Unique Places in Venice

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Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Venice

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    Stra-Villa Pisani-more garden pictures

    by BruceDunning Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Guilermo Frigmelica designed the garden area in 1720,and before he could design the villa, he died. Building of the garden was complete before villa construction. There are many great sights and treasures to see. An impressive wrought iron fence surrounds the garden which is 1500 meters, about one mile perimeter.

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    Scuola di S. Giorgio degli Schiavoni (Carpaccio)

    by hquittner Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    When Giuseppi Cipriani, founder of Harry's Bar named new cocktails and appetizers after famous Venetian painters he did not realse that his thin slices of raw beef in a spicy mayonnaise sauce, named carpaccio, would become more commonly known than its progenitor. Yes Virginia, there is a Vittore Carpaccio (1465-1525),the greatest Renaissance picture-maker and arguably his masterpieces are in this Scuola (religious clubhouse of the Dalmatian merchants in Venice).Do not expect this to be a blockbuster like the San Rocco(Tintoretto)! This is how I imagined a clubhouse would be: altar, some fine deco carving and the paintings along the walls.These gems never travel and I have never seen them in Art books. There were no books or postcards for sale and photography was carefully forbidden--and there were no souvenir shops nearby! A few other of C's works are in the Correr and the Accademia. If you are new to Venice, go there first and SEE them. This is quite a path to beat. Return exactly as you came.We eventually did after a wrong turn to be greeted by the picture entitled "After the Flood"

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    Squero di San Trovaso

    by oriettaIT Updated Feb 11, 2011

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    Squero in venetian language means boatyard. It is the traditional place where boats and gondola were built. There are not many left in the city center and they are always hard to find in the maze of small calli (streets), bridges and canals.
    This one is very pictoresque, always make me think at a mountain cabin, that look strange in Venice! Their site explain that this is due by the fact that most of the lumber they used come from the Cadore mountains and also the overhang provided repair from rain and sun.
    It have been working since before the XVI century.
    According to their site it is possible to organize a visit to the Squero, the workers will show you the different kind of boats and the process to build them, the visit is with a free offer. You can contact them at this email info@squerosantrovaso.com to arrange the visit.

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    Scuola dei Calegheri

    by suvanki Updated Jan 8, 2011

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    SAN POLO AND SANTA CROCE

    VAPORETTO - SAN TOMA

    In Campo San Toma, at the opposite end to the church, look out for this red brick building.
    This was the shoemakers guild. If you look below the bas relief, in the door lintel, there is a shoe carved into the stone.

    The bas relief is by Pietro Lombardo (1478) and shows Saint Mark healing Ananias, who was a cobbler. This event took place in Alexandria, when St Mark was Bishop there.
    The cobbler had seriously injured himself whilst repairing the Bishops shoes

    St Mark is the patron saint of cobblers (among many other professions!)

    The building dates back to 1446, and apparently has some worn examples of frescoes on the flooring inside. It is now used as a public library.

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    Where Commissario Brunetti works (TV series)

    by Trekki Updated Jan 1, 2011

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    Location of Commissario Brunetti's Questura (TV series only) on Google Maps.

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    La Questura di Commissario Brunetti (book)

    by Trekki Updated Jan 1, 2011

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    Location of Venezia's Questura on Google Maps.

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    Brunetti family’s home (book and TV series)

    by Trekki Updated Jan 1, 2011

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    Location of Commissario Brunetti's home (in the TV series) on Google Maps.

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    Tour around the Lagoon's islands

    by Jefie Updated Sep 13, 2010

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    Besides Venice, there are dozens of small islands located in the lagoon. Most measure less than one square mile and are rather sparsely inhabited - some have even been deserted altogether, but their remoteness is a huge part of their appeal. There are different ways you can visit the islands: a good option is to buy a day pass (16 Euros) for the vaporetto, which goes to Lido (famous for its beach resorts), Burano, Torcello, Sant'Erasmo, Vignole, Murano and San Michele (the cemetery island). However, if you're pressed for time and would rather not have to worry about vaporetto schedules, it's also possible to book a half-day cruise to the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello. We chose this second option, and I'd say that over all it was a great introduction to the islands, but it would have been nice to spend more time on each island than we did because I thought each of them was truly fascinating - I guess that will be for another trip!

    The excursion company that was recommended by our hotel was called "Serenissima Motoscafi". They have a little booth on the Riva degli Schiavoni, between the Palazzo Ducale and Hotel Danieli (make sure you buy your ticket from a reputable company and beware of people offering you free transportation - there's nothing free in this world!). There were two departures every day (9:30 am and 2:30 pm) and the price was 13.50 Euros per person for a 4h cruise, so it was actually cheaper than going by vaporetto. Our boat was nice and comfortable, with plenty of room to sit inside or outside. Information about the different islands was provided in French, English, Spanish and Italian. We spent about 40 minutes on each island - for more on what we did in Murano, Burano and Torcello, just keep on reading my Off-the-Beaten-Path tips!

