Castello area, Venice

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    Scuola Grande di San Marco
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  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    L'Arsenale – Venezia’s glorious naval past

    by Trekki Updated Feb 9, 2008

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    And now we are at L’Arsenale, the most important part of Venezia J Yes, of course, there is Piazza San Marco with all the magic buildings and the basilica and Ponte Rialto, and, and, and… But L’Arsenale is special, as it is (or was) Venezia’s core and backbone, the place without which Venezia could never have been the queen of maritime powers as she was in the past. L’Arsenale was the place where ships were built within a day, the biggest dockyard and maybe also employer of the world for centuries. More than 15.000 arsenalotti worked here, each one very much specialised in a skill that was needed for ship building. L’Arsenale was a city within the city, and similar as with Murano and the glass blowers, the arsenalotti were having a high status among the civil people. They were the ones who knew all the secrets about ship building and thus, Venezia’s governors did almost everything to please them: tax reduction, mild processes, life long incomes, and so on. But, this all had a price: the arsenalotti had to work their whole life (= until they died, to get life long payment) and were strictly controlled by their supervisors in fear of sabotage. This all kind of isolated them to a point that they had developed an own language or dialect or lingo.

    As we have now 10 travelogues per destination :-)), I will continue to write about L’Arsenale & ship building here.

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    Don’t miss a walk along LArsenale west walls

    by Trekki Updated Jan 20, 2008

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    L'Arsenale, one of the pinnacles at western wall
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    Our next destination will be L'Arsenale, Venezia’s huge secret ship building complex. I can only highly recommend to approach L'Arsenale from anywhere else but the south (= not from the south), as only then you get an idea of the immense size of this dockyard. Or look at Google Earth to see how much of Venezia L'Arsenale occupies. I came from northwest (Chiesa San Francesco della Vigna), wandered through the maze of little streets and finally arrived at the western walls of L'Arsenale. It is all very quiet there (well, was, in May 2007), but I believe that not many tourists walk along here. I think, the second photo shows this tranquility very nice. I took it at Rio delle Gorne, which is the canale to L'Arsenale’s west. Here I also found a monument to Piero Foscari (photos 2 and 3). This monument is a bit confusing to me, as I have read somewhere that at the walls of L'Arsenale would be a monument to Doge Ordelafo Falier, the founder of L'Arsenale. But this one clearly had inscriptions to Piero Foscari. And as it was made in 15th century, it must be Piero Foscari the judge and not Piero Foscari the navy captain (who lived 1865-1923). If someone could shed light to this monument and moreover why it is here, at the wall of the marine complex, I’d be very much grateful. However, the Foscari were an important Patrician family in Venezia, Francesco was the doge with the longest governing period (34 years, quite long for Veneciano standards, where doges were often killed following conspirating acts). They are also the family who gave name to Venezia’s University: Università "Ca' Foscari" di Venezia.

    But if we continue our walk to the main entrance portal of L'Arsenale, we see more of the marine presence: the little relief/statue on the last photo is a unicorn, which, together with a seaman, flanks the entrance to the Instituto Studi Militari Marittimi, the navy studies school.

    The website below is in Italian only, but has nice old photos and scetches to show the size of this area.

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    Garibaldi Statue, Fountain and Gardens

    by suvanki Updated Jan 7, 2008

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    Garibaldi Statue and Fountain
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    CASTELLO

    I came across this interesting statue and fountain after visiting the Biennale exhibits, which are held in the pavillions of the nearby Public Gardens or Giardini Pubblici. The moss covered statue, sat in the centre of a pool from which small terrapins were climbing to bask in the warm sun.

    This statue is at the northern end of the Viale Garibaldi, which runs through the Giardini Garibaldi. Through the large gateway, You will find yourself on Via Garibaldi

    These 2 gardens (plus the Parco delle Rimembranze, stretch from Via Garibaldi to the Eastern Rio di Sant Elena) offer a place to rest away from the bustle of tourist Venice. Here, You are more likely to spot Venices retired workers, sitting reading a newspaper, or putting the world to rights, children playing ball games, or holding brightly coloured baloons, purchased from the nearby stalls, or young couples doing what Young Couples do in the city of Romance!

