For many Venetians who are transplants from London or New York, Venice offers the walkability and neighborliness of, say, Notting Hill or downtown Manhattan
For many Venetians who are transplants from London or New York, Venice offers the walkability and neighborliness of, say, Notting Hill or downtown Manhattan. "I lived for years in the West Village," and, like that area, "there's such a sense of community -- you can meet your friends and bike places," says Bello, who also appreciates the ability to blend in. "What's so lovely about living here is it's such an eclectic group of people. I have no idea who is in entertainment or not." A resident for eight years, Bello first lived on the more urban Navy Street before moving to a 1922 Craftsman house on one of Venice's secluded, pedestrian-only Walk Streets, which has proved to be a better option for her now 11-year-old son, Jackson. "His friends just ride their bikes over and drop by our yard," she says. Bello's favorite spots include heritage-apparel shop The Stronghold; Bountiful for vintage home goods; Superba, where her dish of choice is the fried chicken with jalapeno and honey; and Lincoln Wines. "They carry Rhum Barbancourt, my favorite rum from Haiti," says the Golden Globe-nominated actress (A History of Violence, The Cooler) and co-founder of Haitian women's nonprofit We Advance. If there's one thing she'd like to address about Venice, it's its reputation as a pot-smokers' haven because of its high-profile medical marijuana dispensaries. "People come out from New York and assume it's this complete stoner culture," she says. "But there is probably more pot-smoking in the mansions of Beverly Hills than in Venice."