Jul 1, 2020
Welcome to Venice
“Thus arranged on either side of the canal, the houses made one think of natural places, but of a nature that had created its works with a human image.” Marcel Proust, writer.
Elegant, precious, inimitable, fun, romantic: this is Venice, the gem of the Venetian and Italian tourist panorama, where churches, palaces, ancient bridges, monuments and squares tell the artistic and cultural liveliness that has marked and still marks the history of this city.
The beating heart of Venice is the splendid Piazza San Marco, the most elegant lounge in Europe, surrounded by works of unquestionable value: the imposing Bell Tower and the Basilica with its five portals and the decorations of marble and mosaics that anticipate the pomp and rich interior; the Palazzo Ducale, symbol of the golden age of the Serenissima; the Torre dei Mori, better known as the Clock Tower, for the engineering masterpiece that has marked the time of Venice for centuries; the Napoleonic Wing, where the Correr Museum is located.
Several historical cafes open onto the square. Do not miss the wonderful Caffè Florian: opened in 1720, it is the oldest coffee in Italy. The interiors, very elegant, stand out for the stuccos, the paintings, the mirrors … Among the illustrious customers who sat at his tables, there are also Giacomo Casanova, Lord Byron, Ugo Foscolo, Gabriele d’Annunzio.
Campo Santo Stefano, with the church of the same name, is located not far from Piazza San Marco.
The “fields” of Venice are historical squares, often embellished in the center by prestigious monuments and dominated by imposing and splendid religious buildings, from which they take their name. The streets, however, here are called calli (the singular is “calle”) that wind between two continuous rows of buildings. The Venetians say that the best way to get to know their wonderful city is to take a calle and walk with your nose upwards, observing everything that will appear in front of you … Without a guide, without a map and without fear of getting lost, because, as if by magic, it will always arrive … in Piazza San Marco!
From Piazza San Marco, crossing the famous Bridge of Sighs, from where you can enjoy a wonderful view of the lagoon, you arrive in the Castello district, full of architectural and artistic masterpieces, where you will find the church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, that of San Zaccaria and the church of San Giovanni in Bragora, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful in the city. Continuing the walk through the calli, do not miss a visit to the Arsenale, for centuries the largest in the world, built in the twelfth century and then expanded thanks to the great political and commercial development of Venice, now home to the Biennale of art and architecture.
The International Film Festival is held, however, in the historic Palazzo del Cinema, on the Lido.
From Piazza San Marco you can see the island of San Giorgio Maggiore and the tall bell tower that rises from the monumental complex, a masterpiece of great architects, including the famous Andrea Palladio. A true open-air museum that can be seen plowing the waters of the Grand Canal, the main “road” of the city, which starts in Punta della Dogana, the ancient port of the Serenissima, with its characteristic triangular shape. There are four bridges that cross the canal: the Accademia bridge, the Rialto bridge (the oldest and most famous), the Scalzi bridge and the Constitution bridge.
Punta della Dogana, the area of Venice where the Grand Canal and the Giudecca Canal are divided, houses some buildings, including the Dogana da Mar complex which, together with Palazzo Grassi, both home of the François Pinault Foundation, are centers of excellence for contemporary art in Italy and worldwide.
Do not miss the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, exhibited at Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, a prestigious collection of 20th century works of art. Continuing on, you will find other important museum venues: the Gallerie dell’Accademia, housed in the majestic complex of the Scuola Grande de la Carità, which also includes the church of the same name and the monastery, and Ca ‘Rezzonico, one of the most beautiful Renaissance palaces, home to the Venetian Eighteenth Century Museum.
Also in the western part of the city, there are the sestieri (the six areas in which Venice is divided) of Cannaregio, Castello, Dorsoduro, San Marco, San Polo, Santa Croce and, with some of the most famous “fields” of Venice, framed from splendid religious buildings and stately homes.
A corolla of islands
Around Venice, a corolla of islands: Burano, famous for the production of lace; Murano, for glass processing; Pellestrina, characterized by sandy dunes and tall reeds; Torcello, one of the oldest human settlements in the area.