Canareggio area, Venice
Lista di Spagna stretches from just after the foot of the Scalzi Bridge/ Scalzi church, to Campo Sant Geremia (in front of the large church of the same name) where it then becomes Saliz. S. Geremia, before the Ponte del Guglie crosses the Canal de Cannaregio.
This area was where the foreign embassies were all located- This wasn't a co-incidence- The Republic, ever fearful of foreign invasion etc stipulated that the embassies should be in one central area, which made it easier to keep control on the 'comings and goings' and for the Republics spies to have an easier job.
One of those embassies was used by the Spanish (Spagna). The word Lista indicates that it is a street leading to an embassy.
The embassy was located at No 168, and is now used as the regional offices of the Veneto. (pics 3 + 4)
In 1618, Venice had acquired a reputation as the European Capital of intrigue and espionage! The Marquis of Bedmar -aka The Spanish Ambassador came up with a 'cunning plan' to smuggle soldiers from the Spanish Army into Venice- They would arrive- a few at a time, in civilian clothing. This plan failed due to a prostitute, whose patriotism ensured that the plot was leaked to the feared Council of Ten. This resulted in around 300 people being arrested and executed.
Nowadays, this thoroughfare is a tourist hotspot, with souvenir shops, Fast food shops, Restaurants, hotels, discount sales and street hawkers- including the notorious handbag sellers.
A Popular area for visitors wanting to stay near to the train or bus station, particularly those on a 'whistle-stop' tour of Europe.
The Sestiero Cannareggio (the Northernmost in Venice proper), is not the most spectacular. The only famous destination there is the Venice Ghetto, a very small neighborhood which is at the origin of the definition of the word Ghetto as we know it.
However, the scarcity of tourists, and the presence of "real people" amidst unrestored, crumbling palaces, make a long walk through the Cannaregio a most pleasurable one. You may want to start your walk around the Civil Hospital and wander about in loops all the way to the train station.
When you arrive to St. Stae you can see in front of you a nice view over the Canal Grande with some nice examples of architecture: Palazzo Gussoni Grimani & Palazzo Boldu.
Palazzo Gussoni Grimani gave its name by the owner Antonio Grimani (a Dodge). It was built in 1509 on a project of Michele Sanmicheli. Nowdays it is owned by the Regione Veneto.
Palazzo Boldu built in the 16th century is nowdays a cultural centre.
Most of the tourists know Cannaregio because its where the train station and the cheaper hotels are but it has some really nice (and quiet) corners. I started to walk from campo San Geremia. The church of San Geremia(pic 1) existing since the middle of the 18th century although the first church was erected in 11th century and houses the relics of Saint Lucy of Syracuse (previously at the church of demolished Santa Lucia church). At the same campo you can also see Palazzo Labia. It belonged to a rich family from Catalunya and was built at the end of the 17th century. It has some paintings of Tiepolo but I couldn’t go inside, it seems you need some appointment first.
Then we crossed the nice bridge ponte delle Guglie(pic 2) where we had some extra nice photos of the canale di Cannaregio. The bridge was built in 1580, designed by Michelangelo de Marchesini and has some nice carved masks as decoration. At this canal we saw the most weird boats of all Venice. After checking the Ghetto area (see next tip) we crossed another bridge and we started walk at fondamenta degli Ormesini that turns into fondamenta della Misericordia. Locals were passing by while we were checking the numerous bridges along the way.
When we reached San Marziale church(pic 3) we were tired of walking so it was a good point for a stop. It was first built back in the 9th century but rebuilt several times. There is a legend about a wooden statue of Madona that came in Venice in an empty boat and many miracles happened in the city then. It is made of wood painted but kind of old, its size is big enough and Jesus seems to smile in a strange way. A sign says about the story of the miracles and the date that the Doge brought it to the church, it was back in 1286. The interior is very interesting in general although kind of dark but it gives atmosphere. There are paintings from Tintoretto and S.Ricci while over the altar you can admire an ideal Venetian baroque exable, a baroque fantasy (according to Hugh Honour). The church is open 16.00-18.00 but better to visit it on 9.30 on Sundays.
