Campi, Calle and Canali, Venice
Venice is a city on the water, but... how to get potable water?
A very ingenious system collected the rain across filters to large cisterns in the centre of the squares. The water was then drawn up in buckets, under severe hygienic control.
Nowadays the system has been abandoned, but the wells remain, most of them real pieces of art, and all contributing to "tell" the history of the city.
We were very fortunate to have rented an apartment within 100 meters of this wonderful square in Santa Croce. We arrived on a Saturday afternoon and soon after we settled in to the apartment, we wandered up to the square to do some food shopping at the Coop there.
We were delighted to find literally dozens of children (mostly littlies) playing soccer and riding their little bikes with trainer wheels and some of the older ones on skates and skateboards all having a great time with their families. Many of the fathers were supervising the games whilst the mothers were chatting and generally "catching up" with each other. There was even a big circle of senior citizens, some in wheelchairs, having a catch up of their own.
My grandchildren couldn't wait to get amongst it all and were made very welcome. We ended up having a meal in one of the cafes there because we had no desire to go away and leave this lovely community of people. When the church bells started to ring before evening Mass, the noise of the children quickly abated and the families either went to church or went home.
Apparently they come out to play most afternoons but Saturday is definitely the big day for them.
It was wonderful to see a small part of how the real Venetians live.
I've read many times of the canals of Venice being dirty and smelling. That may be the experience of some people, but when I was there it was early in the year and I was not aware of anything unpleasant.
It is interesting to walk among the canals and cross the bridges, see the magnificent buildings seemingly rising from the water, many with their own landing stages or posts to moor gondolas.
Venice has a special charm, and it is the canals that make it what it is.
Not having photographs, I will add some impressions here. I was surprised that I could feel the waves splashing under my feet, even though we were walking on streets. I don't know if this was just me, or if others feel the same sensation.
Leaving the rest of the tour group, we just wandered around. We enjoyed watching the glass blowing, watching women making lace, and just wandering in general through side streets, stopping for a cofffee, and seeing the most famous sites.
We rode along the Canale della Giudecca via motor launch to reach Bacino di San Marco and the city centre. We rode along the Canale della Giudecca when the ship departed Venice and this was accompanied by classical musical. There are a lot of interesting buildings that line up the canal.
We arrived and departed from Canale Di San Marco by motor boach launch and approaching the city centre there are the iconic views of Piazza San Marco, Doges Palace and San Marco Campanile. We embarked and disembarked from Riva delgi Schiavoni. The promenade is usually crowded and lined up with expensive souvenir vendors, cafes and ice cream parlours.
Venice is known for its islands and canals. The city is built on an archipelgao of 117 islands which are by formed by 117 canals in a shallow lagoon. The islands are connected by over 400 bridges and the canals function as thoroughfare to navigating the city especially in the old town. The public transportation is mainly water boats and water taxis and one doesn't see a car or a bus in the city centre! A causeway makes it possible for Venice to connect to the mainland with the arrival of the railway in the 1800s and there is a park and ride scheme for motorcars and buses.
The canals are popular with the tourist who take gondola rides on them. There are also traghettis that can be seen especially on the Grand Canal. The scheduled transportation are the vaporettis (the motorised waterbuses) which serve on the majors canals and to the surrounding islands.
VAPORETTO - SAN ZACCARIA
Walking to the end of Calle delle Rasse, turn left and you'll find yourself in this 'dog legged' Campo (square).
Apparently the first pizzeria to be established in Venice is located here.
It's a pleasant small square, with a kiosk in the centre, and a well head, surrounded by small hotels, restaurants, bars and shops.
My first sighting was on arrival in Venice, as my hotel Albergo Al Tiepolo was located in the square- just down a narrow alley.
I also ate a few times at Aciugheta (Little Anchovies) which receives good reviews in travel guides etc. Apparently, It's popular with gondoliers, which is a good sign! (Please see my Restaurant tips for more info)
Leading onto the square are C/Degli Albanesi, Salizzada San Provola and C/Drio La Chiesa where a number of bars, cheap snack places etc. can be found.
As my first visit was at Christmas (2006), I saw its character change and become steadily busier after Christmas Day.
UPDATE - In June, it was a lot busier, with tables and chairs spilling into the square as well as kiosks offering souvenirs and chilled drinks - I saw one stall selling slices of coconut, which were cooled by water running over them.
Whereas in December, I could walk through easily, this time I had to negotiate the crowds, stalls and pavement cafes.
After browsing here through 185 reviews I saw that this Campiello (small Campo) had not been commented.
What a pleasure to finally write something about Venice that is not redundant on VT!
Better is the fact that I found info about the palace with that strange sculpture in a niche on the front.
This is the Palazzo Bembo-Boldù and the sculpture is a wild hairy god "Chronos" master of time, or Saturn wearing a sun disk.
I have found that in Venice if I liked a particular place at one time of the day like morning, it was just as great in the evening or at night and sometimes even better.
Often times the spot had a completely different personality.
So my tip is that if you found a campo, bridge or canal particularly touching revisit at another time of the day.
I found dusk and night to be particularly pleasant.
Visit the calles and campos in Venice. You can get a sense of how the locals live, and you see a completely different Venice.
