Venice Off The Beaten Path Tips by Zvrlj Top 5 Page for this destination
Venice Off The Beaten Path: 705 reviews and 1,204 photos
Palazzo Zenobio, view from the courtyard garden
Palazzo Zenobio is one of the most beautiful edifices of Venetian late Baroque style. It was designed by Antonio Gaspari, Venetian architect, Longhena's pupil, and built in the last decade of the 17th century. The palace has large and very nice courtyard garden.
The highlight of the Palazzo Zenobio interior is the ballroom also called the Hall of Mirrors. It is behind the balcony of the main facade and it extends over the two floors. Central fresco of marvellous ceiling decoration – "Celebration of the Myth of Apollo" painted by the Frenchman Louis Dorigny depicts Aurora and the chariot of Apollo.
Palazzo Zenobio houses the Collegio Armeno – Armenian College "Moorat Raphael" since 1850. Part of the palace is a hostel. Palazzo Zenobio is used for Biennale exhibitions, which offered us opportunity in sumer of 2007 to explore it, and to see several exhibitions as well.
Palazzo Zenobio is located in Dorsoduro, on the Fondamenta del Soccorso, very near Church of Santa Maria del Carmelo or Dei Carmini.
San Giovanni in Bragora
According to legend, San Giovanni in Bragora was one of the seven original churches on the islands of Venice. Dedicated to St John the Baptist, the church had been founded at the beginning of the 8th century by St Magnus, the Bishop of Oderzo. It was restored in the 9th and the 12th centuries and rebuilt in 1475 in the Gothic style. Its brick facade is divided vertically by pilasters that mark the internal division of the church into nave and side aisles. Addition to its name is probably derived from the old dialectal word "bragolare", meaning the fishing trade, or from "bragola", meaning a market square, but another tradition states that the church took its name from the Greek "agora", which means simply "square".
The best known painting in this church is "Baptism of Christ", made by Cima da Conegliano. Among the others are "Washing of the Feet" by Jacopo di Antonio Negretti called Palma Giovane, "Virgin and Child with St John the Baptist and St Andrew" by Bartolomeo Vivarini, "Resurrection" by Alvise Vivarini…
Antonio Vivaldi, famous Venetian composer and violinist, and Pietro Barbo, later to be Pope Paul II were baptized in Church San Giovanni in Bragora.
San Giovanni in Bragora is located in Castello area on Campo Bandiera e Moro or De la Bragora, by Riva degli Schavioni.
Santa Maria Formosa – mysterious & monstrous head
Santa Maria Formosa is not off the beaten path at all, it is church, built in 15th and 16th century, on the square of the same name, and square & church are among the most visited tourist locations for the two reasons: their beauty and their position – approximately on the half way from San Marco square to San Giovanni e Paolo square. But what is often missed is the mysterious and monstrous head on the bell tower, on its side opposite of the church portal.
We couldn’t find out anything more about it for quite a some time, but Ingrid (VT Trekki) has managed to do that. Here is the quotation from The Stones of Venice by John Ruskin about the subject of this tip – "A head, huge, inhuman and monstrous, leering in bestial degradation, too foul to be either pictured or described, or to be beheld for more than an instant; yet let it be endured for that instant; for in that head is embodied the type of evil spirit to which Venice was abandoned in the fourth period of her decline; and it is well that we should see and feel the full horror of it on this spot, and know what pestilence it was that came and breathed upon her beauty; until it melted away like the white cloud from the ancient field of Santa Maria Formosa."
San Giacomo dall'Orio
San Giacomo dall'Orio in Santa Croce area is one of the oldest Venetian churches. The original foundation of the building seems to date from the 9th century but the church was completely rebuilt in 1225. The churh was restored and modified in the 14th and the 15th centuries, the major renovation was undertaken in 1532 and the of Chapel of the Holy Sacrament was built in 1549. The origin of the name of the church is unknown. Possibilities include being named after a laurel – "lauro" that once stood nearby, a version of "dal Rio" – "of the river", or once standing on an area of dried-up swamp – "luprio".
