Ok, you've seen the Paris edition, now it's time for Venice. Again, I found a great place on AirBnB, but it took a bit more searching this time.
Initially, I'd booked a place closer to the heart of Venice, in Castello, which had a liberal cancellation policy. The reason I'd booked it was that it was so cheap. I was beginning to see why. A few days before we departed for Europe, I took another look at the place and got a different vibe. It looked like it was just some dude with some roommates and a spare room; not the kind of place I'd want to stay with my wife.
Thankfully by this point, the other costs of the trip had been spent, and I was a little more comfortable increasing the budget for Venice. I cancelled the original reservation and got all my money back, minus the AirBnB booking fee, which wasn't too bad. I applied for a better place, but the owner didn't respond within 24 hours, so the application expired. On to another place.
As they say, the third time's the charm. I found this place right near the Venice train station (Santa Lucia not Mestre). This made it incredibly easy to get settled on arrival. We met the host's assistant right across the canal from the train station at San Simeone Piccolo. The assistant was right on time meeting us, and even gave us some local restaurant recommendations while she was showing us the apartment. It's also worth noting that since the apartment was near the train station, it gave us easy access to all the vaporetto boats (mass transit waterbus) that go to every part of the city.
And wouldn't you know it, Google just added Venice to Street View (though "street" doesn't really apply here). You can actually see the apartment with the silver window shade up top.
I have to admit that it felt a little strange staying in a place attached to a church. Once I started thinking about it, I realized that there are few places in Italian cities that aren't attached to a church. Other than that, the place was clean, quiet, and had a shower that worked much better than the one in Rome. As you can see from Street View, the surrounding canals and alleys are charming, though I'd recommend packing your bags and seeing it for yourself. Happy travels!