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    Amazing façade of Scuola di San Marco

    by Trekki Updated Nov 25, 2007

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    This is not three-dimensional :-)
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    Scuole, played a major role in Venezia. One of these is the Scuola Grande di San Marco with a marvellous southern façade. Maybe some of you know this building from Canaletto’s painting SS Giovanni e Paolo and the Scuola di San Marco of 1725, which is on exhibit in Dresden’s Gallery of Old Masters. Looking at this painting is fascinating, as it could have been made in todays’ time. Not much has changed, except the clothes of the people of course. However, the magnificent façade cannot be seen in the painting. But it is of a similar style as Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Miracoli and some palazzos along Canal Grande (Palazzi Dario and Manzoni for example). Similar as with the Byzantine ornaments, once I have seen this style, I started to see parts of it all over Venezia. he portal has beautiful decoration as well, scenes of San Marco's life.
    Only later I learnt that it is indeed of a similar school, Pietro Lombardi and family have also started the work on Scuola San Marco’s façade. It was finished later by Mauro Coducci around 1500. What I mean in decoration are these polychrome dark red and dark green marble discs surrounded by elaborate circles as in photo 1. But the most intriguing is the symmetrical perspective of the façade’s entrance portal decorations. If you stand at one end of the campo and look at the building, the two arches flanking the portal look very much three-dimensional (photo 3 or 5): the lion seems to step out of the arch and the arches’ vault seems to vanish into the rear. But the closer you walk towards it, the more the illusion becomes obvious: these details are worked out in relief and partly in trompe d’œil style (see photos 1 and 2).
    Oh, I almost forgot to write that this magnificent building is Venezia’s Ospedale Civile (main hospital) now. Some of the scuola’s magnificent interior can be visited Mondays to Fridays in the morning, this now through the southern entrance.

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    Campo San Zanipolo – my most favourite

    by Trekki Updated Nov 25, 2007

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    Very nice water well on Campo Zanipolo
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    Of all the campos I saw and stayed in Venezia, Campo San Zanipolo was my favourite. Haha, easy enough, as I lived just around the corner (when staying in the appartment). I still don’t know what it was with this campo, maybe that the hospital is situated here and that the people often stop by in the cafes, restaurants and bàcari during their hospital visits ? And of course there is the church San Zanipolo with mass service. Consequently, on weekends the campo is full with real Veneziano life – just perfect. Now this campo has another advantage: by now it is the only place in Venezia, where the most famous pasticceria of all has a shop: Rosa Salva. They make the best sweets on the planet and their coffee smells…. divine !

    The campo’s importance is indicated by the very nice and elaborate well (photo 1) and the famous equestrian sculpture of Bartolomeo Colleoni (photos 2 and 3). This sculpture is famous in several respects: it is one of the first bronze sculptures of that size, and even John Ruskin believed that there is no more glorious work of sculpture in this world. Then, you might ask how does a horse get into a town dominated by canales ? There is an interesting and funny story behind this. Colleoni was one of Venezia’s most famous leaders of armed forces on terra firma back in mid 15th century. In his testament he promised to donate a large sum to Venezia, if he would get immortality with a monument in front of San Marco. Now La Serenissima could not accept a foreigner from Bergamo, despite his triumphs for the city, standing in front of the Basilica of San Marco. But … smart as the Venezianos have always been – the testament did not specifically say “basilica”, so his statue was placed in front of San Marco, but the Scuola Grande di San Marco. Testament fulfilled, the city had the legal right to claim the money :-)

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    Join me on a tour through “my” Castello

    by Trekki Updated Nov 22, 2007

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    Castello walks
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    As already mentioned, I write about my tours through Venezia not for the ones who plant to visit the city once and race through the neuralgic spots, but for those who take their time, want to see more of the charming spots and intend to come back one day. Or simply for those who want to read about the many treasures La Serenissima holds.
    Now follow me on my walks through sestiere Castello, which was my favourite area and still is, now half a year later, as I am writing about it. Maybe as this felt more like the real Venezia for me, with many witnesses of her glorious past, even in tiny details. I didn’t see many other tourists there, except at Arsenale and Isola di San Pietro.
    The following tips will be about Castello, the sights and places I found charming and interesting during my walks. For a better overview, I made a screenshot of GoogleMaps again and marked the walks with a blue line. Oh, I should mention that the walks started in the northwest and from there clockwise with this little detour to Isola di San Pietro in the east.
    In addition, I add a GoogleEarth Screenshot of backstreet Castello in case you want to find the fish scale of Venezia’s old days as a Republic.

