and the Punta della Dogana
  • Romantics will love the large Junior Suite with its canal views, Juliet balcony and table for in-room breakfasts
  • A group could book all 3 rooms, giving free rein of the apartment’s communal spaces (lounge and small kitchen)

Lows

  • Gio & Gio is an informal B&B rather than a hotel. There’s no reception, and the owners are only on-site in the morning (a phone number is provided for the rest of the time)
  • The apartment is intimate so expect to mingle with other guests
  • The adjacent canal and its gondoliers are both a blessing and a curse - they can be noisy. If peace and quiet is a must, choose a Double Room
  • Rooms are small and in-room facilities are limited
  • Breakfast is disappointing - pre-packaged pastries and breads - but that’s common in Venice
  • On our last visit the rooms looked a bit dated, but you are in the heart of Venice and the price tag is worth it

Best time to go

The general consensus is to aim for spring or autumn, when temperatures are mild enough that the city doesn't become claustrophobic (or smelly!). The famous carnival usually falls in February, as does Valentine's Day, both of which draw huge numbers of visitors. We visited at the end of February (just after these events) and found the city to be relatively quiet, creating a stunning, peaceful mood. Winter can be incredibly atmospheric (particularly if it snows), but it can also bring acqua altas (floods caused by high tides). If your visit does coincide with one, don't panic: they usually only last a few hours and the Venetians are well prepared (often with spare wellies at the ready!).

Our top tips

  • Venice is great for shopping - the streets leading to St Mark's Square are lined with exclusive designer stores, the Dorsoduro area is full of independent galleries, and San Polo has the Rialto market as well as great artisan masks and furnishings
  • Rather than ascending the busy Campanile di San Marco, take a vaporetto across the water to the Chiesa di San Giorgio bell tower. It's much quieter and the views encompass all of Venice's most iconic landmarks
  • Great for...

    Cheap & Chic
    City Style
    Family
    • Boutique B&B
    • 3
    • Breakfast only (walk to restaurants)
    • 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
    Room:

    Rooms

    Though the apartment is Gianni’s home, he only spends a few hours on-site each morning during the daily maid service. This laid-back approach encourages guests to make use of the entire apartment. In each room, 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.

    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. 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 an electric fireplace, the other a bathtub and shower (rare in Venice); both encourage blissful slumbers thanks to their positions overlooking quiet walkways.

    While bedrooms have minimal facilities - no TVs, radios, phones or safe boxes - the shared lounge has a TV, CD player and an enormous stack of magazines, plus there’s a coffee machine and seating in the small kitchen.

    Features include:

    • Air conditioning
    • Central heating
    • Extra beds
    • Hairdryer
    • Honesty bar
    • Shared lounge (satellite TV)
    • Toiletries
    • WiFi

    Eating

    In the morning, breakfast will be waiting for you in the kitchen. There's a coffee machine and a fridge with 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. 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.

    Features include:

    • Breakfast
    • Communal dining
    • Restaurants nearby
    Eating:
    Activity:

    Activities

    • Take a 5-minute walk to the most famous square in Venice. The Piazza San Marco is the centre of the action with the glittering Basilica di San Marco, the historic Palazzo Ducale, and the Museo Corror
    • Also within striking distance is the Teatro La Fenice, one of the most famous (and beautiful) theatres in Italy. It's worth booking tickets to the opera ahead of your trip, but daytime self-guided audio tours are available
    • 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
    • Cross the Accademia bridge to visit the famous gallery of the same name. A former convent, it now holds a world-class collection of pre-19th-century art
    • A little further into Dorsoduro you find Peggy Guggenheim’s famous modern art collection displayed in her impressive home overlooking the Grand Canal. Works on display include those by Pollock, Picasso and Peggy’s ex-husband, Max Ernst
    • Enjoy a Vivaldi recital by acclaimed violin troop Interpreti Veneziani. Evening performances are regularly held in the Chiesa di San Vidal, where Renaissance masterpieces adorn the church’s walls

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Boat trips
    • Historical sites
    • Museums / galleries
    • Private guided tours
    • Shopping / markets

    Kids

    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.

