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Both church and museum are worth a visit. Carpaccio is a master of color and detail. His paintings, among the most inventive of the early Renaissance, are full of whimsical and humorous elements. Take, for example, the friars in Saint Jerome and the Lion running away in panic from a lion that seems rather tame; notice that the friar in the forefront seems to have a wooden leg.

Or take the body parts scattered on the ground in the dragon's lair in Saint George and the Dragon. Far from gruesome, the scene invites the viewer in. Or take the small Maltese dog next to Saint Augustine, who seems to participate in his master's trance. Drawings in the British Museum show that Carpaccio first intended to paint a cat instead of a dog.

The change couldn't have been more appropriate. As we exit the scuola we turn left and we will see at the end of the corte , the church and convent of San Giovanni de Malta. It belonged to the Templars and after the order was suppressed in the early s, it passed to the Knights of Malta. I find the sign on the church's door, which I saw on one of my trips to Venice, very revealing of the Venetian sense of place.

We retrace our steps to the church of Sant' Antonin and take the salizada on the side of the church. This will lead us to Campo Bandiera e Moro o de la Bragora the term bragora has an unclear origin, but probably means market where the church of San Giovanni Battista in Bragora is located. The church houses a remarkable collection of paintings by Vivarini, Jacobello del Fiore and Cima da Conegliano. Antonio Vivaldi was born near this church on March 4, That day an earthquake shook Venice, literally. Or should I say musically?

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He was baptized in this church as the plaque shown below indicates. Campo de la Bragora was renamed Bandiera e Moro in honor of the Venetian patriots, brothers Attilio and Emilio Bandiera and Domenico Moro, who fought against the Austrians for the Italian unification and who were captured and shot in We exit the campo via Calle del Dose which takes us to Riva degli Schiavoni. To the left, at number , is the house where the Austrian mathematician and physicist Christian Doppler, known for the Doppler effect and the Doppler radar, died in In , he had moved to Venice, then part of the Austrian Empire, in search of a better climate that would improve his health.

We now walk in the opposite direction towards Ponte del Sepolcro. Curiously, the church that we see today was built after Vivaldi's death. For many years, Vivaldi was the maestro de' concerto of its renowned girls' orchestra. After his death, Vivaldi was forgotten for almost years until the rediscovery of his works in the 20th century - a process in which the violinist Olga Rudge, Ezra Pound's companion and long-time Venice resident, was instrumental.

To my surprise and delight, the night I was there they played not just Vivaldi's famous Four Seasons but the ' Five Seasons'. An unexpected gift for somebody like me, born in Argentina. Foundling's wheels were used in medieval Europe to leave, anonymously and in safe places, unwanted newborns to be cared for. Campo San Lio , at the crossroads between San Marco, Castello and Cannaregio, is always bustling with activity but hasn't changed much over the centuries: the building where the pub L'Olandese Volante is located looks almost the same as in the painting by Giovanni Mansueti from , Miracle of the Relic of the Holy Cross at Campo San Lio displayed at the Accademia Galleries.

Across from the church is a pharmacy with an impressive glass mural depicting an old chemical laboratory. Next to the pharmacy, a mask and costume shop. In front of the church, a tempting frutariol fruitseller. This area has some of the oldest houses in Venice dating from the 13th century, such as those right next to the church and the adjacent sotoportego, Castello At that intersection there is another Il Papiro store there is also one in San Marco.

If your espresso machine doesn't brew the perfect cappuccino, the corner store is the place to buy an authentic Italian coffee maker. We make a right turn on Calle al Ponte de la Guerra and, after a few yards, turn left on Casseleria. At the next intersection we make a right turn followed by a left turn on Calle al Ponte de l'Anzolo. According to legend, a pet monkey kept at the palazzo was possessed by the devil.