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    Giardini Pubblici - Public Gardens

    by suvanki Updated Nov 4, 2007

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    Giardini Pubblici Monument Venice
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    CASTELLO

    My reason for visiting the gardens was to view the Biennale exhibits. Before purchasing my ticket, I had time to wander around part of the park

    The park was designed by Eugene de Beauharnais, this was another of Napoleons attempts to alter the city. Apparently many buildings including 4 churches and a couple of monasteries were sacrificed to make space for this park

    There are plenty of areas for sitting under the shade of the mature trees. This would be a good place to bring children, as there are playgrounds with swings and climbing frames. For older children there are table tennis tables.
    A restaurant is located near to one of the exits, (where there are views over towards San Giorgio Maggiore and the Lido) with seating outside or inside. Outside the restaurant were some lifelike resin figures, which I found fascinating. These were part of the Biennale.

    The majority of artwork for the Biennale is displayed in the many pavillions which were constructed in the 1920s. The pavillions are only opened for the Biennale. Each of the nations has their own dedicated pavillion. To view the exhibits You need to purchase a ticket.

    However, the park is still a nice place to visit without seeing the Biennale

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    The medieval powerhouse of Venice

    by domenicococozza Written Sep 2, 2007

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    entrance to the boatyard
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    Arsenale dates from 1104 AD, when it bacame the shipbuilding centre for the Ventian Empire.
    Galleys and merchant ships were all built here along with the 'Bucintoro' - the Doge's ceremonial barge. The Arsenale is still the property of the Italian navy, so, alas, not open to the public. But a visit to it's fortress like walls and a brief glimpse into the foyer is well worth the effort

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    Castello - The most expensive beer!

    by Jerelis Updated Apr 11, 2007

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    The most expensive beer of Venice at San Giovanni.
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    We continued walking through this beautiful sestiere. We were amazed by the large number of churches. There is San Giorgio dei Greci, with its adjoining museum of icons, and Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, with its captivating cycle of paintings by Carpaccio.

    Finally we arrived at campo Giovannie Paola. This square is constantly buzzing with both Venetians and tourists and is surrounded by the huge Basilica and Scuola Grande di San Marco. The two churches are the most magnificent examples of religious Gothic architecture in Venice. The massive Gothic brick church of the 14th century, founded by the Dominican friars, rivals the Franciscans' Frari in size. And don't forget that the remains of the 25 chief magistrates are buried here. It has much grandeur, is the richest monumental public space in Venice after the Piazza and probably therefore we had our most expensive bear of Venice there.

    So, our conclusion about the sestiere of Castello, is that it has a split personality. Part of Castello is the ultimate tourist hell. And the other part is trully Venetian. It has some major historical spots that are not even know - much less visited - by most travelers to Venice.

    Address:
    Sestiere of Castello.

    Directions:
    (North) Eastern of Piazza San Marco – a 5 minute walk.

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    Castello - The Arsenale di Venezia.

    by Jerelis Updated Apr 11, 2007

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    Campo dell'Arsenale.
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    After this visit we walked back to the Via Giuseppe Garibaldi and headed for the Arsenale di Venezia. The low-rise, close clustered buildings of this working-class area housed the employees of the Arsenale, most of which now lies poignantly derelict. The Arsenale, the ship-building yards of the Venetian fleet, is now closed to the public, because the Italian navy have a base in the old complex. It used to be a mighty complex of dockyards, foundries, magazines and workshops for carpenters, sailmakers, ropemakers and blacksmiths, that had the capability of building a ship in a day.

    The impressive military construction of the Arsenale was begun in 1104 and was continually extended from the 14th to the 16th century. It is surrounded by high walls with square towers bearing the insignia of the winged lion. During its golden age, over 16.000 people worked at the Arsenale. The Arsenale di Venezia has two docks and lots of huge buildings. What became known as the Arsenale Vecchio (Old Arsenale) is the core of the whole complex. We loved the sight we had at the most notable structure of the Arsenale di Venezia, the Porta dell'Arsenale, the land gateway. We also had a look at the Corderie, where the ropes were made. The Arsenale is trully an amazing structure. But, to get a better understanding of the naval history of Venice visit the closeby Navy Museum.

    Address:
    Sestiere of Castello.

    Directions:
    (North) Eastern of Piazza San Marco – a 5 minute walk.