When we passed from Palasport at Scuola Grande della Misericordia we realized the Biennale di Venezia had the grand opening that weekend so we took a quick look (there were several exhibitions all over the city). The next church was Santa Maria della Misericordia (pic 4) at campo del Abbazia. It dates back from the 10th century but the beautiful façade was restored in 1659. It was closed when I passed by.
We walked a bit, turned into calle dei mori and after crossing ponte de la Madona de l’Orto I saw the beautiful Venetian gothic church of Madona de l’Orto (pic 5). It was built at the 14th century and it was first dedicated to Saint Christopher but later to Virgin Mary because of a miraculous statue of Virgin Mary that was founded in the area. The sculpture of Judas supposed to have inside one of the silver coins of Judas but ok, I know… who knows… You can also see many nice paintings of Tintoretto (that he was also buried here) and Conegliano. We walked a bit at this quiet part of Canneregio and at the end we just got lost at some small alleys before we returned back to Ghetto area.
Since we did only a trip up and down the Grand Canal on the Route one vaporetto, we obviously did not get to walk around any of the six sectors of Venice. When I looked on a map, I found that the Cannaregio district would have been on the side of the railroad station. There were two churches which came to our attention in this stretch. One was San Marcuola Cannaregio (which has the district in the name).
It looked unfinished, and it was. Apparently the architect thought he would cover the surface with white marble but didn't get around tuit. It isn't a new church - it was built between 1728 and 1736 by the architect Giorgio Massari. Giorgio Massari b. Venice 1687 - d. 1766 was Venice's most important architect in the first half of the 18th century. It was not uncommon for facade to be left unfinished in Venice. Finishing them cost a great deal of money and was usually left for last.
The church is dedicated to Saints Ermagora and Fortunato—yet its name is San Marcuola. It is near to the Ghetto Nuovo
The second church had an inscription on it which said
VERGINE DI SIRACUSA
MARTIRE DI CRISTO
IN QUESTO TEMPIO
ALL'ITALIA AL MONDO
Roughly translated, this means
Lucia, Virgin of Syracuse, Martyr of Christ in this Temple Rests
Italy Implores all the World, Light Peace
Chiesa di Santa Lucia has in it the urn containing the relics of Santa Lucia. Actually there are two St. Lucias both from Syracuse which makes it confusing. After the death of the Saint in 304 A.D., his body was moved around and in 1204, the Venetian Doge Enrico Dandolo, sent it to Venice where it was put in the church of S. Giorgio Maggiore. On 13 December 1279 some pilgrims to the shrine drowned after the capsizing of boats in a sudden storm so it was decided to take the body of the Saint to the church S. Maria Annunziata or "Nunca" situated in the Cannaregio district, where they were placed the precious relics transferred from S. Giorgio. In 1313 a new church dedicated to St. Lucia, where the relics of saints were placed permanently.
There are regular hours for masses.
My reason for finding Fondamente Nuove, was that this was where I was to get the No 13 vaporetto to Sant' Erasmo, where I had booked accommodation for 2 nights, at the end of my 12 day visit to Italy.
It was quite a bustling area, as this is also where the waterbuses depart to other islands of the North lagoon including Burano, Isola San Michelle (The cemetery island), Torcello and Murano
From the quay across the bridge, night boats to the lagoon islands, and the Alilugana to Marco Polo airport can be boarded.
Waiting for the vaporetto, I had a while to wait, so enjoyed a cool beer on the terrace of Algiubagio, while enjoying the views over the lagoon.
The 'New Quays' are over 400 years old, Before they were constructed in the 1580's, this was a respectable residential area, where Venetians built houses, with attractive gardens, in order to enjoy the clean open air. Artists such as Titian resided here. He entertained European VIPS and friends such as Sansovino and Aretino at his house at No 5179 Calle Larga dei Botteri (No longer here, but a plaque on the flats wall marks the site)
The Quays themselves aren't too attractive, but it has become one of my favourite areas.