During an exorcism the monkey flew through the wall of the building leaving behind a big hole that the owner promptly got covered with the shrine of the angel to prevent the devil from coming back. We cross the bridge and return momentarily to the sestiere of San Marco. We make a left turn on Ramo de l'Anzolo that takes us to Ponte del Remedio. From this bridge we have a different panorama of Ponte and Fondamenta de l'Anzolo and an unexpected view of the Bridge of Sighs separated from us by three other bridges. We continue on Calle del Remedio to Ramo del Remedio, a charming street with three little bridges that lead to private residences; at the end is Campiello Querini Stampalia.

The Museum and Foundation Querini Stampalia will be on our right. Interior of the Foundation Querini Stampalia. Mario Botta, the same architect who designed the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art , was in charge of the latest ground-floor renovation of the museum. The beautiful and modernistic gardens were designed by Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa. The building itself, marrying 18th-century architecture with modern style elements, is worth the visit. But if this is not enough to tempt you, let's add that the museum houses a large collection of Venetian paintings including the enigmatic Presentation of Jesus in the Temple by Giovanni Bellini, and many by Pietro Longhi and Gabriel Bella, depicting Venetian customs and activities of the 18th century.

Its interior is divided into square sections separated by low columns and arches, which give the church a human dimension. During a recent visit on a cold December afternoon, the church was completely packed and several priests, all dressed in white, were celebrating mass in the Coptic rite. We walk around the campanile and on the canal side, above the doorway, we will see a grotesque sculpture that inspired John Ruskin to say: "A head - huge, inhuman, monstrous, leering in bestial degradation.

In medical terms, the face on the wall of Santa Maria Formosa seems to represent somebody who suffered from neurofibromatosis. Campo Santa Maria Formosa is the perfect place to unwind, sit down, have a cup of coffee, read a book, engage in conversation or just watch people walk by. We leave the campo by the canal side, Fondamenta dei Preti. Vivaldi used to live in this building at number Right across from the entrance to the building is Ponte del Paradiso topped by a Gothic arch and a relief of the Madonna della Misericordia.

It showcases the true commercial spirit of Venice amidst a medieval ambiance. This detour is worth taking if you are interested in buying books about Venice. Libreria Editrice Filippi will be on our left, just before we reach the Salizada. For generations, the bookstore and publishing house Filippi has specialized on Venetian themes. It carries a large selection of new titles as well as old books that are difficult to find elsewhere. Its owners will welcome you and will make you feel at home. We retrace our steps but before we leave Calle del Paradiso, we should take a look at one of its most distinctive features: the wooden barbacane that protrude from the walls at the second-floor level.

This architectural element, very common in Venice, was used to increase the living space without obstructing the pedestrian traffic. Campo Santa Marina is one of the few campi in Venice named after a saint and without a church. The church of Santa Marina stood at numbers and but was demolished in It is visible in Jacopo de' Barbari's map. Across from the Hotel Santa Marina is Pasticceria Didovich Castello where you will find a fantastic assortment of pastries plus some delicious vegetable tarts called salatine.

Giovanni Bellini lived in the parish of Santa Marina. He died on November 29, and was buried, alongside his brother Gentile, in the Scuola de Sant' Orsola, next to the church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo. We continue on Calle del Pistor where, just before crossing the bridge Ponte del Pistor , the excellent bakery Ponte delle Paste is located. After crossing the bridge the street will take us back to Campo San Lio.

From Campo San Lio we take Calle de la Fava that will lead us to the church of Santa Maria de la Fava , arguably the only church in the world named after a legume. How the church got its name is, like all things Venetian, shrouded in mystery and the subject of controversy. Most likely the name derives from the vendors of fava beans who brought their barges and their business to the bridge opposite the church.

In , when the church first opened as an oratory dedicated to a miraculous image of the Madonna, the bridge was already known as Ponte de la Fava and the church as Santa Maria del Ponte de la Fava. The church was rebuilt in the first half of the 18th century. Among its works of art, Giambattista Tiepolo's Education of the Virgin, is the most remarkable. The official name of the church is Santa Maria della Consolazione.