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    Castello - The largest sestiere.

    by Jerelis Updated Apr 11, 2007

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    Nons at the Via Giuseppe Garibaldi.
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    Castello is Venice's largest sestiere, extending from the Rialto to Sant Helena at eastern tip of the city. It's also one of the oldest parts of the city of Venice. It has been inhabited since the 5th century and has a number of attractions for the visitors to Venice, like the Basilica of San Pietro di Castello, the Arsenale di Venezia and the very old low-rise, close clustered buildings.

    Castello is a sestiere of 2 very different halves, Castello's grander northern and western area which is closely linked with the centres of power of the city, while the districts around and to the east of the Arsenale used to be home to Venice's most important industries. We explored both parts in one huge hike and were amazed by its monumental magnificence.

    We started at the vapareto stop of Giardini an enjoyed the park at the Viale Garibaldi. There are only a few opportunities for enjoying parks in Venice, as most of the gardens are private. The largest green space is the Gardini di Castello, where we found shaded benches and other benches with views over the Saint Matrk's Basin.

    Address:
    Sestiere of Castello.

    Directions:
    (North) Eastern of Piazza San Marco – a 5 minute walk.

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    Castello - Basilica of San Pietro di Castello.

    by Jerelis Updated Apr 11, 2007

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    Relinde walking towards the Basilica.

    We immediately headed for the most eastern part of the city, Sant'Elena, to visit the Basilica of San Pietro di Castello, which was the main church of Venice, prior to the construction of the Basilia in San Marco. The San Pietro di Castello is actually an island. We could visit it by going over one of the two bridges from mainland Venice. It is named Castello, because the island used to be the home of a sixth-century castle, which was turned into the seat of the Bishop of Venice when the seventh century rolled out.

    Due to this historical magnificence we had our mind set on visiting this Basilica and we were not disapointed. When we entered the Basilica we noticed that the floor plan resembled that of a Latin cross. It has a single nave that is capped by a deep chancel, and two aisles with their own side chapels. The interior boasts a delightful chapel covered in priceless marble and baroque statues, as well as a remarkable altarpiece.

    We learned that the Basilica undergone numerous restaurations and renovations throughout the years since it was built. Once we left the island we had one look back at the Basilica of San Pietro di Castello and had a good look at the amazing white facade done by Andrea Smeraldi and its major future, the bell tower.

    Operating hours:
    Monday - Saturday: 10:00h - 17:00h
    Sunday: 13:00h - 17:00h

    Address:
    Sestiere of Castello.

    Directions:
    (North) Eastern of Piazza San Marco – a 5 minute walk.

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    Arsenale

    by starstudio Written Nov 26, 2006

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    An arsenal is an establishment for the construction, repair, receipt, storage and issue of weapons and ammunition.

    The Venetian Arsenal (Italian: Arsenale di Venezia) is a shipyard and naval depot that played a leading role in Venetian.
    At the peak of its efficiency in the early 16th century, the Arsenal employed some 16,000 people who apparently were able to produce nearly one ship each 2 days.

    The Byzantine-style establishment may have existed as early as the 8th century, though the present structure is usually said to have been begun in 1104, although there is no evidence for such a precise date. It definitely existed by the early thirteenth century and is mentioned in Dante's Inferno. The name probably comes from Arabic Dar al Sina’a ("Dockyard").

    If your visit there is for seeing the Bienale, will you find very intresting shows and exebitions.

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    Arsenale di Venezia

    by Kikitriky Written Jul 14, 2006

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    Arsenale di Venezia
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    A big area of Sestiere di Castello is occupied by the Arsenale di Venezia, which is said to have been one of the three power centres of the Venetian Republic /the two others being the commercial heart Ponte Rialto and the political and religious centre Piazza San Marco/. Venetian merchants and military fleets sailed from here. One of the most beautiful elements that can be seen at the Arsenale is The Porta dell' Arsenale /The Cordiere/ which is one of the first examples of Rennaisance architecture in Venice /rebuilt in 1583 by Antonio da Ponte/.

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    The Arsenal - Arsenale

    by Airpunk Written Jan 26, 2006

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    This place was once the world's largest shipyard and home of the mighty venetian war fleet. At its peak, in the 16th century, over 16 000 people worked here building and repairing ships. The towers seen on the picture are one of the most remarkable buildings and date from the 16th century. The Arsenale complex consists mainly of beautiful red brick buildings, however, many places are not accessible for visitors as many buildings are still in use by the military. There is also a museum, but I can't say if it is worth a visit.

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