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    Incredible wood sculptures

    by merockwell Updated Aug 29, 2010

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    If you're in Dorsoduro or even if you aren't you should check out this studio. Loris Marazzi carves wonderful sculptures in wood like nothing you have ever seen. Some are whimsical, some funny, some thought provoking, but all are truly unique. His gallery is very small and we had trouble finding it even with the address, but here's a short cut. Go to Campo Santa Margherita, open your map and find the pointy end of the campo. Go down there and he's on the right. You'll probably find him in the back of the studio carving something.

    UPDATE. He's moved. His studio is now in front of the Peggy Gugenheim gallery.

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    Palazzo Zenobio/Collegio Armeno Moorat Raphael

    by suvanki Updated Jul 23, 2010

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    DORSODURO

    VAPORETTO-CA' REZZONICCO or S. BASILIO.

    The reason that I visited this former palace is that it is now an Armenian cultural centre and college, which offers cheap (basic) accommodation. I stayed here for 4 nights over Christmas 2009 (for the total price of 80 euros! Please see my Hotels and Accommodation tips for more info).

    It is possible to book a tour of the palace - or just ring the bell and ask for a look around

    The Zenobia family, were wealthy land owners, originally from Greece, but had settled in Verona. In 1647 they bought a noble title for the cost of 160,000 ducats - New Venetian nobility needed a palace!

    In 1664, they acquired a gothic palace from the Morosini family, then it was modified between 1690 and 1700 by Antonio Gasperi, in the Baroque style. Palazzo Zenobio would be the largest palace of the time in Venice.

    Unusually for this period, the palace is designed in a U shape.
    This opens onto a courtyard and gardens.
    A large Zenobio family coat of arms, can be seen in the courtyard, which was initially set above the tympana (A panel enclosed by a lintel of a door and the arch above it) of the central loggia (pic 3)
    Behind the palazzo, there is a large garden with the former library that still has baroque interior decoration. (pic 2)

    Gaspari retained half of the original portego (a long corridor, often with a quadratic cross section and an opening of an arched loggia) of the Morosini building, and then added a serliana (a central arched window, flanked by two rectangular windows) to distinguish it formally from the new ballroom. Above this window, an orchestra gallery was built.

    Two small courtyards were added to the left and right of the Ballroom, with a staircase leading from the left wing to the Piano Nobile.

    The jewel in this palaces crown is its ornate Baroque ballroom, with its stunning examples of trompe l'oeil , gilded mirrors and paintings - Please see my following tip for info and photos of The Ballroom.......

    In the late 19th Century (1850), two wealthy (Diamond Merchants) Armenians from India, Mkertich Murat and Edward Raphael made donations to establish an Armenian college in Venice. They purchased the Palazzo Zenobio for this purpose.
    The college had a reputation for its high academic standards and reputable teaching staff.

    Although the college isn't operating for this purpose at present, as well as offering accommodation, there are sometimes art exhibitions, summer schools and workshops, as well as being a venue for weddings.

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    Bocca di Leone - Lions Mouth Post Box

    by suvanki Updated Jul 23, 2010

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    DORSODURO

    VAPORETTO -ZATERRE

    On my previous visits to Venice, I'd meant to look for this 'Lions Mouth' post box which is to be found to the right of the facade of Chiesa Santa Maria della Visitazione (not to be confused with the church of the same name in San Marco-which is better known as the Pieta, or Vivaldis Church)

    After looking at the actual facade, without any luck - I looked a bit further- it is on the wall adjacent to the church!

    An Inscription above the Lion reads "Oncie Contra La Sanita per il sestier Deossodvro"

    These Lions Head post boxes were used for the citizens of Venice to complain anonymously about things such as the state of the streets, sanitation etc. More sinister was the encouragement to denounce other citizens for treason/ corruption in this manner.

    These post boxes were initiated by the highly powerful and feared Council of Ten.
    The Council of Ten was formed in 1310, and had virtually unlimited power to conduct their role of dealing with insurrection and conspiracy.
    Their power was such, that they had full control of the police force, they ran the Inquisition and as well as utilising a network of spies, they encouraged the citizens to denounce each other by posting letters through the Lions Mouth boxes that were scattered around the city.

    There are some examples in the Doges Palace too. Some boxes were in the form of a mans head, with an open mouth for the posting of denouncements.
    The boxes were locked, and could only be opened in the presence of 3 of the council members- each who had a separate key.

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    NOVE, ITALY Not too far from...

    by sargentjeff Updated May 21, 2010

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    NOVE, ITALY
    Not too far from Venezia is NOVE. The ceramic capital of the north. This place is a favorite for americans too because they produce ceramics for many famous american companies (Williams & Sonoma and Tiffany) for example. The pitcher below can be purchased in Nove for around $10 while it costs about $40 from Williams and Sonoma.

