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Palazzo Albrizzi

A vacation apartment for well-heeled Venetophiles

Palazzo Albrizzi

ABOVE: An evening view of the Palazzo Albrizzi and its roof patio. INSET BELOW: A view of the campiello from the patio, the Calle Stretta, a 19th Century shell fragment on an exterior wall, a painted ceiling, and the palazzo's chimneys.

Campiello AlbrizziVenice is awash in holiday apartments, and we've stayed in a number of short-term rentals over the years. In the winter of 2011, while staying with our dog Maggie in an apartment on the Campiello Albrizzi in San Polo, we had a chance to tour our landlord's other rental property across the square: A 6-bedroom, 4-bath flat with a private roof patio in the Palazzo Albrizzi.

Giulo Giannelli Viscardi (an internationally-known flutist) told us that his ancestor bought the palazzo in 1650, added a floor, and moved in 30 years later. The Albrizzis and their descendants have owned it ever since, and Signor Viscardi's relatives--many of whom live in Milan and other cities--still use the large apartment for Christmas celebrations and other family gatherings.

(It's worth noting that Signor Viscardi isn't the only modern-day celebrity in the family tree: His grandfather, Baron Gianni Rubin de Cervin, founded Venice's Naval History Museum and designed the interior and logo of Harry's Bar.)

About the apartment:

Calle StrettaThe Palazzo Albrizzi family apartment is on the Campiello Albrizzi, a small square near the Campo San Polo. (It connects to the latter via the Calle Stretta, which is said to be the narrowest street in Venice.) The campiello is quiet most of the time--especially in the evening--but it comes to life for brief periods during the day, when children from the Suore Salesie Catholic elementary school spill into the square for recess.

Austrian shell in Campiello AlbrizziThe Palazzo Albrizzi is immediately recognizable by the artillery shell that decorates its façade: The shell hit the building during the Revolution of 1848-1849. It was later mounted on a wall with an inscription by Gabriele d'Annunzio, who proclaimed "eternal enmity" toward the Austrians (an attitude that wasn't reciprocated, to judge from the many Austrian tourists and students who come to Venice more than 160 years later).

Upon entering the Palazzo Albrizzi, you'll see a massive 16th Century ship's lantern from the Battle of Lepanto in the lobby. A short walk leads to a small, modern elevator that takes you to the piano nobile or "noble floor" in the four-story palace.

Palazzo Albrizzi ceiling detailAs you leave the elevator, you'll find yourself in the apartment's Grand Hall, which does double duty as a ballroom. The Grand Hall and some of the other rooms were being restored during our visit, but we toured the master bedroom, living room, dining room, and several other chambers. (To see large photos with captions, go to page 2 of this article.)

When this article was lasj updated in April, 2012, the 700 m or 7,500-square-foot apartment rented for €600-800 per night, €4000 a week, or--when available--for €15000 per month. Rates include the services of one full-time cook-housekeeper and, for larger groups, an additional maid. The staff will prepare breakfast and either lunch or dinner each day (cost of food not included).

Tips for prospective renters:

  • Palazzo Albrizzi chimneysThe Palazzo Albrizzi's rates may sound high, but they're comparable to what you might pay in a five-star hotel, and the cost per person is fairly reasonable for groups of 6 to 10 guests.

  • The apartment normally isn't for rent during Carnival or from late December to early January, but it can be rented most of the year. (The calendar on the apartment's HomeAway page shows what dates are available.)

  • Although the Palazzo Albrizzi apartment is rich in history and furnishings, it doesn't offer constant pampering or over-the-top luxury features. If you're looking for room service, spa treatments, a barman on the premises, and a bathroom that recreates a tropical rainforest, you'll probably be happier with a suite in a five-star hotel.  If you're looking for the chance to live like an upper-class Venetian family for a week or two, with a housekeeper to take care of cooking and cleaning, you're likely to enjoy your time in the apartment.

For more information--including user reviews, a map, a detailed description of rooms and amenities,  and current rates for groups of 4 to 10 guests, see HomeAway's Palazzo Albrizzi page.

For large captioned photos of the apartment and the Campiello Albrizzi, please go to page 2 of this article.

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