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8 Feb 2008

Venice - Attractions Guide

List of most of the attractions in Venice with quick information:

IV03 City: Venice
Name of Attraction: Academy Gallery

Details: From Titian to Tintoretto, from Giorgione to Veronese, the Academy has representative works from its Venetian sons in a remarkable collection of paintings spanning the 13th to 18th centuries. The glory that was Venice lives on in the Accademia, the definitive treasure house of Venetian painting and one of Europe's great museums. Exhibited chronologically from the 13th through the 18th centuries, the collection features no one hallmark masterpiece in this collection; rather, this is an outstanding and comprehensive showcase of works by all the great master painters of Venice, the largest such collection in the world.
It includes Paolo and Lorenzo Veneziano from the 14th century; Gentile and Giovanni Bellini (and Giovanni's brother-in-law Andrea Mantegna from Padua) and Vittore Carpaccio from the 15th century; Giorgione (whose Tempest is one of the gallery's most famous highlights), Tintoretto, Veronese (see his Feast in the House of Levi here), and Titian from the 16th century; and from the 17th and 18th centuries, Canaletto, Piazzetta, Longhi, and Tiepolo, among others.
Most of all, the works open a window to the Venice of 500 years ago. Indeed, the canvases reveal how little Venice has changed over the centuries. Housed in a deconsecrated church and its adjoining scuola, the church's confraternity hall, it is Venice's principal picture gallery, and one of the most important in Italy. Because of fire regulations, admission is limited, and lines can be daunting (check for extended evening hours in peak months), but put up with the wait and don't miss it.
Location: Campo della Carita, Dorsodura. (041) 522-2247 Dorsoduro, at foot of Accademia Bridge
Vaporetto: Accademia
Mon 8:15am-2pm; Tues-Sun 8:15am-7:15pm; last admission 30 min. before close (winter hours may be shorter)
Prices Admission 6.50€ ($8.15) adults, 3.25€ ($4.05) children 12-18, free for children under 12

IV04 City: Venice
Name of Attraction: Basilica dei Frari (Church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari)

Details: The glorious Gothic Church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, constructed around 1330, is primarily associated with the name of Titian, Venice’s painter son who is buried here, alongside the city’s celebrated sculptor, Antonio Canova. Titian made his reputation and crowned his early years by painting the huge altar piece, The Assumption of the Virgin, for the Franciscan brothers of the Frari in 1518. The view through the choir screen and wooden choir to the high altar influenced Titian’s choice of frame and composition. The best way for one to admire it is to walk slowly up the centre of the nave towards the altar. Titian also executed the painting over the Pesaro family altar in the north aisle. The inclusion of the flag and Turk in the painting alludes to Bishop Pesaro’s victory over the Turks at Santa Maura. Titian’s tomb, located in the south aisle, faces the large marble pyramid created for Canova, depicting St Mark’s lion paying homage to the dead sculptor. Ironically, the design, executed by Canova’s pupils, was based on Canova’s own plans for a new monument to Titian.
Location: San Polo 3072
Tel: (041) 272 8611.
Transport: Vaporetto 1 or 82 to San Tomà.
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 0900-1800 and Sun 1300-1800.
Admission: €2.50

IV05 City: Venice
Name of Attraction: Basilica di San Marco (St Mark’s Basilica)