    Here are a couple stores. There is also a museum here.

    CERAMICA STEFANI Via dell'Olmo, 24/26 36055 Nove VI
    G.B. DIMENSIONE CERAMICA di Sonetto Giuliano Via Molini, 64 36055 Nove VI
    LA CERAMICA V.B.C. Via Molini, 45 36055 Nove VI

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    Palazzo Zenobio/Collegio Armeno Moorat Raphael 2

    by suvanki Updated Apr 6, 2010

    DORSODURO

    VAPORETTO-CA' REZZONICCO or S. BASILIO.

    The jewel in this palaces crown is its ornate Baroque ballroom -

    Built over 2 storeys, it's situated behind the balcony of the main facade overlooking the canal.

    It is possibly Venices' richest example of 18th century interior design.

    Louis Dorigny, a French Artist, was responsible for creating the large trompe-l'oeil ceiling fresco. I particularly liked the illusion of the draped oriental carpets on the walls.
    Trompe l'oeil effects were an inspiration for the Ca' Rezzonicos later decoration .

    Huge Mirrors line the Ballroom, Heavily decorated and gilded picture frames, add to the opulence.

    Three landscapes painted by Luca Carlevarijs can be seen on the portego, while the medallions above the doors, including "The Challenge between Apollo and Marsia"(18th Century), were painted as a commission by Gregorio Lazzarini.

    To be found on Fondamenta Del Soccorso/ Rio dei Carmini. It is between Angelo Raffaele and the Carmini churches.
    Address: Dorsoduro 2596 - Fondamenta del Soccorso - 30123 Venice

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    Ponte Arsenale

    by suvanki Updated Nov 3, 2009

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    CASTELLO

    My first view of this bridge was during my visit at Christmas 2006, I'd been surprised to see a funfair all lit up on the Riva degli Schiavoni, and had wandered onto this bridge to take some photos of the fair.

    I noticed on one side was a stone Rams head, which I thought was quite unusual. I quite liked this white stone bridge with its elegant lines, but couldn't see its name displayed anywhere.
    My next view, was when leaving for the airport, I located it from the waterbus, next to the Naval museum.

    On my return home, despite looking at guide books etc, I couldn't find its name, or anything about it.
    June 2007, I returned to look for this bridge, on my way to to look at the Arsenale, and the Biennale exhibits. I was still impressed by it, but still couldn't see a name plaque.

    So it's only been very recently that I've finally found out it is the Ponte Arsenale - Hoorah!!, or is it? Further along, the wooden bridge in front of the Arsenale is also listed under this name!!

    This bridge is much older, I think. It has been painted by Canaletto.

    I've read somewhere, that this bridge is also called Ponte Paradiso, probably named after Dantes visit to Arsenale, and there are 2 other bridges nearby called Ponte del Inferno, and Ponte dei Pergatorio, - which are names of 3 sections of The Divine Comedies by Dante - again I can't seem to find these bridges on any Venice maps.

    However, I'm now more confused as I've seen there is a Ponte Paradiso near to Santa Maria Formosa!

    Help! - Anyone??

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    Palazzo Soranzo Van Axel (I&V)

    by Zvrlj Updated Sep 21, 2009

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    Palazzo Soranzo Van Axel is one of Venice's the nicest and the best preserved Gothic houses. It was built in late 15th century on the site of an earlier building in Veneto-Byzantine style. It is claimed that the wooden door and the metal knocker date from the 15th century as well. Gothic forms of the palace are evidence of the conservativeness of Venetian architecture, slow to embrace the new Renaissance style, already common in other parts of Italy.

    Originally built for the Gradenigo family, the palace was bought in 1473 by Nicolo Soranzo, the Procurator of St Mark's, whose family lived there for almost two centuries. In the 16th and 17th centuries, it was owned by the Venier and Sanudo families until 1627 or 1628, when it was bought by the Van Axel family, wealthy textile merchants from Ghent. It remained the Van Axels' family home until 1920, when the antiquarian Conte Dino Barozzi bought and restored it, filling the house with magnificent, mainly 15th century, furniture and paintings. It has been the home of Marsoni family since the mid-1950s. A few years ago it was probably the best known building in Venice – for sale. The price was 11.000.000 £. Is it sold? At the time we have been writing this tip, in December of 2007 – we did not have a slightest idea about that. But Ingrid (VT Trekki), in 2009 update of her tip about Palazzo Sorrano-Van Axel gives the answer – the palace has been sold!

    Palazzo Soranzo Van Axel housed Mexican national presentation at 52nd Biennale in 2007 and we grabbed that opportunity to see the exterior of the palace.

    Palazzo Soranzo Van Axel is located in Cannaregio, on Fondamenta Sanudo. The back side of the palace is by Santa Maria dei Miracoli Church, on its east side. Another well known tourist spot nearby is Campo San Zanipolo – the shortest way from that square to the palace is via Calle delle Erbe.

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