Self catering apartments in Rome and Venice

The Piano Nobile

We walked into the house for the first time in 1970, up to the main floor and almost through it-the Venetian fifteenth century terrazzo was in pieces and there was a large hole right down to the beams and the floor below. The gothic windows had been cemented in, the place was pitch black.

Bit by bit over five years things were put to rights. Who could forget Nane the old stonemason, long since retired who carefully day after day for one whole year armed with hammer and chisel, working his patient way round every arch and column to free the beautiful main portico and every single one of the five gothic arches on the main facade from cement, without harming the carved stone?

And Sergio who put the terrazzo floors to rights? And so many artisans who restored each bit of the house so carefully? Light now floods in what is one of the most unusual windows in Venice.

This apartment needs no further comment-or..perhaps one, from a guest who had haggled about the price so long that I was beginning to wonder if he ought to come at all, and who on arrival said to me reproachfully : “but why on earth didn't you tell us that it was like this?”

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My own contribution has been to spend a day in St Stephen´s Cathedral in Vienna- which is exactly the same age as the house- drawing all the flowers on the stonemasonry there, and then choosing plants which were most like them for the balcony in Venice . This balcony now has sage, rosemary, basil, jasmine vines and geraniums- quite ordinary flowers but which , especially the jasmine, give the summer evening air that slight scent of the Orient which suits Venice so well - not to speak - before we get too starry eyed- of counteracting the somewhat less poetical smell of the canals if the wind is in the wrong direction.