Details: St Mark’s Square was memorably described by Napoleon as the ‘drawing room of Europe’. Here, visitors can sit at one of the elegant 18th-century coffee houses (Florian and Caffe Quadri, with tables spilling out into the sunlight from the shadows of the Renaissance colonnades) and peer at one of Europe’s most unusual churches, the golden Byzantine Basilica di San Marco. The basilica was founded in the ninth century, as a shrine for the relics of St Mark, whose body was smuggled from Alexandria in a barrel of salted pork. Formerly a private chapel of the Doges, the church was completely rebuilt in the 11th century, following a fire. Built on a plan of a Greek Cross, its Eastern appearance is enhanced by golden mosaics both inside and out, originally created by craftsmen from the Byzantine court at Ravenna. To see how the church appeared in 1260, visitors should take a look at the mosaic over the left portal – one of the oldest surviving mosaics on the façade. Also on the façade are copies of four bronze horses seized from Constantine’s Hippodrome at the sacking of Constantinople in 1204, which became one of the symbols of the city. The originals are now displayed in the Museo Marciano, inside the church. The interior, lit by the expanse of golden mosaics, houses many of Venice’s greatest treasures. In the chapel north of the main altar is the venerated icon of the Madonna Nicopeia. Once worshipped by the Roman Emperors in Constantinople, she came to Venice in 1204, as their Madonna of Victory, whose blessing was vital for Venetian military campaigns. The golden screen behind the high altar – the crypt in which St Mark is supposed to be buried – is the Pala d’Oro. Decked with sapphires, emeralds and rubies and inset with enamels from Constantinople, it was ordered by Pietro Orseolo, the Doge who was responsible for the rebuilding of the Basilica. Before leaving St Mark’s, visitors should pause to admire the 12th-century pavement, a resplendent mosaic of glass and marble. Now filled with uneven dips, it is a fitting witness to Venice’s unique situation, as the weight of its history threatens to submerge it below the waves. The attempts to reverse this process are all too visible if you cast your eyes towards the lagoon. The waterfront by Piazza San Marco is currently blighted by much-needed attempts to shore it up, and looks destined to ruin many a tourist photo for some time to come.
Location: Piazza San Marco
Tel: (041) 522 5205. Fax: (041) 520 8289.
Transport: Vaporetto 1 or 82 to San Zaccaria.
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 0945-1700 and Sun 1400-1700.
Admission: Free (Church), €2 (Pala D’Oro), €2.50 (Treasury).

IV06 City: Venice
Name of Attraction: Burano

Details: Burano sees its fair share of tourists in the summer months and many Venetians descend on this lagoon island at weekends. But on a quiet, sunny weekday, the island is nothing short of idyllic. Many of its narrow canals are lined with brightly painted houses, said to have been painted originally by local fishermen, so that they could find their way home through the murky lagoon mists. The main industry today is tourism, which is fuelled by the production of traditional lace, on sale from many outlets around the island. Once visitors have purchased the obligatory lace souvenir, the only other pursuits are idling around the charming canals and lazing away the day in the waterfront cafés and restaurants. A meal at Il Gatto Nero (tel: (041) 730 120), a popular trattoria serving food every bit as good as Burano’s more expensive and more tourist-orientated restaurants, is an experience to remember, although booking is essential to secure an outside table beside the canal.
Location: Burano Island
Transport: Vaporetto 12.

IV07 City: Venice
Name of Attraction: Ca’D’Oro

Details: Once truly a Golden House with ornaments trimmed in pure gold, this Venetian Gothic palace was created in 1434 by Marino Contarini for his wife. A 19th-century Russian prince later presented it to dancer Maria Taglioni, adding to her collection of palaces along the Grand Canal. Its final proprietor left Ca' d'Oro to the city, after filling it with antiquities, sculptures and paintings on exhibit as Galleria Franchetti. One detached fresco on display was created by a young Titian for what is now the main post office.
Location: Calle Ca' d'Oro, Cannaregio 3933. (041) 522-2349

IV08 City: Venice
Name of Attraction: Caffe Florian

Details: Built in 1720, Caffe Florian’s Art Nouveau décor, plush red banquettes, and elaborate murals serve as a timeless backdrop for lunch, afternoon tea and libations extending into the night. Lord Byron was a regular, as was Casanova, often stopping by in search of female company. Dickens, Proust, Stravinsky, Modigliani and others also made Caffe Florian a second home. (Caffe Florian also has gone to sea, now operating a replica annex aboard Costa’s CostaAtlantica.)
Location: Piazza San Marco 56-59. (041) 520-5641

IV26 City: Venice
Name of Attraction: Campanile di San Marco

Details: A grand, brick bell tower standing 325 feet tall is what you will find when making a stop by this site. Features to take note of include a lovely angel, which will cost you EUR6 to enjoy. It's an easy elevator ride up to the top of this 97m (318-ft.) bell tower for a breathtaking view of the cupolas of St. Mark's. It is the highest structure in the city, offering a pigeon's-eye view that includes the lagoon, its neighboring islands, and the red rooftops and church domes and bell towers of Venice -- and, oddly, not a single canal. On a clear day, you may even see the outline of the distant snowcapped Dolomite Mountains. Originally built in the 9th century, the bell tower was then rebuilt in the 12th, 14th, and 16th centuries, when the pretty marble loggia at its base was added by Jacopo Sansovino. It collapsed unexpectedly in 1902, miraculously hurting no one except a cat. It was rebuilt exactly as before, using most of the same materials, even rescuing one of the five historical bells that it still uses today (each bell was rung for a different purpose, such as war, the death of a doge, religious holidays, and so on).
Location: San Marco, Piazza San Marco
Vaporetto: San Marco
Apr-June 9:30am-5pm; July-Sept 9am-9pm
Admission 6€ ($7.50)