    Best for:

    Children (4-12 years)

    Family friendly accommodation:

    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.

    Kid Friendly:

    Location

    Gio & Gio is bang in the heart of Venice, moments from St Mark's Square and the southern end of the Grand Canal.

    By Air
    Venice Marco Polo (14km) is the closest airport, while Treviso Airport (35km) is popular with budget airlines. Both have regular flights and offer easy access to central Venice.

    From the Airport
    Visitors arriving in Marco Polo Airport can either take a private water taxi or the Alilaguna shared taxi-boat straight from the airport. It's also possible to take a bus/taxi to Piazzale Roma and walk or take a vaporetto (waterbus). There are regular bus services from Treviso Airport (approx 40-minute drive). From here, catch a vaporetto (waterbus) down the Grand Canal (towards San Marco) and get off at the Santa Maria del Giglio stop. Once on dry land, it's a short walk to the B&B.

    By Train
    If you'd prefer to travel overland from the UK, you can reach Venice quite easily with the Eurostar from London, changing in Paris. See the excellent Seat 61 for details.

    Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.

    Airports:

    • Venice Marco Polo 14.0 km VCE
    • Treviso 35.0 km TSF

    Other:

    • Beach 0.1 km
    • Shops 0.1 km
    • Restaurant 0.1 km

    Our guests' ratings...

    Based on 15 independent reviews from i-escape guests

    9/10
    Room
    6/10
    Food
    8/10
    Service
    8/10
    Value
    8/10
    Overall

    Fantastic stay here. Perfect location and well looked after. Nothing too much trouble. The WiFi didn’t always work in my room and kept dropping out.
    Everything else was absolutely perfect. Thank you

    10/10,

    Gio & Gio is in a great location being close to most sights with a very good restaurant just across the canal. We had the Junior suite with its balcony overlooking the small canal and a sofa and breakfast table. The en-suite, however, was very small and awkwardly arranged. The shared lounge and kitchen were convenient on our first night when we had the apartment to ourselves but a little difficult when a family moved into the other rooms. The packaged breakfast provisions were disappointing.

    7/10,

    Better if friends or family take the other space because it is quite cosy. Breakfast was sweet and unimaginative. Could easily be improved.

    6/10,

    The coffee was excellent but it looks like neither us nor the other rooms touched much of the breakfast offering. Some fresher products would have been very much appreciated. Service was very welcoming but we ran out of toilet paper and I had no clue where to find some. It would be great to be shown a drawer or closet where a stock is available. We were recommended excellent restaurants by Gio & Gio. I am planning to come back and take the 3 rooms with friends. The location is perfect. I would just put a coffee table in the sitting room as we were kindly offered a bottle of Prosecco but couldn't find a spot to put our glass.

    8/10,

    Great BnB in incredible location. We had the whole place to ourselves so really was like having our own apartment in Venice. Would recommend the suite if available for the canal views.

    10/10,

    Fabulous

    10/10,

    Gio & Gio is good value compared to other hotels/b&b in Venice. Clean, nice sized room but a little unremarkable.

    6/10,

    We stayed at their flat and not in the room we booked because of some maintenance issue prior to our arrival. They were very accomadating and let us have the flat early morning as I was travelling alone with children. We all loved the flat and the service.

    9/10,

    The b&b was beautifully decorated and the host very helpful as we had a late check in due to a flight delay. The breakfast was poor, but I know this is something Italian's do not do well. I would suggest going for a coffee and croissant out of the b&b. Location is fantastic, walking distance to so many amazing places.

    7/10,

    Gio was just so lovely, he was so welcoming and helpful. The location is just perfect for anyone that is going to Venice for the first time and the breakfast spread was very yummy. I would recommend this place to all my friends and a huge thanks to Gio for everything. You were great.

    10/10,

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