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Unique Dorsoduro Sanctuary, Newly Restored, Private Entrance and Backyard

Bedrooms 3
Space 74 m²
Property type apartment
Minimum Stay 3 nights


About the property

Unique Landmark Apartment In The Heart Of Cool Dorsoduro

Il Buco della Suora is the latest project from The Lovely Brothers, the team responsible for Bell End – the restoration of an old stable in Brooklyn. Il Buco picks up where Bell End left off, applying principles learned on land to the unique landscape of a city built on water.

The process of rebuilding took two years by hand, boat and rubber wheel, utilizing the collective talents of Venetian artisans.

Unusually for a city steeped in disguise, Il Buco embraces nakedness. It trusts the functionality of brick, stone, ancient beams and architraves, salvaged oak, rough plaster, hand-made tiles, iron, steel. The central flow of the apartment is retained, with rooms repurposed for a contemporary way of life. Some doors and walls were removed to facilitate openness, whilst retaining the rough, natural textures which afford warmth and the sense of a home. Very little is concealed or embellished. The apartment uses what is endemically beautiful, peeling back a century of remodeling to embrace the core principles of the building.

Walls are of brick and plaster, ceilings of original wood. Floors were taken back to dirt and resurfaced with Moroccan tiles, employing a perspective-enhancing design that echoes the floors of Basilica San Marco. Closets were eschewed in favour of oak shelving, so the contents of the apartment - books, records, pots, pans, hooks, hats, coats - become part of its shifting visual landscape, unique to the people who live in it.

Systems are new. Under-floor radiant heat provides a perfect antidote to Venice's winter chill (there are few things more life-affirming than climbing out of bed and planting sleepy feet on a warm floor). Summer heat is mitigated by air-conditioning. There is an endless supply of on-demand hot water.

The heart of the house - living/dining room - adjoins the kitchen and outside yard. We put emphasis upon the urge to gather, with a farmhouse table in the middle of the space, chairs around it. The same in the yard; big table, stools. It's not a place we want to feel compelled to leave. Communion and sanctuary - talking, cooking, coffee in the morning, wine at night - were guiding principles. Proximity to the kitchen, with its commercial range, farmhouse sink and array of equipment, means guests can live as a family. Passing plates of pasta through the kitchen window to waiting hands outside is one of the seminal experiences of being here.

The living room (with full-size sofa bed) is the largest room in the apartment, with armchairs, books, turntable and vintage records, and an eclectic array of modern American antiques, including vintage megaphones, clam rakes, old menus, meathooks and a bass drum from a church marching band. Iron-shuttered windows look out onto a small garden. The leather couch from Spazio Boselli provides the perfect surface for horizontal dozing. However, a couple of easy maneuvers and it becomes a double bed; the space is instantly transformed from living room to elegant bedroom, with its own full en-suite bathroom (shower, toilet, sink, bidet). Roll the barn door shut and you’re in your own private suite. The same maneuver in reverse, you’re back to a living room.

Bedroom 2, in the front of the house, has a double bed with salvaged oak headboard, 50's Murano chandelier and US military cabinet. It has two large windows onto Calle Degolin for great light, and full-length iron shutters for privacy.

Bedroom 3 has a single-size oak bed, crystal chandelier and a large iron-shuttered window onto Calle Degolin.

Mattresses are new, cotton sheets and towels by Bassetti, blankets from a farm in upstate New York. There is a choice of down or synthetic pillows.

The main bathroom (large enough to meander about in), has a shower, double sink, toilet and bidet spray.

We avoided the intrusion of a large TV screen. Instead, there's an iMac exclusively for guests, which can be used as a computer or television with your own subscription service. It comes with an external hard-drive for DVD’s and sits inconspicuously in a small office just off the living/dining room, with its own window onto the outside yard.

Alternatively, the apartment has high-speed wireless internet, so if you've brought your own laptop, you can work or watch stuff on that. Music plays through a wireless Sonos system, as well as the turntable with our own collection of records.

The outside yard is simple and rustic, backing on to the crumbling walls of the catechism school. At certain times of the day you can hear the kids in the church playground. A single, monolithic slab of mahogany on saw-horses provides an impromptu dining table.

There's a washing machine and drying rack in the closet. And - most critically - a 'carello' with sturdy wheels for your frequent trips to the supermarket and beyond. With this and a swift gait, you will be able to pass as a Venetian.

A note of caution. Whilst we welcome children (we have two of our own) we ask that guests remember this is our home, on an quiet calle, populated entirely by Venetians, most of whom are elderly. We are 'stranieri' and as such our reputation rests upon the kindness of our guests.