For a kilometre, from the Sacca della Misericordia, the Quays stretch easterly to the bridge crossing the Rio di Santa Giustina. This is also the point where you step into the sestieri of Castello
Looking out over the lagoon, with its ever-changing skies, I'm never bored with the view to the islands and beyond. On a clear day, You can even see the Dolomites, with their snow topped peaks.
Approaching Fondamente Nuove by water bus, gives you the chance to see landmarks such as the churches of the Gesuiti, with its red roof tiles and bell tower, and Santi Apostoli, with its onion domed campanile, from a different view.
I've enjoyed eating at the handful of eateries around Fondamente Nuova - Algiubagio has great food and atmosphere, and its sister Pizzeria and Gelateria is a place to grab a slice of fresh hot Pizza for 2 euros, or a delicious ice cream.
I also enjoy wandering around the sleepy narrow streets off the Fondamente, I never know what I'll see, or hear. One sunny afternoon, I'd wandered into a street with a vine growing across it. From a nearby apartment, I could hear a man singing operatic arias, as delicious cooking smells wafted from open windows. There was no one else around - One of those 'Happy Moments' which seemed a million miles away from the bustle of 'Tourist Venice'!
This is the main thorough fare of South East Cannaregio, running parallel to the Grand Canal, it is the widest boulevard between the Rialto Bridge and the Train Station, stretching from the church of Santa Fosca at its west end, to Campo dei Santi Apostoli in an easterly direction.
Although it is called New Street, it was created in 1871 during the Austrian occupancy.
Whereas other Boulevards such as Lista di Spagna and Via Garibaldi were formed by filling in canals, this one was produced by demolishing any buildings that stood along the way. Many old houses and ancient alleyways were destroyed, removing the character of the area around Santa Fosca.
Strada Nova is a busy shopping and socialising area. When I visited at Christmas 07, there were market stalls stretching from near the Ca'd' Ora Vaporetto stop, to Campo dei Santi Apostoli. In the evening there were a few street entertainers and the itinerant bag sellers.
However, this is a street where Venetians come to do their day to day shopping, such as household goods, gifts, flowers, clothes, cakes, wine and spirits etc. There are also plenty of wine bars, cafes, restaurants etc.
I'm afraid that I didn't get to see the buildings in detail - I was usually dashing to/ from the Vaporetto Stop and my nearby hotel.
I wish I'd checked out the antique pharmacy (Farmacia Santa Fosca or Farmacia Ponci) at No 2233- apparently it still has its original dark wood furnishings, including walnut, dating back to the 17th century as well as some majolica ( maiolica ) vases. This is the oldest surviving shop interior in Venice.
Outside the church of Santa Fosca is a statue to Fra Paolo Sarpi - a brilliant academic and scientist,and was also adviser to the Venetian state during the conflict between Venice and the Vatican in the early 17th century. This was the period when Venice was excommunicated due to its refusal to accept the papal jurisdiction in non religious affairs. One night, near the church, he was attacked by 3 men and left for dead, with a dagger protruding from his face. He survived this, and subsequent attempts on his life. Although unproven, it was believed that Pope Paul V was not entirely innocent in this incident.
Ca'd'Ora is reached from Strada Nova by a short dark narrow alley - follow the Vaporetto signs
For something a little different to do one evening, try going to the casino. It's the oldest casino in the world, and yes Casanova did play the tables (and the ladies) here. No. This is NOT Las Vegas. The atmosphere is much more reserved and you won't find a neon light in sight. DO NOT forget to bring your passport, otherwise you'll be schlepping back to the hotel to get it. I'm speaking from experience!
The Cannaregio district of Venice is a nice area for a walk when you've had enough of the hustle and bustle of the main tourist areas. It's mainly residential and you can enjoy walking along the quiet canal paths. There are some impressive churches, beautiful buildings and some small hotels where you can stop for a coffee.
