A rare find; a 16th-century palazzetto which doesn’t cost a fortune. Small and charming rather than grand and sumptuous, it oozes authenticity and a Venetian vibe. Plus it’s off Santa Croce’s tourist track yet close to the station and Grand Canal. The narrow, shabby-chic exterior hides quirkily stylish rooms, a mix of vintage and modern furnishings beneath open rafters and whitewashed walls. Creamy colours and natural woods keep rooms cool and relaxing. One bedroom has framed, rare LP covers; another iconic Italian film stills. The cosy single (with kitchenette) has nautical maps. All have small but smartly modern shower rooms and views over church, gardens or narrow alleys. Even better views spill from the second-floor sitting room – more beams and vintage finds – and breakfast room (authenticity means no lift!). Marco’s home-made bread and fruit ‘crostate’ are not to be missed. Venetian-born Marco and architect Monica, who live on the top floor, are gentle and wonderfully knowledgeable and will direct to the best bars, trattorias and authentic neighbourhoods. A slice of secret Venice.