Exterior of the San Giacomo dall'Orio is very austere, excluding, perhaps, square-plan bell tower built in the 13th century. The interior is beautiful, with quite unique, archaic atmosphere. Wooden keel roof with decorated wooden beams, built in late 14th or early 15th century and recently renovated, looks spectacularly.
San Giacomo dall'Orio treasures several paintings by Jacopo di Antonio Negretti called Palma Giovane considered to be the greatest of his achievements – "Passover", "Virgin and Child with Saints", "St Lawrence Giving the Wealth to the Poor", "The Martyrdom of St Lawrence"… Among the other paintings are "Virgin and Child with Saints" by Lorenzo Lotto, Veronese's "Doctors of the Church" and "Faith and the Holy Spirit"…
Although located on the square of the same name, one of the most beautiful Venetian squares – Campo San Giacomo dall'Orio, the church main facade and the portal face tiny Campiello del Piovan.
San Pietro di Castello
Church San Pietro di Castello is on the island San Pietro di Castello – isolated and peaceful part of Venice. There were church at the same place since 7th century, first dedicated to SS. Sergio and Bacco, and then it seems that it was rebuilt by Bishop Magnus in honour of St Peter, and, in honour of the island, it was named San Pietro di Castello. San Pietro di Castello was the he Cathedral of Venice until 1807, when the title passed to St Mark's. After several reconstructions, it was "redesigned" by Andrea Palladio in the 16th century. Paintings in this church are made by Marco Basaiti ("St Peter Enthroned and Four Saints"), Luca Giordano ("Virgin and Child with Souls in Purgatory"), Tizian, Paolo Caliari Veronese, Alessandro Varotari Padovanino…
There is so-called Throne of St Peter, presented to the Doge by Byzantine Emperor Michael III, in San Pietro di Castello. This throne, according to legend, was used by St Peter during his apostolic mission to Antioch of which he was the first bishop. Throne of St Peter plays an important role in Corto Maltese’s adventure in Venice.
San Pietro di Castelo church is on the east side of Venice, and it can be reached by vaporetto ("San Pietro" station), or walking about 10 minutes north-east from Giardini.
Palazzo Soranzo Van Axel, view from C. d. Erbe
Palazzo Soranzo Van Axel is one of Venice's the nicest and the best preserved Gothic houses. It was built in late 15th century on the site of an earlier building in Veneto-Byzantine style. It is claimed that the wooden door and the metal knocker date from the 15th century as well. Gothic forms of the palace are evidence of the conservativeness of Venetian architecture, slow to embrace the new Renaissance style, already common in other parts of Italy.
Originally built for the Gradenigo family, the palace was bought in 1473 by Nicolo Soranzo, the Procurator of St Mark's, whose family lived there for almost two centuries. In the 16th and 17th centuries, it was owned by the Venier and Sanudo families until 1627 or 1628, when it was bought by the Van Axel family, wealthy textile merchants from Ghent. It remained the Van Axels' family home until 1920, when the antiquarian Conte Dino Barozzi bought and restored it, filling the house with magnificent, mainly 15th century, furniture and paintings. It has been the home of Marsoni family since the mid-1950s. A few years ago it was probably the best known building in Venice – for sale. The price was 11.000.000 £. Is it sold? At the time we have been writing this tip, in December of 2007 – we did not have a slightest idea about that. But Ingrid (VT Trekki), in 2009 update of her tip about Palazzo Sorrano-Van Axel gives the answer – the palace has been sold!
Palazzo Soranzo Van Axel housed Mexican national presentation at 52nd Biennale in 2007 and we grabbed that opportunity to see the exterior of the palace.
Palazzo Soranzo Van Axel is located in Cannaregio, on Fondamenta Sanudo. The back side of the palace is by Santa Maria dei Miracoli Church, on its east side. Another well known tourist spot nearby is Campo San Zanipolo – the shortest way from that square to the palace is via Calle delle Erbe.
Convent of Santa Apollonia
Convent of Santa Apollonia, now Museo Diocesano d’Arte Sacra – Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art, is one of Venice "hidden treasures" – hidden although it is located just behind Basilica di San Marco. This cloister, with double columns on longer sides and single columns on the shorter, was built in 12th and 13th century.
