Unusual Venice


Venezia insolita 770x162

Venice, off-track proposals

The fame of its very well-known lagoon is due to the combination of two opponent forces, the ebb and flow of tides together with the water that comes from the rivers and canals. Venice is in the middle. An emotional town to be slowly sipped along its narrow streets in order to know the less famous areas and districts that are not less precious than the best-known landmarks. Just consider that one of the most interesting alternative routes starts from the Jewish district and stretches up to Sant’Alvise Square where you can see a church that contains the paintings from Tiepolo and from there you can reach S.Giacomo dell’Orio, one of the most ancient churches in town that keeps the works by Lorenzo Lotto, Paolo Veneziano and Paolo Veronese.  

But let’s go in order. You’ll feel something unusual and particular when you enter the Ghetto whose main entrance is on the Cannaregio, one of the oldest “sestieri” (districts) together with S. Marco, Dorsoduro, S. Croce, S. Polo and Castello. The ghetto is divided into two parts, the Old Ghetto and the New Ghetto: you can reach the old one walking along the narrow streets that have its own name and feature two main synagogues, the Scuola Spagnola and the Scuola Levantina. The Scuola Spagnola is the biggest synagogue in town, it was built in the XVIth century by the Spanish Jewish and it features a rich decoration of Venetian inspiration with its golden details, its red colours ad the marble. The Scuola Levantina is smaller and features, besides an inlaid wooden ceiling, an amazing bimàh (pulpit) dating back to 1650, ascribed to the artist called Andrea Brustolon, a famous wood sculptor who could perfectly mix the Jewish and the Venetian art. If you want to go deep into that you can walk along the New Ghetto that despite its name is even older than the Old one and it is surrounded by the canals and features the museum of the Jewish Art where you can admire a collection of tapestries, warship objects dating back to the XVIIth and the XIXth centuries. From the Ghetto you can go towards the church of S. Alvise built in 1388 that contains the paintings by G.B. Tiepolo. Other works by famous painters can be admired in the church of S. Giacomo dell’Orio in the square that gets its name, one of the very few tree-lined areas in the centre of town: it was rebuilt in 1225 and new elements were added in the following centuries. Its interior shaped as a Latin cross keeps the charm of the Medieval building and it is a true treasure chest of works of art among which a wooden Crucified Christ dating back to the XIVth century by Paolo Veneziano and a painting of a Madonna with Child and Saints by Lorenzo Lotto and the Saints Lorenzo, Girolamo and Prospero by Paolo Veronese (1572) stand out.

Not far from there as an alternative to the churches and the paintings there is the Fontego dei Turchi, a typical Venetian-Byzantine house dating back to the XIIIth century. Let’s move on to the fortifications since a number of them survived and have been restyled and turned into places dedicated to exhibitions and cultural events. There are a number of historical-naturalistic routes starting with Forte Marghera, the oldest one and the biggest either: it has the shape of a star and it was the first fortified building that was created to protect the town and its arsenal. From there you can go to Forte Manin then reach Forte Bazzera where the armoury from the first world war can still be seen. There are archaeological excavations, river mouths and watchtowers and you can reach Forte Carpendo that features the military rooms dating back to the end of the XVIIIth century that have been perfectly rebuilt, including the stables.  

 The nice mills of Marzenego may also catch your attention before sailing and reaching the fortifications of the lagoon: the strategic fortification of S. Andrea will welcome you then the Lazzaretto Nuovo (leper hospital), the San Felice fortification in Chioggia, the Massimiliana Tower in Sant’Erasmo, the Scarpa-Volo Mansion in Mazzorbo or the Ca’ Roman fortification along the Pellestrina coastline. The Pellestrina island is traditionally inhabited in the small villages of San Piero in Volta and Pellestrina.

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Luciana Francesca Rebonato

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