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 San Polo district or, as they say in Venice, sestiere, lies in the center of Venice. A major neighborhood feature is the Church of San Polo, which dates back to the Ninth Century but was completely rebuilt during the Fifteenth Century. Make sure to take a good look at its Gothic portal and the lions located at the foot of Campanile (Bell Tower) whose paws aren’t empty. The Campo San Polo is Venice’s second largest square and used to host bull races, fairs, and military parades. Summer nights it hosts an outdoor cinema. (No, it’s not a drive-in).
The Ponte di Rialto is Venice’s most famous bridge and was once the only way to cross the Canal Grande. It was built from the mid to the late Sixteenth Century, replacing a Twelfth Century bridge. This bridge boasts a wide variety of shops, and of course a great view. The Church of San Giacomo di Rialto is Venice’s oldest church, said to date from 421. Nearby is the Mercati di Rialto, a market featuring fresh fish. Get there early.
Head northwest along the Grand Canal to Cŕ Pesaro, a baroque palace that now hosts the Galleria Internazionale d’Arte Moderna and the smaller Museo Orientale. The Modern Art Museum features works by Chagall, Kandinsky, Klee, Klimt, Matisse, and Miró. You are a hop, skip, and a jump from the Church of San Stae, built in the early Eleventh Century and reconstructed in the Seventeenth Century, just brimming with art works. The nearby Eighteenth Century Palazzo Mocenigo hosted an bigwig family, which generously provided seven doges to the Venetian Republic. Talk about civic duty. It is now a small museum exhibiting textiles, books, furniture, and costumed figurines in period clothing.
The Fondaco dei Turchi (Turkish Warehouse) dates back to the early Thirteenth Century. When centuries later it was rented to Ottoman merchants as their main business locale, the palace acquired its present name. For a time this building was in effect a ghetto for the local Turkish population. It is now a museum focusing on the natural history of the Venetian Lagoon.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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