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.
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.
We've now left the Merceries and have entered one of Venices liveliest squares, especially at night, due to its restaurants and bars. It appeared to be quite a popular place for those sitting out enjoying the December sun as I passed through. At another visit, there was a market set up here. This is the place that Venetians of all ages come to meet their friends
This Campo is sometimes referred to as the Rialto Bridges courtyard, as it sits nearly at the bridges steps.
A statue of Carlo Goldoni dominates the square, this bronze sculpture (crafted by Antonio del Zotto in 1883) commemorates one of Venices favourite comedians, who lived from 1707 -1793. His comic plays are still popular today, many were claimed to have been inspired by his observations of locals and their conversations that he picked up on his wanderings around Venices streets and cafes.
Backing onto the campo is the church of San Bartolomeo, which was formerly known as 'The German church' and today is often used for exhibitions or musical recitals. Open Tues, Thurs and Sat 1000 - 1200.
At the end of the Campo is The Fondacio dei Tedeschi , which during the 16th Century, was a base for German traders. Today it is Venices main Post Office.
UPDATE Christmas 2009 - The statue has now been restored, and there was a lively atmosphere, with festive market stalls selling all sorts of stuff including hats, perfumes and Christmas goods.
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.
It is so pleasant to be able to stroll everywhere and not worry about cars and trucks running you over or blasting you with noise and exhaust. Instead, Venice offers peace and serenity in a world of its own, if you know where to look. However, the main square and primary shopping street can be an ordeal of crowds and high-priced shops that could give you a very bad impression, especially if you are only in town for a day, like most visitors. A new collection of travel videos about Venice has useful tips on where to walk to get away from the crowds and find the most authentic, local parts of this magical town: http://tourvideos.com/IT_Venice.html
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.
This is Venice's 2nd most important square. At the north end sits its church - Santo Stefano, which has some of Tintorettos most famous works, and is also an attractive piece of architecture. (please see my next tip.)
From its southern end, you walk directly to the Accademia Bridge that links this sestieri of San Marco, with Dorsoduro (and the Art gallery that gives its name to the bridge, and Vaporetto station)
If you head eastwards out of the campo, by Calle de Spezier you'll arrive in Piazza San Marco (follow the yellow signs),
and Northwards (past Chiesa Santo Stefano) takes you to the Rialto (again follow the signs)
Before you head off in one of these directions, take time to look around the Campo, and enjoy a drink or something to eat at one of the many cafes. For Ice cream fans - of all ages- Gelateria Paolin is noted as being among the best by Venetians. I'm afraid that I didn't get to find out.
In the 18th Century, Campo Santo Stefano was one of Venices main bull fighting arenas. However, it came to an abrupt end in 1802, when a seating stand collapsed, causing the deaths of many spectators. Carnivals and markets continued and still do - From November to December 23rd an annual Christmas market is held here. 2008 was its 10th anniversary -Please see my previous tip.
This spacious campo is also known as Campo Francesco Morosini, named after the Doge who lived here in the 17th century. (his tomb is in Santo Stefano Church- look for the bronze plaque on the floor cordoned off by rope). He resided at No 2802.
Morosini was the last doge to serve as the Republic's military commander, from 1688 -94)
His main claim to fame, being that he blew up the Parthenon in Athens- aided by the Turkish gunpowder stored there! He also plundered the stone lions from this site- rehousing them in front of the gate of the Arsenale
In the centre of the square is a statue of Nicolo Tommaseo (1802 -74), who was a scholar from Dalmatia. His philosophical theories were valuable during the Italian movement of Unification - The Risorgimento.
Behind the statue is the entrance to Puntolaguna - No 2949. This is a state- of- the- art, multi media information centre, run by Venice's water authority (Magistrato alle Acquae).
This is the place to visit to find out all about the matters concerning Venice and ways planned to safeguard the city and lagoon. Info on The MoSE project, eco systems, itineraries for visiting the lagoon etc. As well as informed staff to consult, there are workstations with, CD-Rom, internet sites and Video libraries.
Apparently it's a good place to take children. There are workshops run by the staff (sometimes in english) aimed at children. (though it's closed July-August!)
Free admission. Open Mon-Fri 14.30 -17.30 www.salve.it Tel 0415293582
The square is surrounded by a few Pallazzos. The Veneto Institute of Science, Letters and Art is at the former Palazzo Loredan, and the high iron fenced Palazzo Francheti, is one of the few Grand Canal palaces with a garden. Off the Campo is the smaller Campiello Pisani -If you listen near the Palazzo Pisani , you might hear music being played as this is the Conservatory of music.
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
This is the square to head for if trying to find Scala Di Bovolo - the tower with the external staircase!
From the left side of the Campo, follow C/ de la Vida to the Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo
Campo Manin has some historical and architectural items of interest.
Daniele Manin, a patriot and lawyer, led the revolt, by Venices citizens, against the Austrians in 1848. The uprising led to the setting up of a provisional government, and a new currency. The initial success was short lived- Venetians were being subjected to air bombardments, starvation and subsequent disease. They surrendered in 1849
Manin went on to teach Italian to students in Paris, dying in exile in 1857.
His bronze statue faces his old house - by the bridge to the left.
The Square was expanded in 1871 to make room for the statue
Unusually for Venice, this campo has a piece of 20th Century architecture - The Cassa di Risparmia Bank built in 1964, by Pier Luigi Nervi, who is one of Italys most acclaimed post-war architect.
On this site, in 1490, Aldus Manutius (Teobaldo Pio Manuzio) founded the Aldine Press.
Aldus was a humanist teacher from Rome, whose first love was Greek. He was instrumental in preserving, printing, developing a Greek typeface and providing editions of every classic text, for the public at reasonable prices. He also invented italics!
The Aldine Press featured the imprint of an anchor and dolphin.
Some of the greatest scholars from the Renaissance age were on the editorial panel, including Pico della Mirandola and Erasmus - who collaborated in the best seller 'Adages'
Francesco Collonas "Hypnerotomachia Polifili" -Dream of Polphylus, which was published by Aldus in 1499, was the inspiration for Longhena to design one of Venices most famous landmarks -the stunning Santa Maria della Salute.
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.
Campo Santa Margherita is among the largest Venice squares along with Campo San Polo and Campo Francesco Morosini, and just after the largest one – Piazza San Marco. It owes its name to the Church Santa Margherita, closed in 1810. Campo Santa Margherita has its present-day form more than 1200 years, as the rivers which had flowed together through the square had been filled in the 9th century.
Early in the morning Campo Santa Margherita is an open-air market. During the rest of the day and often by night too – it is the place with "atmosphere of cheerfulness" produced mainly by the students, as the University is just a few meters away, and on the square itself there are many bars, cafes, beer pubs, restaurants… In general – it is one of the nicest squares in Venice, place full of locals as well as tourists, but never as crowded as Piazza San Marco.
For similar, but somehow diminished and less touristy atmosphere look for Campiello dei Squelini located nearby.
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 Grand Canal banks are lined with Amongst the many are the Palazzi Barbaro, Ca' Rezzonico, Ca' d'Oro, Palazzo Dario, Ca' Foscari, Palazzo Barbarigo and to Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, housing the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. The churches along the canal include the basilica of Santa Maria della Salute. Centuries-old tradition such as the Historical Regatta are perpetuated every year along the Canal.
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