My life in Venice…

Linda Little from Sydney, Australia, bought a two-bedroom apartment in the San Polo district of Venice in early 2016.

It sits three floors up in a canalside townhouse, in a quiet area close to all the city’s major sights, and Linda gets to enjoy watching gondolas passing beneath her balcony. She and her partner spend at least a month in the property every year, and offer holiday rentals the rest of the time.

What drew her to Venice? “It’s like nowhere else in the world,” Linda says. “It’s unique and full of soul. The city’s age and wear are, to me, like smile-lines and wisdom-wrinkles on a beautiful, knowing matriarch. Every piece of broken plaster, every leaning door and tilting floor reminds me how much I love her soul!” Finding the right property in the city, however, wasn’t easy. “It took a good three years looking at dozens of properties each time we went to Venice before finding the right one. Eventually, it was Andrea Redivo Zaglia of Properties in Italy who found the perfect place for us. He guided us through the whole purchasing process, had great contacts in the real estate industry, and helped us out in numerous ways.”

The apartment, Ca’ Fortuna, needed a bit of a makeover. “We re-painted, re-arranged the kitchen, bought all new beds and furniture as well as antiques from a wonderful local craftsman, Bruno Barbon. He and his elderly friends even carried a glass-topped dining table up three floors to the apartment! The décor is quite glamorous with a mixture of antiques and sleek modern furniture. I was excited to find a beautiful Swarovski chandelier for the dining area, and love the sparkle it adds. One of the biggest issues in Venice, especially on upper storeys, is the lack of water pressure, so we installed a new pump, water tank and water heater. It’s illegal to install a pump without also installing a tank as otherwise your pump sucks all the water from other apartments. Venice has its own set of issues when it comes to the practical side of anything. Everything has to arrive by boat, for example. And gardening on the balcony is quite an experience in itself!”

The city’s strong holiday rentals market was a factor in Linda’s decision to buy, and she’s been very pleased to discover that she can fill as much of her annual rental calendar as she likes. “It would have been much cheaper to buy in a small town or city elsewhere in Italy,” she says, “but the returns would not be anywhere near as good as they are in thriving Venice. Rental returns had to cover the holding costs in every way to make this viable. It’s been a pleasant surprise that a property so newly on the rental market has proven so popular.”