Don’t be afraid to get lost, because it’s almost impossible that you don’t. But you always get back on track :)
Take a map with you and go discover. Some of the campos (squares) have cheerful street markets and cafes.
Continuing along, we enter Mercerie San Salvador, and Campo San Salvador. This is a busy crossroads.
In the Campo are a few things to look at, either just by a fleeting glance, or stopping to explore the church and surrounding buildings.
At the corner of the street we've just exited, look up and see the iron dragon, holding a glass globe made up of umbrellas or parasols.(pic 2)
The Memorial is to commemorate the aborted revolt of 1848-1849, led by Daniel Manin, against Austrian occupation. 50 years after insurrection, the memorial was placed on this site. (pic 1)
San Salvador church is worth a peep inside, or return to if it is closed.(pic 3)
It was consecrated by Pope Alexander 3rd in 1177. The 1663 facade by Sardi hides some treasures in its interior walls. The building commenced in 1508 by Spavento, which was continued by Tulio Lombardo and Sansovino. It's designed in a plan of 3 domed Greek crosses, placed end to end. This cleverly adheres to the religious orders, decreeing longitudinal spaces for worship, but also pays homage to the centrally planned designs of Byzantium and the Basillica San Marco. The planned design had one fault - it was too dark, but lanterns were added to each of the domes in the 1560's by Scamozzi
Things to see in San Salvatore Titians famous 'Annunciation' painted in 1566, which he signed Fecit, fecit -Painted it, painted it. This is thought to have been written to emphasize his wonder at his continued creativity in his old age!
He also painted the main altarpiece 'Transfiguration'. around 1560. This covers a 14th Century silver reredos, which is exposed each Easter.
A scrap of paper on the rail in front of The Annunciation records the death of Titian on 25th August 1576
The tomb of Caterina Cornaro rests in this church. Born into an eminant Venetian family, she married, becoming the Queen of Cyprus. On her husbands death, she was forced to surrender the island to the Doge (Being of strategic position). The grieving widow, was then led in procession up the Grand Canal, The doge making it appear she had abdicated voluntarily-and offering the town of Asolo as a token of the cities gratitude. She died in 1510. After a heroines funeral at the Apostoli church, her body was later laid to rest in San Salvatore, with the tomb being fitted at the end of the 16th Century.
In front of the main altar is a glass disc, below this is a merchants tomb that was quite recently unearthed. The damaged decoration is by Francesco, the brother of Titian. He was also reponsible for painting the doors of the church organ. For a donation, the caretaker will show you into the sacristy, where there is another example of his work of birds and foliage.
The outside of the church has some faded frescoes in its porchways.(pic 4)
Open 0900 - 1200 and 1500 - 1800 Mon - Sat. Sun - 1600 - 1800.
The phone company office in the corner is the former Monastery of San Salvatores cloisters,designed by Sansovino (open Tues-Sun 1000-1800 Free admission
Next to this is the Scuoladi San Teodoro, which was the last Scuole to be constructed in Venice, in 1530.The facade was added in 1655 by Sardi . The Scuola was a cinema for many years, but now features musical evenings and exhibitions
The church of San Barnabas on Campo San Barnabas was completed with the brick campanile in the 14th century. The small church has a "Holy Family" depiction attributed to Paolo Veronese and a Tiepolo-style ceiling. It is more often associated with fact that impoverished members of the aristocracy lived here in state-provided apartments during the Republic's declining years.
The church and its surroundings has also gained a more recent distinction when it appeared in several films such as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade or in my favourite, Summertime starring Katherine Hepburn.
If you love the romantic Summer-Venice, you will love also the film Summertime. The story is about a lonely yet lovely American spinster who falls in love with a charming but married Venetian man who shows her that Venice is truly made for lovers.
You should watch this movie before your every trip to Venice, because you meet a Venice as you have never seen it before.
This water bus is a local vaporetto on Route No. 1, which zigzags across the Grand Canal as it makes its way from the Piazzale Roma and the railway station to the Piazza San Marco. After San Marco, it stops several more times before turning around at Venice's resort island, the Lido.
The No. 1 boat is slow, and it can be crowded during peak season or at rush hour. If you plan to use this route for sightseeing, board the boat at the end of the line (Piazzale Roma or Lido) and grab a seat in the bow, where standing isn't permitted and you'll have uninterrupted sightlines.
The Grand Canal (Italian: Canal Grande, Venetian: Cana³asso) is the most important canal in Venice, Italy. It forms one of the major water-traffic corridors in the city. Public transport is provided by water buses and private water taxis, but many tourists visit it by gondola.
The most wonderful part of being here is to walk the canals and take in the variety of the different views from each. Some are very narrow, and others wider. The Grand Canal is one big trafficway that I would personally not want to be on for a boat ride. It has waves that can upset a gondola, but does not seem to happen? To think of the goods to feed the tourists and locals comes in from boat daily, is a miracle feat. Boats drop off the goods, and someone later comes by to pick up what they have ordered. The locals know how to use the canals, especially if you are on the water. We, on the other hand looked intently to the next canal for directions
A great way to get to know Venice is by taking one of the many boat tours offered. The hotel you stay at can hook you up or if you buy a packaged tour they will probably include one. This is a great way to get an introduction to Venice. You get to see the beautiful colors, people, customs, transportation, etc. Here are a few pictures from our boat cruise.