• Marie Ohanesian Nardin

'A life changer': Why Italy's $2 homes aren't always too good to be true

STUFF journalist Lorna Thornber writes:

...Marie Ohanesian Nardin, who was born in Los Angeles and moved to the Venetian countryside in 1987, was cynical when she first read about one-euro homes on offer in Sambuca in January 2019.   

"I brushed the campaign off as just another Italian town trying to rid themselves of very old homes. Knowing other towns had unsuccessfully tried to do the same in the past, I wasn't interested," she says. 

When international media covered the auction and articles on it kept popping up on her social media feeds, however, she and her husband, a Venetian gondolier, arranged a trip to Sicily to take a closer look. 

After a few days in Sambuca, the couple knew they wanted to buy there, but gravitated more toward privately owned homes in the Saraceno quarter, which Nardin says is even more charming than the historic centre...more here.

#SambucaDiSicilia #HomesInItalyForOneEuro #StuffNewZealand #SicilianTown #Mussomeli #HistoricHomesForOneEuro #HomeAwayFromHome #CharmingVillagesInItaly #CornersOfItaly #Travel #SicilyTopDestination

  • Marie Ohanesian Nardin

Updated: Jan 24

For the 30+ years I've lived in Italy, family members and countless friends, and friends of friends have asked me for travel, hotel, restaurant and getting-around Italy advice. So, I'm pulling together "Marie's Italy Guide" which will include only those towns and regions I have visited. Of course Venice would be the first! Have a look, and share with anyone planning to visit. And keep an eye out for more cities to follow soon.


How to get to Venice historical city center

· From Marco Polo Airport:

· MotoscafoVenezia is a private water taxi service. Expect a 10 minute walk from the airport arrivals terminal to the embarcadero, and a 20-30 minute boat ride from the airport to your hotel in Venice. Pre-book, reserve and pay online.

· Alilaguna public water transportation from the airport makes various stops around Venice. Expect a 10 minute walk from the arrivals terminal, and up to 1 hour by boat to your destination stop.

· ACTV public ground transportation to and from the airport. More info and tickets at VeneziaUnicaCityPass

· From Santa Lucia Train station, the Tronchetto car park or Piazzale Roma car park:

· ACTV public water bus (vaporetto) transportation. More info and tickets at VeneziaUnicaCityPass

· Water taxi from Piazzale Roma.

You'll find the private water taxis station near the public water bus embarcadero.

Marie’s Venice hotel suggestions:

· 5 Star Luxury

o Hotel Luna Baglioni – adjacent St. Mark’s Square – water taxi access

o Hotel Palazzo Venart – 5 minutes from Rialto Mercato – water taxi access

o Londra Palace – 5 minute walk from St. Mark’s Square – water taxi access

· 4 Star Hotel

o Hotel Ai Reali – Quiet area not far from St. Mark’s Square – spa – water taxi access

o Hotel Splendid– 5 minutes from St. Mark’s Square – water taxi access

o Hotel l’Orologio – adjacent Rialto Mercato, water taxi access Linea 1 vaporetto stop nearby

· 3 Star Hotel

o Rosa Salva Hotel – near St. Mark’s Square – inquire about water taxi access

o Hotel Canaletto – near St. Mark’s Square – possible water taxi access

o Hotel Antiche Figure – across Grand Canal from Santa Lucia Train Station

· Bed and Breakfast (Marie does not support Air BnB)

o Cima Rosa – 5 minute walk to Rialto Mercato quiet neighborhood and easy access from San Stae waterbus stop

o Residenza Ca’Osmarin – 10 minute walk from St. Mark’s Square easy access from San Zaccaria vaporetto stop

o B&B Fortuny – in quiet Venetian neighborhood with easy access from San Samuele or Sant’Angelo waterbus (vaporetto) stops

Marie’s favorite Venetian eateries:

· Trattoria Alla RivettaCastello $

Busy locale with good Venetian home cooking.

· Vineria All’Amarone San Polo $

Venetian cicchetti with nice wine selection.

· Birraria La CorteCampo San Polo $$

Good pizza and salads.

· Osteria al Diavolo e l’aquasantaRialto in Calle della Madonna $$

Authentic Venetian cooking.

