Go down a narrow alleyway, through a large and lovely courtyard, high walls towering above, and enter a 15th-century palazzo. The apartment is on the ground floor, the B&B on the first. Inside, catch your breath at the calm, eclectic décor of oriental rugs, silk curtains, fresh flowers and influences from Bali and Morocco. Amelia is a Californian artist and her paintings hang on every wall. She, her baby and her mother Deborah live nearby; it’s her likeable assistants Maria and Suhbash, both with good English, who minister impeccably to your needs. Most guests are English speaking and bedrooms have been designed to meet American expectations: the best linen, mattresses and showers; hand-crafted beds; the internet. One room looks onto the canal, the other two onto the courtyard. In the apartment downstairs the style is uncluttered, the whitewashed walls making the most of the light. Breakfast is a pretty basket of brioche and bread in the courtyard. The little vaporetto is five minutes away – no bridges! – the local shop is across the square and the Rialto, markets and Accademia are nearby.