Campo Bandiera e Moro
VAPORETTO - ARSENALE
Christmas 2008, this was to be my address for 3 nights, as my hotel booking had been altered to La Residenza- the 14th century former Gritti Palace, who's Gothic facade, with its 5 mullioned windows, dominates the north side of the campo. I'm afraid that my room overlooked the street to the right of the hotel and not into the square ( I wasn't complaining though- I'd got a bargain there- my 3 nights together cost less than 1 night if I'd paid the normal price!). Located between Arsenale and San Marco Piazza.
I was quite curious to find the origins of the narrow street to the left of my hotel Calle della Morte - I'm sure there must have been a gruesome story. I asked the hotel receptionist, but either he didn't know, or couldn't explain.I've since found out that Calle de la Morte (Street of Death) is so called because the Consiglio dei Dieci (Council of Ten) regularly had people executed here if they were considered a problem for the Republic.
The name of this campo is quite interesting. It is named after 3 Venetian Officers serving in the Austrian Navy, brothers Bandiera and their friend Domenico Moro. The Bandiera family used to live in Palazzo Soderini (No 3611), (which is now a chic town house Bed and Breakfast).
In 1844, they plotted a revolt in Cosenza or Calabria for Italian unity. Mistakenly, they confided in the English government who betrayed them.They were executed by militia of the Bourbon Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
Their effort was considered so heroic, that this humble square was given the honour of being named a Piazza!! This lasted for 60 years. Today, the only square in Venice considered worthy of being named a Piazza is that of San Marco!
Typical of Venices campos, it is surrounded by buildings of different styles and ages, in the centre is a well head and there is a church. ( pic 3)
This church is San Giovani (St John) in Bragora, although it has plenty of interest, it appears to get missed by most visitors. Although I saw a tour group arrive at the same time each morning, they only stood in the campo for a while, and didn't enter the church
It is one of Venices oldest churches, with 8th century foundations. It's also the church where Vivaldi was baptised- a plaque on the outside wall commemorates this event. Vivaldi was born in one of the houses in this campo.
It's name is the cause of speculation - in the local dialect brago means mud, while bragolare means to fish. Then again agora comes from the greek word for a public square or market place. So it is feasable that there was a fish market here at one time - especially given its location, near to the Basino San Marco and the Quay of Riva degli Schiavoni. Other thought is that it is a reference to the area from where relics of John the Baptist were brought.
I found it to be an interesting square, and it was mainly very quiet, apart from people passing through it. It might be different in summer though. There are a few benches to sit and rest your feet. There were quite a few plaques around the square, as well as bas reliefs of St George slaying the dragon and under one of the balconies of the red coloured building, 2 old looking pieces. One is of a Lion (unusually it is holding a shield) and below it is - well I'm not entirely sure what creature it is! (pic 2 and 4)
There is a small cichetteria bar in the campo, where I used to enjoy my evening Aperol Spritz.
Snacks such as pizza, sandwiches and pastries are available. Also cichetteri such as sardines. Good selection of wines and draught beer.The clientele were all locals. I was quite surprised on Christmas Eve by an elegant couple stopping to wish me "Buone Natale" as they left. Open 0900-2300.
For fans of Donna Leon and her mysteries based around Commissario Guido Brunetti, the character Avvocato Filipetto (Wilful Behaviour) lives in this campo.
To reach this square from Arsenale vaporetto stop, turn left, cross the bridge, and take your 3rd alleyway -C/de Dose or from the Pieta take the Calle to its right (C/de Pieta) look for the plaque warning against parents leaving their children here as orphans (see my Things to do tip on The Pieta for more info) turn right into C/dietro la Pieta.