Every summer, Bwog staff contribute to our Houses and Homes series, where we take you to the many places we go. This summer starts off with an entry from Science Editor, Kyle Murray from an apartment in Castello, a neighborhood in Venice, Italy. If you want to share your House and/or Home, email us at tips@bwog.com

Where: A ground-floor apartment right next to the historic Venetian Arsenal. A little over half an hour away from my classrooms, but nothing a Vaporetto ride cannot solve. Four rooms plus a small patio housing three people.

Sight: The courtyard of the next-door hotel with grass, a Venetian rarity. The patio of the other neighbor through my bedroom window. Walls decorated with field drawings of flowers and different types of strawberries, an art exhibit poster with an elephant, or a canvas print of Audrey Hepburn. Bright orange paint in the bedrooms. And the sky, between the rooftops, if you step outside. 

Smell: The occasional smell of the lagoon and canals—usually sour—if it drifts that far. On the first day, drains in need of Mr. Muscle cleaner. Lavender air freshener. The aroma of dinner. Wisps of perfume lingering from a vendor eager to demonstrate nuances of a scent, this one basil.

Taste: Fanta that’s much better than its American counterpart—it’s like an Orangina. European-exclusive paprika Pringles. More pastries than I care to admit. Espressos with some sugar or in an emergency pocket version. Revivifying gelato, probably in a fruit flavor like melon or pink grapefruit. Italian tomatoes and mozzarella. Fish. Bruschetta. A newfound joy of Caprese paninis. And lots of pasta.

Touch: Heat, a lot of it. So much heat. Heat from the lightbulbs, from the stove, from the shower, from the sun (even when the windows are shuttered). It thickens the air. And dust grows faster here, likely from the humidity or the stones. But there is also a natural breeze that crosses the kitchen after two opposing windows are opened. 

Hearing: The song of seagulls, which takes an ominous tone due to their surprising pugnacity here. A neighbor walking his dog. The murmur of lost tourists. The rasp of a broom sweeping the campo. Italian tunes from the eighties, usually on Sundays, from the family next door. One housemate sings in the shower or while he cooks—the other talks to his family on the phone.

Apartment photos and Venice Life Pictures via Author

Venice via Author