IV10 City: Venice
Name of Attraction: Galleria dell’Accademia

Details: Many of Venice’s greatest paintings remain in the buildings for which they were created, but the most important art gallery, the Accademia, is still worth a visit. Housed in the former church of Santa Maria della Carita and the adjoining Scuola, the collection first opened in 1750. Oils were the favourite medium of the Venetian masters. Frescoes, popular on the mainland, were unsuited to the damp, salty climate of the lagoon and soon perished. Instead, oils painted on wood or canvas (long used in Northern Europe) were exploited to new limits, with the artists demonstrating an unusual sensitivity to colour and light, no doubt partly influenced by the play of light on the lagoon. The small paintings in rooms 4 and 5 are some of the finest in the collection. Giorgione’s Tempesta, depicting a naked mother and child sheltering under a stormy sky against the ruins of an ancient city, is full of mystery. Little is known about the artist and the subject of the scene is unclear, but the interplay of dark and light conveys a deep sense of drama. The larger canvases by Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese in room 10 should not be missed either. Titian painted the Pieta for his own tomb, demonstrating his extraordinary ability to create light with his palette. Veronese’s bawdy picture, entitled Feast in the House of Levi, was originally painted as The Last Supper but the artist was forced to amend the subject after charges of indecorum. Visitors should allow time for room 21, to admire the drama and colour of the nine broad canvases in which Carpaccio has dramatically staged the Life of St Ursula.
Location: Dorsoduro 1050
Tel: (041) 522 2247. Fax: (041) 521 2709.
Transport: Vaporetto 1 or 82.
Opening hours: Tues-Sun 0815-1915, Mon 0815-1400.
Admission: €6.50.

IV24 City: Venice
Name of Attraction: Glass Musuem


IV23 City: Venice
Name of Attraction: Gondola Ride


IV11 City: Venice
Name of Attraction: Gran Caffe Lavena

Details: Composer Richard Wagner composed his greatest operatic works at the Gran Caffe Lavena, known for its ornate chandelier. Excellent tables are near the windows in front and great ice cream is available at the bar. Tables outside on the piazza carry a hefty cover charge. Historically, gondoliers also have hung out here.
Location: Piazza San Marco 133-134. (041) 522-4070

IV12 City: Venice
Name of Attraction: Harry’s Bar

Details: What Sloppy Joes is to Key West, Harry’s Bar is to Venice as being among the favored watering holes of Ernest Hemingway. Lore has it that carpaccio, in its raw, beefy Hemingway-esque glory, was invented here. Harry’s is also known for its fresh peach juice and sparkling wine Bellinis, which the author called suitable for sissies. The Burtons, Bogart and Bacall were regulars here, and celebrities still stop by, often during film and art festivals.
Location: Calle Vallaresso, San Marco 1323. (041) 528-5777

IV25 City: Venice
Name of Attraction: Museo Civico Correr

Details: This museum, which you enter through an arcade at the west end of Piazza San Marco opposite the basilica, is no match for the Accademia but does include some interesting paintings of Venetian life, and a fine collection of artifacts, such as coins, costumes, the doges' ceremonial robes and hats, and an incredible pair of 15-inch platform shoes, that gives an interesting feel for aspects of the day-to-day life in La Serenissima in the heyday of its glory. Bequeathed to the city by the aristocratic Correr family in 1830, the museum is divided into three sections: the Painting Section, the History Section, and the Museum of the Risorgimento (1797-1866). The latter two aren't worth much mention. Of the painting collection from the 13th to 18th centuries, Vittorio Carpaccio's Le Cortigiane (The Courtesans), in room no. 15 on the upper floor, is one of the museum's most famous paintings (are they courtesans or the respected elite?), as are the star-attraction paintings by the Bellini family, father Jacopo and sons Gentile and Giovanni. For a lesson in just how little this city has changed in the last several hundred years, head to room no. 22 and its anonymous 17th-century bird's-eye view of Venice. Most of the rooms have a sign with a few paragraphs in English explaining the significance of the contents.

