We hope that you are enjoying our series of articles and guest articles on Italian tourist attractions, covering the entire country except for its major cities. In a sense we have left the best for last. We will describe what to see in Italy’s great cities neighborhood by neighborhood. You may not realize it, but Venice is divided into 8 districts. And each and every one of these districts boasts its own sightseeing attractions. If you have time, visit them all. In any case, read these articles to help plan your trip to this unique city. You may be in for some real surprises.
The Cannaregio area district or, as they say in Venice, sestiere, forms the north central section of this city. A major attraction is the Museum of “Cà d’Oro”, built in the early Fifteenth Century. This beautiful Gothic palace on the Grand Canal was originally covered with gold leaf. The palace roof and sinuous pointed arches show Moorish influence. This edifice is now a museum featuring Titian and Tintoretto, as well as Gothic and Renaissance furniture. You should see this building at night when its facade is illuminated and reflected in the water below.
To the west along the Grand Canal is the Casinò of Venice, located in the late Fifteenth Century Palace of Ca' Vendramin Calergi. This is one of the world’s most beautiful gaming houses. It opened as a casino in 1638 and claims to be the world’s oldest casino. If you still have money to lose before leaving Venice, Italy’s first American style casino is located near the airport.
Another magnificent edifice is the Palazzo Labia, facing on the Cannaregio and the Grand Canals. This is one of the last great palaces of Venice, built in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. It seems that the Labia family were foreigners, coming from Spain, and may have felt the need to compensate for their lack of Venetian ancestors by showing their money. If you keep track of such things, the Palazzo’s new French owner held a masquerade ball on September 3, 1951, one of the social events of the century. It launched Pierre Cardin’s career. Christian Dior and Salvador Dali designed each other’s costumes. What do you do for an encore? This property was subsequently sold to Italian State Television, who put it up for sale. Just in case you want to make an offer, the Palazzo must be used in for cultural purposes. So I am out.
Of course this sestiere offers many beautiful, historic churches. The little Baroque Church of San Marziale was completely rebuilt in the late Seventeenth and early Eighteenth Centuries on its original medieval structure. Highlights include Rococò frescoes and a painting on the ceiling. The Fourteenth Century Church of Madonna dell’Orto was originally dedicated to St. Christopher, as seen in the sculpture above the entrance door. Its name changed when a statue of the Virgin found in a nearby orto (garden) was brought into the church and allegedly worked miracles. This was Tintoretto's parish church; it boasts several of his beautiful frescoes, and his tomb.And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Veneto or other Italian wines.
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his website www.travelitalytravel.com devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website www.theworldwidewine.com with weekly reviews of $10 wine and columns devoted to various aspects of wine including wine and food, humor, trivia, organic and kosher wine and lots more.
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