Also in the region is the interesting Jewish Ghetto, which has a history dating back centuries.
We initially went to Cannaregio to go to the Jewish Ghetto but we found ourselves sitting on a park bench along the canal watching the locals and the boats. It was so peaceful. We were fascinated by the old buildings. We tried to decide if the newer appearing buildings were just new facades or if they were truly new. My husband got a kick out of the boats. Being the jon boat king, of our neighborhood, he rated each engine as it started. "See. listen to his engine! Mine shuld sound like that!" And he drooled over a diesel engine. A quiet moment like this was such a sharp contrast to the hustle and bustle of the touristy areas that it felt like we were in a time warp.
After a snack, we wandered until we found the old Jewish campo. There were probably 30+ people wandering around the campo. Along one wall of the campo there is a memorial to the 44 men and women who were taken during the war by the Nazis. The bas relief plaques nearby depicting the atrocities were heart breaking. We found the Jewish center and went on the tour. The tour was really good. The tour guide spoke excellent English and we saw the inside of the original temples, which are not open to the general public. From the outside the temples look like any other building because they did not want to attract any undue attention from the ruling Christians. On the inside they were decorative but no photographs are allowed.
One point of interest, look for the tall buildings. The original settlers could not expand outward so their buildings expanded upwards. We saw some buildings 7 stories high.
After spending an aftenoon wandering through this area we decided if we did not stay in Dorsoduro we would choose Cannaregio.
Yes, Cannaregio is the home of the "Jewish Ghetto" in Venice. But it is much more. It is one of the few places in Venice where you can see Venetians living and working. Here you will find familys dining at restaurants, non-tourist shops and markets. It is a much less frenzied part of town.
For those wanting to check out the ghetto, Canareggio is home to five synagogues: the Canton Synagogue, the Italian Synagogue, the German Synagogue, the Levantine Synagogue and the Spanish Synagogue.
As for the history: The Venice Ghetto was the first to be set up in Europe and was founded in 1516. The Venetian Jews had to live inside the area bordered by the Ghetto Bridge, and could not leave the area from dusk until dawn. Guards were placed at the Ghetto boundaries to control the Jews’ movements and the Ghetto was closed at night with gates. The hinges of those gates can still be seen today. The word “ghetto” comes from the word “getto”, the noun coming from the Italian verb “gettare”. It refers to the foundary work that had been found in this area of town.
Other interesting sights in this area include Madonna dell’ Orto Church, Gesuiti Church, and Ca d’ Oro. Madonna dell’ Orto is known for its Tintoretto paintings as well as a statue of The Virgin Mary, which is said to have miraculous powers. Gesuiti, as it is referred to in Venice, is the first monastery of the Jesuits established in this region. Its facade is covered in green and white limestone. Ca’ d’ Oro, or Pallazzo Labia, faces the Grand Canale and is known for its spectacular façade which is adorned with gold leaf, vermillion, and ultramarine. Within you can find paintings and carvings by greats such as Titian, Bellini, and Lombardo.
We were lucky enough to stay in this area of Venice, its beautiful. There is so much in this area, quiet Campos and the Ghetto are all here.
The main road from the train/bus station to St.Marks runs through here, but it is still considerably cheaper than San Marco area.
It felt as though people actually lived here! (compared to San Marco), and we visited local supermarkets and bakeries.
Its a great area to chill out and wander in!
Near Madonna del Orto is the house of the great painter. It is only a short distance from where he was buried. a memorial plaque is above the door.
The house is still used for occasional exhibitions and lectures.
In 1516 an enclosed neighborhood for Jews was created, called the Jewish Ghetto. The word „ghetto“ did not have the negative connotation it has today. At the time it was quite common for foreign merchants to be housed in a separate quarter, e.g. the German and Turkish merchants lived in separate quarters.
This is the home of the four brothers. It is known as the camel palace becuase of this relief on the canal facade. It is a palace worth seeing as the mix of architectural touches is wonderful.