IV13 City: Venice
Name of Attraction: Naval History Museum

Details: Cannons, ship models and pieces of vessels dating to when Venice reigned supreme on the Adriatic beckon from the Naval History Museum, housing a gilded model of the Bucintoro. This fabulous ship of the doge is said to have made Cleopatra’s famed barge look like a tanker. Also displayed are two dozen Chinese junks and maritime paintings. The Naval History Museum's most fascinating exhibit is its collection of model ships. It was once common practice for vessels to be built not from blueprints, but from the precise scale models that you see here. The prize of the collection is a model of the legendary Bucintoro, the lavish ceremonial barge of the doges. Another section of the museum contains an array of historic vessels. Walk along the canal as it branches off from the museum to the Ships' Pavilion, where the historic vessels are displayed.
Occupying one-fifth of the city's total acreage, the arsenal was once the very source of the republic's maritime power. It is now used as a military zone and is as closed as Fort Knox to the curious. The marble-columned Renaissance gate with the republic's winged lion above is flanked by four ancient lions, booty brought at various times from Greece and points farther east. It was founded in 1104, and at the height of Venice's power in the 15th century, it employed 16,000 workers who turned out merchant and wartime galley after galley on an early version of massive assembly lines at speeds and in volume unknown until modern times.
Location: Campo San Biasio, Castello 2148. (041) 520-0276
Vaporetto: Arsenale
Tues-Sun 9:30am-12:30pm; Tues-Sat 3:30-6:30pm
Admission 3€ ($3.75)

IV14 City: Venice
Name of Attraction: Palazzo Ducale (Doges’ Palace)

