Let’s begin our day in Venice – it’s the 24th of July 2008, and the weather is fine - at the Sestiere (Quarter) di Cannaregio, near the central Railway Station St. Lucia. We’ll follow the tourist path to the Rialto bridge a short bit, but at the Canale di Cannaregio we veer off that way to catch a glimpse of the Ponte Guglie:
A few “calles” (streets) and turns later we find ourselves at the Campo del Gheto Novo, formerly one of the first Jewish Ghettos in Europe, instituted in 1516 – in fact the name “Ghetto” or “Gheto” is derived from the Venetian expression for iron foundries located formerly at this place, “gheta”. From 1516 on the Venetian Jews were compelled to live in this region of Venice, but at least didn’t have to fear any pogroms or other forms of persecution like in other European cities. So the Jewish population grew, and because of the restricted space the only way to furnish more room for the people was to build additional stories – that’s why the Jewish Ghetto is the only part of Venice where you can find buildings up to seven or eight stories high – look at the left side of this pano:
In the center of the pano you can see a white building in the background, right to the red one and partly hidden by a tree – this is the first Synagogue built in the Ghetto, the Scuola Tedesca, built for the German Jews. Very inconspicuous from the outside – the Synagogues were built on top of smaller buildings and so consist of the upper stories of those only - the Scuolas are richly decorated at the inside. The Scuola Italiana can bee seen in the right part of the image – the other white building with the five large windows. On the utmost right of the pano you can see one of the bridges connecting the Gheto Novo with the rest of Venice; in fact this particular bridge leads to the misleadingly named “Gheto Vecchio”, a small complex of streets that enlarged the Ghetto in 1541. Here you can find an eight story building, see here on the right (on the left you can see part of the Scuola Spagnola, another synagogue):
We’ll leave the Ghetto now and walk further to the east of Cannaregio. You’ll very soon discover calles and canals almost devoid of any tourists, because you’re very far off the main touristic routes now – for instance this peaceful canal at the Ponte de la Malvasia:
Please note the wooden constructions on two of the house on the left side of the pano – these are typical examples of Venetian architecture, called “Altan” or “Altana”, depicting a sort of additional balcony that the Venetians liked (and were allowed) to build on top of their houses.
We now leave Cannaregio, and take the Vaporetto Linea 14 – a sort of water bus – for the following five pics, showing our way along the Canale di Cannaregio …
… into the Canal Grande, going beneath the Ponte degli Scalzi and passing the railway station St. Lucia …
… veering into the Canale Scomenzera, entering the Sestiere di Dorsoduro and the commercial, less beautiful side of Venice …
… and finally going along the large Canal della Giudecca …
… to alight in the Sestiere di San Marco at the Piazza San Marco to have an obligatory look at the Gondolas moored there, waiting for tourists:
There are certainly enough of them there, now that we’ve gotten into the “main lane” again:
To escape the masses and to get an overview of things we risk the elevator ride up the Campanile di San Marco, and from there have a beautiful look at the Venetian Lagoon:
You can see here from left to right: The South-Eastern part of Venice, East-Castello; the Island of San Giorgo Maggiore directly opposite the Piazza San Marco; the Giudecca - and behind all that - the Lido of Venice.
Following this pano to the right we get a nice view of the Western part of downtown Venice, with the entry of the Canal Grande on the left and part of the Piazza San Marco in the middle:
We now leave and walk a short way to the Campo di Santo Stefano, the second largest square in the Sistiere di San Marco, with lots of nicebars and cafés - a beautiful place to rest. In the middle you can seea statue of Nicoló Tommaseo, a popular Italian author in the 19th century. If you look closely you can see a pile of books rising at his back. That’s why Venetians call this statue – a bit unkindly –‘Cagalibri'; this loosely translates to “book-shitter” …
We now cross one of the few bridges over the Canal Grande – this time the wooden Ponte dell’ Accademia (see on the right side of the pano) to the Sestiere di Dorsoduro and have a look at this bridge and at some of the fine Palazzi at the Canal:
We’ve now entered the quarter of art & higher education of Venice, with lots of museums and different university institutions. Here everything is less crowded, shops are a bit different, atmosphere is more relaxed – like in this café at the Calle Nuva Sant Agnese:
We follow our way more or less along the Canal Grande until we almost reach the tip of Dorsoduro at the Campo della Salute – note the Vaporetto station at the left, the Campanile di San Marco visible in the background in the middle right, and of course the Chiesa Santa Maria della Salute on the right:
We enter the Chiesa for a short look into its unusual and bright interior; it has an interesting history: In 1630 the Doge of Venice promised to build a church if only the devastating wave of plague would end that robbed Venice a full third of its inhabitants. This was approved by the Senate, who also decreed that every year at the 21st of November the city’s officials should parade from San Marco to this church to commemorate the end of the plague. This is still done each year and involves the building of a special pontoon bridge that temporarily crosses the Canal Grande - for this event only. Now, as promised, the look at the church's interior, very unusually built as a rotunda:
We now take another short Vaporetto trip and alight at the Rialto for this view – part of the Rialto market (not far from the famous Rialto bridge) on the right, the Canal Grande with Pallazi and a Vaporetto on the left:
A closer look at the Vaporetto reveals many interested tourists looking at the Palazzi:
This is a “drive by” pano BTW, multiple pictures taken with a tele lens from the same POV as the Vaporetto passed by. The original has a very high & detailed resolution! :-)
Now our visit nears its end – but not without a look at the spectacular new, yet unnamed bridge crossing the Canal Grande close to the Piazzale Roma (where the standard “street” buses arrive). Occasionally it’s already referred to as Ponte de Calatrava after its award-winning Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava:
That close it looks almost organic, like a vertebral column (sort of). Seen from a little distance, here from the Ponte de Santa Chiara, it at least still looks good. And this last pano – a 360 degree one – also shows you the way people have to take if they want to change from bus to railway without the new bridge: They come from the Piazzale Roma behind the building on the right, have to cross the Ponte de Chiara you’re sort of standing on right now, then have to follow the Canal Grande until they reach and cross the Ponte degli Scalzi you can see – if you look very closely – in the far background at the middle right, down the Canal.
But who would want to go straight from the bus station to the railway station anyway – just to leave Venice immediately? I wouldn’t! So much to see here – don’t you agree?
Hope you enjoyed the little tour!
More pics of Venice in my gallery – visit it at www.pbase.com/phsan/venezia !