From Ponte del Cristo the dreamlike view is quintessential Venetian. As we cross the bridge we enter Cannaregio. We turn right on Ponte de le Erbe. From this bridge, we can also see the last numbers of the sestieri of Cannaregio and Castello. Gentile left and Giovanni Bellini right and between them a white-haired man. Tombs of the Bandiera brothers and Domenico Moro. We walk to the Fondamente Nuove, the northern edge of the city, by the side of the hospital. From there we'll have a splendid view of the lagoon and the cemetery island of San Michele, the resting place of many personalities: Igor Stravinsky, Ezra Pound, Sergei Diaghilev, Joseph Brodsky and Christian Doppler, among many others.

It was precisely Joseph Brodsky who in his brilliant Venetian reflection " Watermark " wrote the following words about this corner of Venice: " I remember one day -the day I had to leave after a month here alone. I had just had lunch in some small trattoria on the remotest part of the Fondamente Nuove, grilled fish and half a bottle of wine. With that inside, I set out for the place I was staying, to collect my bags and catch the vaporetto.

I walked a quarter of a mile along the Fondamente Nuove, a small moving dot in that gigantic watercolor, and then turned right by the hospital of San Giovanni e Paolo. The day was warm, sunny, the sky blue, all lovely. And with my back to the Fondamente and San Michele, hugging the wall of the hospital, almost rubbing it with my left shoulder and squinting at the sun, I suddenly felt: I am a cat. A cat that has just had fish. Had anyone addressed me at that moment, I would have meowed. I was absolutely, animally happy. You will soon be on Fondamenta and Ponte Tetta.

Unlike its more famous cousin, Ponte delle Tette in the sestiere of San Polo named after the flashy-fleshy merchandise displayed by the local prostitutes, the ' Tetta ' of this remote part of Castello refers to the noble family Tetta who had their residence in the palazzo around the corner. We take Calle Zon and after crossing the bridge, Ponte Santa Giustina, we reach the fondamenta of the same name. To our right is the scenic Campo Santa Giustina. The church and convent of Santa Giustina closed in Today the building houses the Liceo Scientifico.

In the background, the bell tower of the church of San Francesco de la Vigna. Occupy the vacant houses. Block the evictions. Housing is a right. And I couldn't help but think how strange that in a place with so many vacant houses, housing could still be a problem. We follow the street Corte drio la Chiesa and after a few turns and bends we will be in Campo de la Celestia , one of the few campi in Venice that actually has grass.

However, it must have had two wellheads centuries ago, as suggested by the relief on the remaining wellhead. The relief of the three angels represents the Holy Trinity a common iconographic symbol in Eastern Christianity , a reference to the nonextant church of Santa Ternita. A relief of Saint Martin is shown on the opposite side, a reference to the nearby church of San Martino.

Some scenes from the movie Bread and Tulips were shot in this campo. We exit the campo by Calle del Forno that takes us to Calle dei Scudi where we turn left.

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The Museo Storico Navale , on the corner of the riva and the fondamenta , a few steps away from Ponte de l'Arsenal, is worth the visit. Organized in three main floors, the museum offers a panoramic and detailed view of the maritime history of Venice from its beginnings to the modern era. One of its highlights is a scaled-down reproduction of the ceremonial barge, the Bucintoro a word that may derive from burcio , a type of Venetian ship and d'oro , golden , which was dismantled and burnt after the fall of Venice in the hands of Napoleon. It is said that mules were used by the French soldiers to carry away the gold recovered from the ship.

Recently, the Fondazione Bucintoro has undertaken the construction of a new Bucintoro at the Arsenal.

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This museum is a true gem; there is so much to see that you should plan a visit in the early morning. The museum is closed in the afternoon. As we exit the museum we turn right on the fondamenta and walk almost to the end where we cross Ponte de l'Arsenal or del Paradiso to Campo de l'Arsenal. In this picturesque campo we can admire the entrance to the Arsenal, which for many centuries was the engine behind Venice's power. Here is where the Venetian ships were built as early as in the 12th century. The assembly line was an integral part of the Arsenal's operation centuries before Henry Ford, credited with inventing it, put it to use for automobile manufacture in the USA.