The name of the apartment refers to a 16th century passageway - Il Buco - that connected Santa Maria dei Carmini to the convent at San Sebastiano. According to legend, cloistered nuns - le suore - used this dark corridor to attend services at Carmini without being spotted by lay-folk. The Nun’s Hole, long-vanished, passed through our little corner of Dorsoduro. By adopting the name Il Buco della Suora, we've gone some way to fostering its restoration.

Calle Degolin is ideally situated off Calle Lunga San Barnaba, a narrow alleyway well-known to locals, that connects San Barnaba to San Sebastiano (with its iconic Veronese paintings). It's a minute's walk to lively Campo Santa Margherita, with fish stalls, butcher, vegetable stands and myriad of restaurants, wine shops, bars and cafes. It is also close to several supermarkets, including the only one in all of Venice that stays open every night until 11 (on Zattere, hence great strolling opportunities while gazing across the canal to Il Redentore on Giudecca).

We're very close to Ca' Rezzonico vaporetto stop, with no bridges between (for that first and last day with luggage), as well as San Basilio/Zattere just round the corner. 10 minutes by vaporetto to Piazza San Marco, or 15 on foot. It's a short walk to Piazzale Roma for buses or Ferrovia for trains. An even shorter walk to the bridges at Accademia or Rialto. There are traghetti very close by at San Samuele and San Tomà. You can also get a water taxi to within 30 feet of our door, but nobody does.

Venice is tiny, and there are countless famous attractions extremely close by: Scuola San Rocco, Frari, Chiesa dei Carmini, San Sebastiano, San Nicolo dei Mendecoli, Ca' Rezzonico itself, Angelo San Raffaele, Zattere, Accademia, the famous spritz bar Schiave, vegetable barge at Ponte Pugni, endless restaurants and gelaterie, the famous pasticcerie Tonolo and Colussi, gondola workshop at San Trovaso. It's a short walk to Rialto with its fish market and cicchetti bars, Campo San Polo, Campo San Giacomo, the Guggenheim and Salute. And - for when you're ready to take on the masses - 15 minutes to Piazza San Marco, with Fenice along the way.

Il Buco della Suora offers a unique way to stay as a local in the best part of Venice.

The Municipality of Venice requires that we preregister guests with a small contract, stating their details, the sum they have paid, and the payment of a nominal tourist tax.

The apartment (and our Brooklyn property) have their own website -

More Details

Julian Richards
Member since: 2014
Speaks english, italian
Response time
Within an hour
Response rate
Calendar last updated:
17 February, 2018

About Julian Richards

Part-time writer, talker, restauranteur, traveler. Split my time between the Catskills, Brooklyn and Venice. Two daughters, 17 and 10, two cats, 9 chickens, several ideas.

Julian Richards purchased this apartment in 2014

Guestbook comments from the owner

Nous avons été accueillies par Enrica qui nous a expliqué le fonctionnement de l'appartement le logement est agréable, confortable, peut être un peu de manque de luminosité car c'est un rez de chaussée mais ça se voit sur les photos donc ce n'est pas une surprise. le quartier est très vivent, beaucoup de restaurants, les commerces à proximité donc bien situé; je recommande cet endroit.
Oct 2015
  • 1 of 2


Accommodation and facilities for this holiday apartment rental in Dorsoduro, Italy

Property Type:
  • apartment
  • floor 1
Building Type:
  • building
  • Guests provide their own meals
Floor Area:
  • 74 m²
House Rules:
  • Max. occupancy: 5
  • Minimum Age Limit for Renters ...
  • children welcome
  • pets not allowed
  • non smoking only
Location Type:
  • City Centre
  • Monument View
  • Family
  • Historic
  • Romantic
  • Tourist Attractions
  • Air Conditioning
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating ...
  • Internet ...
  • Linens Provided
  • Living Room
  • Telephone ...
  • Towels Provided
  • Washing Machine
  • Coffee Maker
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Dishwasher ...
  • Kitchen ...
  • Oven ...
  • Pantry Items
  • Refrigerator ...
  • Stove ...
  • Toaster
  • Dining
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 8 people
  • 2 Bathrooms
  • Bathroom 1 - toilet , shower enclosure , bidet
    Bathroom 2 - toilet , shower enclosure , bidet
  • 3 Bedrooms, Sleeps 5
  • Bedroom 1 - 1 double bed , Large room with two windows onto traditional Venetian calle
    Bedroom 2 - 1 single bed , Pretty room with window onto traditional Venetian calle
    Bedroom 3 - 1 sofa bed/futon , Huge room with two windows onto garden
  • Books
  • Stereo
  • Television ...
  • Deck / Patio
  • wheelchair accessible
  • bay
  • churches
  • cinemas
  • festivals
  • library
  • live theatre
  • marina
  • museums
  • restaurants
  • ruins
  • synagogues
  • winery tours
Leisure Activities:
  • antique hunting
  • photography
  • sight seeing
  • walking
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • groceries
  • hospital
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • swimming