Details: The Doges’ Palace (once home to the elected leader of Venice, the Doge, as well as the city’s political nerve centre) is a must for anyone interested in the history of Venice and its former empire. A building seemingly too graceful for the dirty work of government, its pearly façade is best appreciated from the lagoon, in whose milky light her rosy complexion blushes beguilingly. A merging of Islamic and Gothic styles, the façade dates from 1365. In contrast to the stern fortifications of the castle that was formerly on this site, the undefended colonnade and arcaded balcony are a testament to Venice’s confidence and democratic outlook during the Middle Ages. The interior is more Renaissance in style, dating mainly from the 16th century, when Antonio da Ponte was employed to refurbish the palace after the fire of 1577. The first floor is predominantly made up of the Ducal apartments, all but empty except for some exemplary paintings by Titian and Bellini. It is on the upper floors that the business of government took place and it is here that Tintoretto and Veronese were commissioned to create new paintings to highlight the power and wealth of the republic. The Anticollegio (or waiting room) holds some of the palace’s best works – Tintoretto’s Bacchus and Ariadne vies for attention with Veronese’s Rape of Europa.
Further on, the Sala del Collegio is dominated by Veronese’s ceiling painting of Venice Triumphant above the throne. But it is the Chamber of the Great Council (Sala del Maggior Consiglio), the huge hall on the third floor, spanning the length of the façade overlooking the lagoon, which holds the palace’s most dramatic work. Tintoretto’s Vision of Paradise (painted with the help of his son, Domenico) is the largest oil painting in the world, with a cast of 500 figures. Tintoretto junior is also responsible for the frieze of portraits of the first 76 Doges, made memorable by the blacked-out image of Marin Falier, the only Doge ever to attempt to overthrow the council and install himself as absolute ruler. Falier was beheaded for his pains but his notoriety lives on in this silhouetted image. The Doges’ Palace is currently nearing the end of a five-stage restoration project, with the final completion date constantly changing. Concerted attempts are being made to keep as many of the museum areas as possible open throughout the running repairs.
Begun in the 12th century and continuously remodeled, this pink and white marble palace represents the most glorious period of Venice in terms of prosperity and power. The ceiling of the Senate Chamber features The Triumph of Venice by Tintoretto.
The pink-and-white marble Gothic-Renaissance Palazzo Ducale, residence and government center of the doges ("dukes," elected for life) who ruled Venice for more than 1,000 years, stands between the Basilica di San Marco and St. Mark's Basin. A symbol of prosperity and power, it was destroyed by a succession of fires and was built and rebuilt in 1340 and 1424 in its present form, escaping the Renaissance fever that was in the air at the time. Forever being expanded, it slowly grew to be one of Italy's greatest civic structures. A 15th-century Porta della Carta (Paper Gate; the entrance adjacent to the basilica where the doges' official proclamations and decrees were posted) opens onto a splendid inner courtyard with a double row of Renaissance arches.
Ahead you'll see Jacopo Sansovino's enormous Scala dei Giganti staircase (Stairway of the Giants; scene of the doges' lavish inaugurations and never used by mere mortals), which leads to the wood-paneled courts and elaborate meeting rooms of the interior. The walls and ceilings of the principal rooms were richly decorated by the Venetian masters, including Veronese, Titian, Carpaccio, and Tintoretto, to illustrate the history of the puissant Venetian Republic while at the same time impressing visiting diplomats and emissaries from the far-flung corners of the maritime republic with the uncontested prosperity and power it had attained.
If you want to understand something of this magnificent palace, the fascinating history of the 1,000-year-old maritime republic and the intrigue of the government that ruled it, take the Secret Itineraries tour. Failing that, at least shell out for the infrared audio-guide tour (at entrance: 5.50€/$6.90) to help make sense of it all. Unless you can tag along with an English-speaking tour group, you may otherwise miss out on the importance of much of what you're seeing.
The first room you'll come to is the spacious Sala delle Quattro Porte (Hall of the Four Doors), whose ceiling is by Tintoretto. The Sala del Anti-Collegio (adjacent to the College Chamber, whose ceiling is decorated by Tintoretto), the next main room, is where foreign ambassadors waited to be received by this committee of 25 members: It is decorated with works by Tintoretto, and Veronese's Rape of Europe, considered one of the palazzo's finest. It steals some of the thunder of Tintoretto's Three Graces and Bacchus and Ariadne -- the latter considered one of his best by some critics. A right turn from this room leads into one of the most impressive of the spectacular interior rooms, the richly adorned Sala del Senato (Senate Chamber), with Tintoretto's ceiling painting, The Triumph of Venice. Here laws were passed by the Senate, a select group of 200 chosen from the Great Council. The latter was originally an elected body, but from the 13th century onward, it was an aristocratic stronghold that could number as many as 1,700. After passing again through the Sala delle Quattro Porte, you'll come to the Veronese-decorated Stanza del Consiglio dei Dieci (Room of the Council of Ten, the republic's dreaded security police), of particular historical interest. It was in this room that justice was dispensed and decapitations ordered. Formed in the 14th century to deal with emergency situations, the Ten were considered more powerful than the Senate, and feared by all. Just outside the adjacent chamber, in the Sala della Bussola (The Compass Chamber), notice the Bocca dei Leoni ("lion's mouth"), a slit in the wall into which secret denunciations and accusations of enemies of the state were placed for quick action by the much-feared Council.
The main sight on the next level down -- indeed in the entire palace -- is the Sala del Maggior Consiglio (Great Council Hall). This enormous space is made special by Tintoretto's huge Paradiso at the far end of the hall above the doge's seat (the painter was in his 70s when he undertook the project with the help of his son; he died 6 years later). Measuring 7m by 23m (23 ft.*75 ft.), it is said to be the world's largest oil painting; together with Veronese's gorgeous Il Trionfo di Venezia (The Triumph of Venice) in the oval panel on the ceiling, it affirms the power emanating from the council sessions held here. Tintoretto also did the portraits of the 76 doges encircling the top of this chamber; note that the picture of the Doge Marin Falier, who was convicted of treason and beheaded in 1355, has been blacked out -- Venice has never forgiven him. Although elected for life since sometime in the 7th century, over time il doge became nothing but a figurehead (they were never allowed to meet with foreign ambassadors alone); the power rested in the Great Council. Exit the Great Council Hall via the tiny doorway on the opposite side of Tintoretto's Paradiso to find the enclosed Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs), which connects the Ducal Palace with the grim Palazzo delle Prigioni (Prisons). The bridge took its current name only in the 19th century, when visiting northern European poets romantically envisioned the prisoners' final breath of resignation upon viewing the outside world one last time before being locked in their fetid cells awaiting the quick justice of the Terrible Ten. Some attribute the name to Casanova, who, following his arrest in 1755 (he was accused of being a Freemason and spreading antireligious propaganda), crossed this very bridge. He was one of the rare few to escape 15 months after his imprisonment, returning to Venice 20 years later. Some of the stone cells still have the original graffiti of past prisoners, many of them locked up interminably for petty crimes.
An Insider's Look at the Palazzo Ducale--I cannot recommend the Itinerari Segreti (Secret Itineraries) guided tours highly enough. The tours offer an unparalleled look into the world of Venetian politics over the centuries and are the only way to access the otherwise restricted quarters and hidden passageways of this enormous palace, such as the doges' private chambers and the torture chambers where prisoners were interrogated. The story of Giacomo Casanova's imprisonment in, and famous escape from, the palace's prisons is the tour highlight (though a few of the less-inspired guides harp on this aspect a bit too much). I strongly recommend you reserve in advance, by phone if possible -- tours are often sold out at least a few days ahead, especially from spring through fall -- or in person at the ticket desk. Tours are at 10:30am Thursday through Tuesday (by reservation only), and cost 13€ ($16) for adults, 7€ ($8.75) for students, and 4€ ($5) for children 6 to 14.
Location: Riva degli Schiavoni, San Marco
Square San Marco. (041) 522-4951
Tel: (041) 271 5911.
Transport: Vaporetto 1, 6, 14, 41, 42, 51, 52 or 82.
Opening hours: Daily 0900-1900 (Apr-Oct) and 0900-1700 (Nov-Mar).
Admission: €11 or €15.50 (only Museum Card or Museum Pass holders are admitted).Admission on San Marco cumulative ticket) or 11€ ($14) adults, 5.50€ ($7) students ages 15-29, 3€ ($3.75) ages 6-14 (includes cumulative ticket, free for children younger than 5)