From Venice, the word has passed into most European languages with a slightly different meaning. Unmistakable symbols of Venice, several lions guard the entrance to the Arsenal.

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  • The most curious one is the lion on the west side of the entrance. It was part of the spoils of war brought by Doge Morosini in from Piraeus the port of Athens. It has some Runic symbols engraved on its shoulder, probably the work of a Norse soldier fighting for the Byzantine emperor in the 11th century.

    Dante visited the Arsenal on two occasions, in and The impression that the place made on him must have been very strong as the Canto XXI of his Inferno testifies. A marble plaque on the side of the main portal commemorates this. As in the Arsenal of the Venetians, in winter, the sticky pitch for smearing their unsound vessels is boiling, because they cannot go to sea, and, instead thereof, one builds him a new bark, and one caulks the sides of that which hath made many a voyage; one hammers at the prow, and one at the stern; another makes oars, and another twists the cordage; and one the foresail and the mainsail patches,—so, not by fire, but by divine art, a thick pitch was boiling there below, which belimed the bank on every side.

    I saw it, but saw not in it aught but the bubbles which the boiling raised, and all of it swelling up and again sinking compressed. On our way to the church, we will pass to our right the beautiful Ponte del Purgatorio and the not so beautiful Ponte de l'Inferno. Saint Martin of Tours is a cosmopolitan saint, a true son of the Roman Empire. Born in in Sabaria modern Szombathely in Hungary, near the Austrian border , he was educated in Pavia, present-day Italy, and became a soldier in the Roman Army.

    Drawn to Christianity, the newly proclaimed legal religion of the Empire, from his youth, Martin was forced by his father to join the Roman army as a way to dissuade him from entering the religious life. In what became the most famous incident of his life, at the age of 21 he gave half of his cape to a shivering beggar he encountered at the gates of Amiens in France. He kept the other half because it belonged to the Roman Army. The relics of the cape were guarded in France by a custodian called capellanus , a term from which the words chaplain and chapel derive.

    The feast of Saint Martin is celebrated on November 11th. In Venice, a traditional cookie in the shape of a horse with a rider wearing a cape is baked for this occasion. Among its works of arts, there are beautiful pieces by Tullio Lombardo and the ceiling fresco by Domenico Bruni and Jacopo Guarana, a remarkable trompe l'oeil.

    Another one can still be seen outside the church of Santa Maria della Visitazione on the Zattere, in Dorsoduro, and another one in the Doge's Palace. One of the best places in town to enjoy Venetian food. We begin our walk at Ponte de l'Arsenal. Via Garibaldi was built on a filled-in canal in the Napoleonic period. Today, it is not only the commercial hub of this part of Castello, but also the gateway to the Giardini Pubblici. We will walk to the end of it. Midway and on our left we will see Corte Nova. This quaint corte , with its two wellheads, was already depicted in de' Barbari's view of Venice of Little has changed since then, but you will notice that the gates at each end of the corte have been removed.

    Both wellheads date from the first half of the 14th century. One is in Istrian stone, and the other, more ornate, in pink Verona marble. Further up Via Garibaldi and across from the church of San Francesco di Paola, we'll find Il Nuovo Galeon , a great place to have fresh and perfectly cooked seafood and succulent pastas in a friendly atmosphere. The last time I was there, I got looks of horror and amazement from my British neighbors as I savored a delicious seppie in umido col nero cuttlefish swimming in its own ink. We walk to the end of Via Garibaldi where the canal begins Rio de Sant' Anna and take the fondamenta on the left of the canal, Fondamenta S.

