We had scheduled a walking tour for 2 pm with Venice Photo Tours. We met up with our guide, Simone, by the Rialto Bridge and headed out to explore the small alleyways and lanes of the Castello and Cannaregio sestieres.
Our first stop was Campiello del Remer. In Venice, only Piazza San Marco is a piazza, the other squares are “campi” and the smaller ones are “campielli”. The word “campi” translates to “fields” in English; historically these squares were cultivated fields. They contained a well in the centre, and stairs to the 2nd story where the living areas were. The doors under the stairs were for storage, varying in size to maximize space.
Even here, the Venitian “Lion” is apparent.
Castello is the largest of Venice’s six sestiere and the only one that doesn’t border on the Grand Canal. It is rich with examples of the Moorish influence on Venetian architecture. Sadly, it’s very common to see former windows and doors bricked up; mostly done before the historical significance of the buildings was apparent.
The winged lion, the symbol of Venice’s patron saint, St. Mark, can be see everywhere in Venice. From door knockers to fountains, flags and statues.
In Venice you will often see a decorative piece wedged between two buildings. According to Simone, these also have a function – they’re put in place to keep the buildings from leaning towards each other.
A gondola and an “imposter” pass. I wonder if those people know they aren’t in an actual gondola?
The Libreria Acqua Alta (The Bookstore of High Water), self proclaimed as the “Most Beautiful Bookshop in the World, is something to see. It looks more like a hoarder’s house than a business, with books everywhere. The bookstore floods frequently, when the “acqua alta” comes – what better to keep books dry than a gondola?
Not all of the books are kept in gondolas, bathtubs or canoes, so some do get wet. Those that do are taken to the back of the bookshop and become part of the stair case, from which you can see the canal beside.
The Palazzo Tetta stands at the junction of Rio di San Giovanni Laterano and Rio de la Tetta.
More beautiful window flowers
This building was built in 1260 by the Brotherhood of San Marco (Scuola Grande di San Marco) to act as it’s seat and destroyed by fire and rebuilt in the 1500’s. In 1819 it became an Austrian military hospital and is now the Ospedale Civile (the City Hospital). This is the main entrance to the hospital, the emergency exit is on the water side (see Venice part 1).
The winged lion stands guard high above the entrance. The tablet reads “PAX TIBI MARCE EVANGELISTA MEUS” – peace to you, Mark my evangelist
Is the brick going up or coming down?
One of the few iron bridges in Venice, this one forged in 1852 by Fonderia Collalto.
The Cannaregio sestiere sits at the north west of Venice, going from the Grand Canal to the lagoon to the north. Today it is the most highly populated sestiere in Venice, with lively bars and restaurants. In the early 1500’s it became the world’s first Jewish Ghetto, the word being derived from the Italian word ‘geti’ which represents the foundries that once operated here. The authorities forced out the existing residents and confined all Jews in that area; they were allowed out during the day to trade only if they wore a sign identifying them as Jews. In 1797 Napoleon’s army destroyed the gates and the Jews have been able to live where they want since that time.
Venetians cross the Ponte Widmann in the Cannaregio siestre
This neighbourhood is where many Venetians live and was thankfully more residential than touristy. This campo (Campo Santa Maria Nova) is representative of Venice life with a cafe, park benches and children playing, and of course, a church (which was behind us). What made it a little different from the other campi was the Rio running through it.
As with children anywhere, there can be drama…
After some coaxing, this little girl left the wall but didn’t rejoin the group right away.
Venice is an artist’s dream and we saw many painters set up in the streets painting the scene in front of them. Lucky for them they can choose not to paint all of the people!
This is Ponte Chiodo on Rio di san Falice, the only bridge remaining in the ‘city’ of Venice without railings. This is allowed because it is a private bridge.
The Scuola vechhia della Misericordia (Old School of Mercy) was built in the early 1300’s by the Scuola di Santa Maria della Misericordia (another of Venice’s wealthy brotherhoods). By the 16th century it could no longer be expanded and plans were made for a new, much larger building across the Rio della Sensa. The work began in 1532 but Scuola Grande della Misericordia wasn’t inaugurated until 1582. Today it has been renovated/restored and is rented out as meeting and exhibit space.
There are a few spots where you can see bridge, after bridge, after bridge…
Another example of the Moorish influence
This was the location of a gondola builder’s home at one time
A “forcola” – the oar lock for a gondola paddle – on a door. Presumably it was once a gondolier’s home?
In the triangular shaped Campo dei Mori stand 4 “statues” built into the walls. The first three are Moorish brothers of the family that built the area and the 4th, farther into the campo, is their servant. The first one is Sior Antonio Rioba who lost his nose sometime in the 1800’s and it was replaced with a metal one. People believe that rubbing hia nose would bring good luck, so much so that his head was actually removed and stolen in 2010; they sent divers in to the Rio della Sensa to look for it but fortunately it was found in a nearby Calle.
After the photo tour (and dinner) it was time for some night photography. A few shots of the Grand Canal on a moonlit night…
We successfully made it back to the Hotel, time for a couple more pictures before calling it a night…