IV01 City: Venice
Name of Attraction: Peggy Guggenheim Collection

Details: Peggy Guggenheim’s collection of modern art is probably the most distinguished in Italy. The wealthy American heiress (a generous benefactor who helped promote Jackson Pollock amongst others) built up her collection between 1938 and 1947. Following the exhibition of the collection at the 1948 Venice Biennale, she bought the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, where she lived until her death in 1979, leaving her estate to the Solomon Guggenheim Foundation. The collection spans Cubism, European Abstraction, Surrealism and early American Abstract Expressionism, with works by a wide variety of artists, including Pollock, Picasso, Kandinsky and Dalí. The sculpture garden is particularly fine and enjoys lovely views over the Grand Canal.
Location: Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, Dorsoduro
Tel: (041) 240 5411. Fax: (041) 520 6885.
Transport: Vaporetto 1 or 82 from Piazza San Marco.
Opening hours: Wed-Sun 1000-1800, closed Tue.
Admission: €10.

IV21 City: Venice
Name of Attraction: Piazza San Marco


IV02 City: Venice
Name of Attraction: Rialto Bridge

Details: Venice is historically centred on Rialto Island, the name of which is derived from the Latin rivus altus, meaning high bank. In the 10th century, a provisions market developed spontaneously on the adjacent island and so, in 1264, the first wooden bridge linking the two landmasses was built. This wooden bridge collapsed in 1444, from the weight of crowds watching a wedding procession. It was replaced in 1588, by Antonio da Ponte’s design for the single stone arched bridge, which beat off proposals by Palladio and Michelangelo. Da Ponte’s bridge retained the covered shops of the original – today the haunt of tacky tourist traps and hawk-eyed goldsmiths but once home to Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. Visitors may note how the bridge crosses the Grand Canal at an angle, in order to align with the axis of the Ruga degli Orefici (Goldsmiths’ Road). Until 1854, this was the only point at which the Grand Canal could be crossed on foot. If visiting during the day, make sure to return when it is dark, or even better misty as well, when the bridge really takes on an otherworldly atmosphere.
Location: Ponte di Rialto, near Piazzale Roma
Transport: Vaporetto 1 or 82.
Opening hours: Daily 24 hours.
Admission: Free.

IV15 City: Venice
Name of Attraction: Santa Maria Gloriosa Dei Frari

Details: Completed in the 1400s after more than a century of labor, this Gothic brick church houses Giovanni Bellini’s 1488 triptych Madonna and Child with Saints, among other treasured works including Titian’s Madonna di Ca’ Pesaro, which took nearly a decade to complete.
Location: Campo del Frari. (041) 272-8618

IV16 City: Venice
Name of Attraction: Scuola Dalmata di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni (Dalmation School of St George the Slav)