Wonderful! 4.8/5 -
(29 traveller reviews)

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Unique Dorsoduro Sanctuary, Newly Restored, Private Entrance and Backyard
average rating of 4.7586207 based on 31 reviews


  • 5 of 5

This was the Venice of my dreams--nothing to do with the masses of tourists in the San Marco side of the Grand Canal. This apartment is beyond the beyond and the location is sublime. I wouldn't stay any where else!

  • Review Submitted: 03/09/2017
  • Date of Stay: August 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: So kind. Yes, please keep coming back. We're forming an extended family ...
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Lovely in every way!!!

  • 5 of 5

This place was perfect for our family. We came with our 8 year old daughter, and 71 year old father. There was plenty of room, and having two bathrooms was great. We loved how clean and well stocked the kitchen was with supplies. There were plenty of comfy wool blankets, and having the washing machine was very helpful. Great location, and we just loved how easy it was to catch a taxi to the airport from the San Basillo secret taxi drop. Thank you some much for allowing us to stay!!! We left wine for the next guests to indulge.

  • Review Submitted: 03/01/2018
  • Date of Stay: December 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Beautiful ground floor apartment so stylish

  • 5 of 5

3 of us stayed this past weekend and I cannot Rate it highly enough, great location 5 mins from Vaporetto stop, we went to Burano which was a highlight but all the tourist sites are amazing, in terms of location this rental is on the button, bravo Julian

  • Review Submitted: 28/11/2017
  • Date of Stay: November 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
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Authentic Venice!

  • 4 of 5

This home was a great way to experience the real Venice. It was within walking distance or easy water travel to all major attractions. The neighbourhood itself afforded all the things that one needed for food, drink and entertainment. The owner's detailed notes provided many opportunities to experience the local neighbourhood.

  • Review Submitted: 08/09/2017
  • Date of Stay: September 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thanks for coming, we'd love to have you back.
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  • 5 of 5

Our family of 5 (children aged 4-11) had a wonderful stay at Julian's house, capping off our 3 week tour of Italy. From the moment you walk in and are greeted by Enrica, you will immediately be struck by the care of the restoration of this property. Having been to Venice before some 11 years previous, the trip was infinitely better this time, principally due to the location of the property in the Dorsoduro area. On our previous trip we centred ourselves predictably nearer to St Marks in a boutique hotel. In doing so, we missed out on the wonderful charm of this area, the warren of nearby streets, local shops and restaurants with a more relaxed and sedate atmosphere, but still within close walking distance of touristville. Normally we would unpack quickly and hit the sights; on this occasion, we just didn't want to leave the house and before opening a suitcase, enjoyed a bottle of wine in the courtyard. The property is as cool as it looks on the photos (we chose the sofa bed above the normal bed because the room is so cool!), is in a great location, the communication is faultless and the written information highly entertaining - do look at the lovely brothers website; Enrica was really helpful and we also took advantage of the car to the airport which worked like a dream. Highly recommended!

  • Review Submitted: 03/09/2017
  • Date of Stay: August 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
Owner's Response: Perfect guests. It's so nice when people 'get it'. Please come back.
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Beautiful place, great location

  • 5 of 5

We loved our stay in Dorsoduro. Great location -- within easy walking distance to everything, yet in a less-touristy part of town.

The place is beautifully appointed, and also very functional. We enjoyed the outdoor patio -- great place for breakfast. The kitchen is fully functional. And, the air conditioning was greatly appreciated during the hot Venice summer.

Highly recommend.

  • Review Submitted: 28/08/2017
  • Date of Stay: August 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Nearest Airport
10 Miles
Venice Marco Polo
Nearest Barpub
150 Metres
Campo Santa Margarita
Nearest Ferry
250 Metres
Ca' Rezzonico
Nearest Golf
2 Miles
Nearest Train
0.5 Miles
Venezia Santa Lucia
Nearest Motorway
5 Miles
Nearest Restaurant
75 Metres
Al Profeta
Nearest Ski
75 Miles
The Dolomites
Nearest Beach
2 Miles
Car: not necessary


Rates & Availability

Contact Owner

Additional information about rental rates

Cleaning Fee AU$158.07

Owner's Cancellation Policy

100% refund if cancelled at least 60 days before arrival date.

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