    This is a very colorful area of Venice that exudes local character. We make a left turn at the end of the fondamenta on Calle drio el Forner that will take us to Fondamenta del Forner. We cross Ponte Rielo and ahead of us is Calle Ruga where we turn left; after crossing the campo , the street becomes Salizada Streta. At the intersection with Calle Larga de Castello we turn right. I visited the church on a Sunday morning in the middle of Communion, at the end of the 10 o'clock Mass.

    The church was packed like the end of the world was imminent. Respectfully, I left and sat outside in the beautiful campo , under the trees. After several days of carrying my photographic equipment around town for hours on end, my back had reacted with unbearable pain; the hard wooden benches on Campo San Piero were not helping. Fifteen minutes passed and hearing intense clapping inside, but seeing no one coming out of the church, I decided to go in again. A priest was speaking but I couldn't fully understand what he was saying. I must have taken ten steps inside the church when several folks gave me a look that paralyzed me in my tracks.

    Trying to find a surface to lean on to alleviate my backache, I gave two more steps to position myself next to a column and got the same look again, this time accompanied by a loud shush. I felt that I had violated some ancient and mysterious rule. I couldn't deny, after all, that I was a tourist like a million others.

    I was embarrassed and a little perplexed by such unexpected reaction; Venetians are a very polite and tolerant people. I later learned, through fliers posted all around this area of Castello, that the parishioners were honoring and giving thanks to Don Gabriele for seven and a half years of ministry.

    I couldn't help but think how typical Venetian the whole incident was. The parishioners didn't stop me when I walked in in the middle of Communion but they objected when I dared to walk during the priest's farewell. Veneziani, poi cristiani. During my wait outside the church I got my reward.

    I felt Carpaccio's ghost sitting on my shoulder. In the middle of the walkway that leads to the main entrance to the church, a white stone stands out from the rest. This is the place where, according to protocol, the Patriarch would welcome the Doge when he visited the church.

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    Not one inch to spare! Great purple clouds were passing over the Venetian sky. The tower of San Marco, the dome of Santa Maria and the nursery-garden of spires and steeples rising from every corner of the city stood out as black needles against the sparkling horizon. The sky turned by subtle gradations from cherry red to cobalt blue while the water, smooth and clear as a mirror, faithfully reproduced its infinite iridescence; it lay like a vast sheen of copper below the city.

    Never have I seen Venice more beautiful and enchanted. Its black silhouette, cast between the sky and the glowing waters as on to a sea of fire, seemed to be one of those sublime architectural aberrations the poet of the Apocalypse must have seen floating on the shores of Patmos as he dreamt of the New Jerusalem and likened it in its beauty to a newly wed bride. Many places around the world are named after Saint Helena, Constantine the Great's mother and the godmother of Christianity, but this tiny area of Venice is the real deal.

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    • Forget the Saint Helens of volcanic proportions or the Saint Helenas of Napoleonic and Napa-Valley fame, the unassuming church of Sant' Elena, almost falling off the map of Venice, is the only place that deserves to be called such, as it houses the relics of the saint. Her remains are displayed in a glass sarcophagus in one of the side chapels to the right of the entrance. Dressed in a golden gown she wears a mask and slippers.

      As I sat all by myself in the deserted church in front of her relics, I felt years of history condensed in one spot, as I pondered how one single woman could have so dramatically changed the faith, and in so doing, the fate of the Western world. The picture below is the right bottom corner of de' Barbari's map. The island was cut off from the rest of Venice. The church, originally founded in , underwent many transformations. It was deconsecrated by the French and reopened more than a century later in Its campanile, demolished when the church was closed, was rebuilt in We leave the church and after crossing the beautiful Parco delle Rimembranze , we go back to the Riva.

      In front of the Giardini is the monument to the Partigiana , a moving bronze at water level created by artist Augusto Murer in the s to honor the Venetian women of the resistance who fell during World War II. From Ponte de San Domenego. Casa della Marinarezza. During the winter month, the Riva hosts an amusement park. The rides used to be closer to San Marco and now are closer to the Giardini. It's the perfect place for a lively stroll on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Before you leave Campo San Zaccaria, look around you.

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