· Antico Calice Rialto $$

Good pasta dishes and seafood.

· Luna SentadaCastello $$$

Asian-Italian fusion.

· Osteria Oliva Nera Ai Greci $$$

Traditional Venetian with a contemporary flair.

· Ristorante Antico Martini Teatro La Fenice $$$$

International and Venetian dishes. Fine dining.

· Ristorante Da Ivo – (George Clooney’s favorite, too)

5 minute walk from St. Mark’s Square $$$$+

Tuscan and Veneto specialties. Excellent wine list.

Marie’s favorite Wine Bars, Cafes & Tea Houses:

· Gran Caffè LavenaSt Mark’s Square $$$

Best spritz in town! If you want to splurge sit at an outside table, otherwise have your tea, coffee or aperitivo standing at the bar.

· Wine Bar 5000Castello $$

Great for a light meal of cicchetti, cheeses or sliced cured meet. Excellent wine selection.

· Splendid Hotel Rooftop bar Minutes from St. Mark’s Square. $$$

Good drinks. Lovely view.

· Fujiyama Tea Room – Calle Lunga San Barnaba $

Nice selection of tea, light meals and desserts. Quiet small court yard and garden in the back.

· Sullaluna – Cannaregio $

Books, wine, light meals and tea. Delightful and cozy.

Things to know before you arrive:

Gondola Rides:

By law, up to 6 people can ride in a gondola including children. No exceptions. Without reservations, gondolas can be taken from any of the 10 gondola stations around Venice. Fees start at €80 for 30 minutes, and are regulated by the city. Rides are organized on scheduled routes. Custom rides are available on request. The price of such are calculated at the moment of request, and by time. You can also pre-book and reserve a gondola ride through the gondoliers' travel agency, Gondolieri Travel.

To Better Enjoy and Understand Venice:

#Enjoy, Respect Venice

Venice and Its Lagoon - UNESCO World Heritage Site

Venice Unica City Pass for Tourists

Tour Guides:

Best Venice Guides

It's important to state that not all "guides" online or in Italy Travel groups are authorized, qualified and accredited. Many are self-endorsed guides who do not hold the required legal license to practice; including but not limited to "Free Tour" guides. To get the most out of your tour and vacation, do choose and support qualified licensed guides.

Train Transportation Companies:



Free Weather and High Tide apps used by locals:

Hi!Tide Venice app Weather app

Marie's suggested BOOKS set in Venice (including her own novel, of course!):

"Beneath the Lion's Wings" by Marie Ohanesian Nardin

"The Talented Mr. Ripley" by Patricia Highsmith

"The Wings of the Dove" by Henry James

"Miss Garnet's Angel" by Sally Vickers

#VeniceTravelGuide #VisitVenice #MariesItalyGuide #TravelSuggestionsVenice #VeniceItaly #TripPlannerVenice #BooksSetInVenice #BeneathTheLionsWings #gondolaride #enjoyrespectVenice #ItalyTravelGuide

  • Marie Ohanesian Nardin

I asked, and you stepped forward.

133 paperback copies of "Beneath the Lion's Wings" were purchased between November 17, 2019 and December 26, 2019 from supporters of Venice in the U.S.A., Italy, the U.K. and Germany!

This means that €361,07 (100% of royalties earned on these books) plus my promised personal out-of-pocket donation of €200 for a total of €561,07 was raised in the campaign to benefit those Venetian hardest hit by last November's exceptional high tides. This donation will go to the grassroots group, Duri I Banchi organized by and BeLoveRevolution. 100% of their funds will and are going to those Venetians. They have already begun to purchase and deliver home appliances to those in need. Have a look at Duri I Banchi to see what they're doing, and read the lists of donations showing each amount received, confirming that every little sum helps.

Our €561,07 donation will be sent by bank transfer by the end of this month. As their records show today, when our sum is added it will bump the amount received by Duri I Banchi to date to over €12.000! Well done.

Thank you! Grazie! Danke! - Marie

#DuriIBanchi #VenessiaCom #BeLoveRevolution #SaveVenice #NovemberHighTide #BeneathTheLionsWings #EveryBitHelps