A common question for travelers to Venice is where to stay. I stay on the mainland, including this small hotel.
During one trip to Italy, my husband and I led a group through some of the highlights of Italy. This included a quick trip to Venice. The problem with Venice is that many of the hotels are over priced. It is also complicated to get a group to a hotel with bag and baggage. We usually opt to stay outside Venice. On this trip, we stayed somewhere new, the Villa Graziella Hotel, in Marghera, near Mestre.
The Villa Graziella is a charming, intimate hotel. It has only fourteen rooms. This means no large, noisy groups to disturb your sleep. Each room has its own bathroom (with shower or tub), television, telephone, and air conditioning. (Many Italian hotels charge extra for air conditioned rooms, a must for the summer months.) Breakfast is served in a charming room, and features a soft bread I've found nowhere else in Italy. There is a selection of jams, butter, or other toppings for your bread. You can choose between coffee, tea, cappuccino, or hot chocolate. Amazingly, water was offered to guests, and each guest was given a free, cold bottle of water to take for the day. The hotel features a small garden that would be perfect for a sharing a bottle of wine on a warm evening.
The Villa Graziella offers another prize to its guests, free parking! Our 16 passenger bus was able to park on the street with no problem. A public bus runs on the main street one block away, taking guests to Venice. The neighborhood is quiet and easy to walk around.
What about food? Just three blocks away is a supermercato (supermarket), offering items perfect for a picnic lunch. Approximately five blocks away is a fantastic, wonderful, delightful trattoria - pizzeria. Does that sound over done? It's not, it would be hard to praise the Santa Anna too much. When we arrived at the Villa Graziella we asked our hostess, Serena, for recommendations of places to eat. She suggested the Santa Anna instead of going into Venice. We wandered over and were astounded at what we found.
Greeting us was a clean, bright eatery filled with locals. The tables were attractively set up with green and white table cloths, and wine glasses. Our waitress, Cristina was friendly and helpful.
We all chose the Menu Turistico, which is one of the best deals in all of Italy. Included was a large pasta of choice. Did I say large? I mean huge! I had the tagliatelle with fish, a local specialty. My husband had the tagliatelle with gamberetti (shrimp). Others had fresh tomato sauce and it too was delicious.
Following that was a nice main course. I had the frito misto, which is a mixed platter of local fish and squid, fried with a light batter. Accompanying the main course was a large mixed salad. Included with the meal was a 1/2 liter of wine (an excellent Tocai was my choice) and a 1/2 liter of water. My son was served cola at no extra charge. A fresh fruit salad was our desert. What did this feast cost us? 13 Euros apiece! A steal in Italy, and a deal for a meal of this caliber.
If you are planing a trip to Venice, you would do well to stay at the Villa Graziella. Skip the over priced restaurants of Venice and eat at the Santa Anna. It was so good, that we chose to go back that evening for pizza.