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 Santa Lucia district, or sestiere in the local vernacular, hosts the Venice Railway Station of Santa Lucia, the only rail access to the city. Don’t confuse it with Venice Mestre station on the mainland. The Santa Lucia station is right on the Grand Canal, so you can start your tour immediately. Why not go next door to the Church of Santa Maria di Nazareth, as known as the Scalzi in honor of the barefooted friars for whom this church was built in the mid-Seventeenth Century? It contains a fresco by Tiepolo featuring The Translation of the Holy House to Loreto that was virtually destroyed during World War One. To the northwest is the Fifteenth Century Church of San Giobbe. This is one of Venice’s five votive churches, built to temper the divine punishment of the plagues ravaging Europe.
In the eastern part of the district, along the Grand Canal, lies the Ninth-Tenth Century Church of San Marcuola, famous for housing the right hand of John the Baptist - the one with which he'd baptized Christ. The church was rebuilt starting in the 1660s and continuing for several generations. The painting on the ceiling is upside down; you have to stand with your back to the altar. It also contains a Last Supper by Tintoretto. The Eleventh Century Church of Saint Geremia housed what was said to be the arm of Saint Bartholomew. One of its famous priests was accused of heresy and drowned with a stone around his neck in the mid-Sixteenth Century. Of its marble facades one was damaged by fire due to Austrian bombardment in 1849. The other was attacked by an arsonist in 1999 and is still being repaired.
The word ghetto originally referred to a small region in northwestern Venice in which the city’s Jews were forced to live according to a Serenissima Repubblica law passed on March 29, 1516. This was the first Ghetto in Europe. While the area is no longer home to most of Venice’s Jews it has Europe’s largest concentration of Renaissance-era synagogues, and other Jewish institutions. You might visit the Antico Cimitero Ebraico (Ancient Jewish Cemetery).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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