Details: During the Middle Ages, the large Dalmatian (Schiavoni means ‘Slav’) population in Venice provided labourers for building ships in the arsenal and sailors for the Venetian fleets. Forming a charitable guild in 1451, they moved their seat to the School of St George in 1480, under the patronage of the Knights of Malta. Vittore Carpaccio, himself of Istrian origin, painted a series of celebrated and brilliantly imaginative canvases, between 1502 and 1508. Located in a dark hall on the ground floor since 1551, the canvases depict scenes from the lives of the guild’s patron saints – St George, St Tryphone and St Jerome. Based on tales from The Golden Legend, the images depict St George killing the dragon, St Jerome welcoming the lion into the monastery, the funeral of St Jerome and the revelation of the death of St Jerome to St Augustine. Carpaccio’s canvases demand attention through a combination of drama and extraordinary detail. The canal-side wall, complete with its relief of George slaying the dragon, is in a dire state, but finally work is underway to shore it up, as well as to stabilise the rest of the exterior.
Location: Calle dei Furlani 3259/a, Castello
Tel: (041) 522 8828. Fax: (041) 520 8446.
Transport: Vaporetto 1 or 52 to San Zaccaria.
Opening: Tues-Sat 0930-1230 and 1530-1830, Sun 0930-1230 (Apr-Oct), Tues-Sat 1000-1230 and 1500-1800, Sun 1000-1230 (Nov-Mar).
Admission: €2.50.

IV17 City: Venice
Name of Attraction: Scuola Grande di San Rocco (School of St Roch)

Details: The renown of the School of St Roch, one of the many lay fraternities established in Venice for charitable works, is the series of masterful canvases by Jacopo Tintoretto that decorate its interior. Founded in 1478, the school was dedicated to St Roch, following a particularly vicious outbreak of plague. Tintoretto won the commission to decorate the entire Scuola in 1564 and spent the next 23 years doing so, becoming a brother of the school. The ground floor holds a series of large canvasses depicting scenes from the Life of the Virgin (1582-1587). In the upper hall, connected by Scarpagnino’s staircase, are representations from the Old Testament on the ceiling and New Testament on the walls (1570-1581). The art critic and famous Victorian thinker, John Ruskin, reserved his greatest praise for the Sala dell’Albergo (1564-1567), where the chapter met. On entering the room, the visitor is confronted with the stunning expanse of Tintoretto’s Crucifixion along the breadth of the opposite wall, one of the world’s great works of art. Tintoretto manages to capture the painterly equivalent of tempo, rendering the darkened landscape busy with vignettes of activity while the divine halo around Christ’s head, his face partly hidden as his head bows in death, dimly illuminates the scene. Visitors attending one of the cultural events in the building can nip through during the interval for a free peek at the master’s work.
Location: Campo San Rocco, San Polo 3054
Tel: (041) 523 4864. Fax (041) 524 2820.
Transport: Vaporetto 1 or 82 to San Tomà.
Opening hours: Daily 1000-1600.
Admission: €5.

IV27 City: Venice
Name of Attraction: Squero di San Trovaso

Details: One of the most interesting (and photographed) sights you'll see in Venice is this small squero (boatyard), which first opened in the 17th century. Just north of the Zattere (the wide, sunny walkway that runs alongside the Giudecca Canal in Dorsoduro), the boatyard lies next to the Church of San Trovaso on the narrow Rio San Trovaso (not far from the Accademia Bridge). It is surrounded by Tyrolian-looking wooden structures (a true rarity in this city of stone built on water) that are home to the multigenerational owners and original workshops for traditional Venetian boats. Aware that they have become a tourist site themselves, the gondoliers don't mind if you watch them at work from across the narrow Rio di San Trovaso, but don't try to invite yourself in. It's the perfect midway photo op after a visit to the Gallerie dell'Accademia and a trip to the well-known gelateria, Da Nico (Zattere 922), whose chocolate gianduiotto is not to be missed.
The Art of the Gondola--Putting together one of the sleek black boats is a fascinatingly exact science that is still done in the revered traditional manner at boatyards such as the Squero di San Trovaso . The boats have been painted black since a 16th-century sumptuary law -- one of many passed by the local legislators as excess and extravagance spiraled out of control. Whether regarding boats or baubles, laws were passed to restrict the gaudy outlandishness that, at the time, was commonly used to outdo the Joneses.
Propelled by the strength of a single gondoliere, these boats, unique to Venice, have no modern equipment. They move with no great speed but with unrivaled grace. The right side of the gondola is lower because the gondoliere always stands in the back of the boat on the left. Although the San Trovaso squero, or boatyard, is the city's oldest and one of only three remaining (the other two are immeasurably more difficult to find), its predominant focus is on maintenance and repair. They will occasionally build a new gondola (which takes some 40-45 working days), carefully crafting it from the seven types of wood -- mahogany, cherry, fir, walnut, oak, elm, and lime -- necessary to give the shallow and asymmetrical boat its various characteristics. After all the pieces are put together, the painting, the ferro (the iron symbol of the city affixed to the bow), and the wood-carving that secures the oar are commissioned out to various local artisans.
Although some 10,000 of these elegant boats floated on the canals of Venice in the 16th century, today there are only 350. But the job of gondoliere remains a coveted profession, passed down from father to son over the centuries.
Location: On the Rio San Trovaso, southwest of the Accademia Gallery
Vaporetto: Zattere

IV18 City: Venice
Name of Attraction: St. Mark’s Square

Details: Rather than being a strict rectangle, St. Mark’s Square is wider at the basilica end. The long arcaded Procuratie Vecchie was built in the early 16th century for magistrates of San Marco, and the Procuratie Nuove was built a half century later. Napoleon, upon entering Venice with troops in 1797, called Piazza San Marco the “world’s most beautiful drawing room.” He then ordered it redecorated, and his architects razed a 16th century church to make room for the Napoleonic wing. St. Mark’s Square’s several cafes are excellent for taking tea while enjoying live music as sunlight moves across the piazza.
Location: Square San Marco. (041) 522-5697

IV19 City: Venice
Name of Attraction: The Lido

Details: While the fashionable set still checks into area hotels such as the Hotel des Bains and The Excelsior, this beach strip area has become quite touristy. Sands are inviting, but waters are too polluted for swimming. On the Lido is one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in Europe, established in 1386 with a surviving gravestone from 1389.
Location: Visits can be arranged by calling (041) 715-359

IV20 City: Venice
Name of Attraction: Torcello

Details: Torcello appears almost deserted and it is difficult to believe that, between the seventh and 13th centuries, it was home to a thriving community of 30,000 who prospered from the wool and salt trade. The town’s decline began in the 14th century, when silt from the rivers turned the waterways around the island into swampland and brought malaria to the community. A visit to this ghost town provides a fascinating glimpse into the early beginnings and architecture of the Venetian lagoons. The main square can be reached by crossing the Devil’s Bridge, the only medieval bridge remaining in Venice, allegedly built by the devil in a single night. The austere façade of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, linked by a portico to the Church of Santa Fosca and the Baptistery, conceals lavish mosaic wall coverings. Founded in the seventh century and rebuilt in the ninth and 11th, the complex pre-dates St Mark’s Basilica by two centuries. In the central apse, there is a beautiful representation of the Virgin and the Mystic Lamb, inspired by works in Ravenna. The most magnificent mosaic is on the wall over the main door and is an enormous composition depicting Christ and the final judgement. Torcello also has its own provincial museum, Museo Provinciale Di Torcello, dedicated to the island’s history and evolution with exhibits from different eras including Roman and early-Veneto times.
Location: Torcello Island
Museo Provinciale Di Torcello Piazza Torcello, 30012 Torcello
Tel: (041) 730 761. Fax: (041) 730 875.
Transport: Vaporetto 41 and 42 or ACTV 12 or 14 from Fondamente Nuove and Punta Sabbioni. Transport: Vaporetto 41 and 42 or ACTV 12 or 14 from Fondamente Nuove and Punta Sabbioni. Opening hours: Tue-Sun 1000-1200 and 1430-1730 (Apr-Oct) and 1030-1200 and 1430-1600 (Nov-Mar)
Admission: €3.

IV22 City: Venice
Name of Attraction: Vaporetto ride up Canal Grande

Details: A leisurely cruise along the "Canalazzo" from Piazza San Marco to the Ferrovia (train station), or the reverse, is one of Venice's (and life's) must-do experiences. Hop on the no. 1 vaporetto in the late afternoon (try to get one of the coveted outdoor seats in the prow), when the weather-worn colors of the former homes of Venice's merchant elite are warmed by the soft light and reflected in the canal's rippling waters, and the busy traffic of delivery boats, vaporetti, and gondolas that fills the city's main thoroughfare has eased somewhat. The sheer number and opulence of the 200-odd palazzi, churches, and imposing republican buildings dating from the 14th to the 18th centuries is enough to make any boat-going visitor's head swim. Many of the largest are now converted into imposing international banks, government or university buildings, art galleries, and dignified consulates.
Location: 2 most popular stations located at Piazzale Roma/Ferrovia (train station); and at Piazza San Marco
Vaporetto: 1
Tickets 3.50€ ($4.40)

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