Museum treasures the collection of paintings which includes the works of Jacopo Robusti called Tintoretto, Jacopo Palma il Giovane, Gregorio Lazzarini, Luca Giordano… But the highlight of the Museo Diocesano collections are excellent examples of wooden sculpture, from the 14th through 16th centuries, among them – the Altarpiece of Saint Donato, from the Church of San Donato in Murano, attributed to Paolo Veneziano.
The museum organizes temporary exhibitions, and in July of 2007 we have seen the excellent exhibition Officina Durer – Durer Workshop, which presented some of the most famous prints by Albrecht Durer.
Phone: + (0) 41 / 2771702
"[…] In 1576 Doge Alvise Mocenigo invoked the end of the epidemic and the salvation of the city by constructing a votive temple 'which successors will go and visit, in perpetual memory of the grace received'. The first stone of the new shrine was laid in May 1577, and on the third Sunday in July of the same year Doge Sebastiano Venier proclaimed Venice free of contagion and asked Andrea Paladio to design the church which was completed in 1593. […]"
Santissimo Redentore – Church of the Most Holy Redeemer stands on the Giudecca island, on the waterfront of Canale della Giudecca. It is Andrea Paladio's masterpiece, although his first intention – to build a round church inspired by the Pantheon in Rome was not accepted, but his back-up plan based on elongated Latin cross and massive dome. Palladio did not live to see the church finished. His work, in accordance with his plans, was completed by architect Antonio Da Ponte. Facade of the church is typical Palladian – elegant and white, of a classical calm. Wide staircase of fifteen steps, which is reference to the Temple of Jerusalem, match the diameter of the dome. Above the center of tympanum stands the statue of Christ the Redeemer.
Santissimo Redentore interior is spacious and bright. There can be seen some very noticeable artworks – Alvise Vivarini's "Virgin Adoring the Sleeping Child", "Baptism of Christ", painted by Paolo Cagliari called Veronese, "David and Achimelech" by Jacopo di Antonio Negretti called Palma Giovane… But the most impressive is beautiful, turbulent "Resurrection of Christ", masterpiece of Francesco Bassano.
In the church are wax portraits of the monastery abbots displayed under glass bell jars. Unfortunately we have heard about them to late and we have not seen them. It is the task for the future time.
Santissimo Redentore is the venue of the traditional Festa del Redentore – Festival of the Redeemer, annual celebration of the end of the plague that struck Venice in the 16th century.
Santissimo Redentore is visible from Piazzeta San Marco and it can be reached by vaporetto, "Redentore" station, starting from "San Zacaria Danieli" station.
Campo Bandiera e Moro or De la Bragora
Campo Bandiera e Moro or De la Bragora, dominated by San Giovanni in Bragora church, probably used to be fish market square. It is located by Riva degli Schavioni, very near Santa Maria della Pieta Church, in Castello area.
The square was named after Italian patriots brothers Attilio and Emilio Bandiera and their companion Domenico Moro. After being betrayed they were executed by firing squad of Bourbon Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in 1844. It is claimed that they cried "Viva l’Italia!", as they fell. The news on martyrdom of the Bandiera brothers and Domenico Moro quickly spread all over Italy and the moral effect of their heroic act was enormous. The remains of the brothers Bandiera and Domenico Moro were brought back to Venice on June 18, 1867, following the liberation of that city after the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 and buried in Basilica di Santi Giovanni e Paolo.
There are neither cafes nor restaurants on Bandiera e Moro square but it is not peaceful and quiet as some other off the beaten path squares – many locals spend time there, children play football… Never the less, it could be good escape from the usual Venice crowd.
Scala del Bovolo
Scala del Bovolo literally translated means "snail-shell stairway". The marvelous open stairway is the reason for the Contarini family palace to be called Palazzo Contarini dal Bovolo. The palace itself, designed by Giovanni Candi, was built in 15th and 16th centuries and it is mostly Gothic in style. However, the stairway tower designed probably by Giorgio Spavento is fully Renaissance work.
Scala del Bovolo is in the hidden back yard of the palace – Corte Contarini del Bovolo. It is in San Marco area, very near Piazza San Marco but it is not easy to find it in the labyrinth of narrow streets. The best way to get there is to follow the signs from Campo Manin.
In 2007 the stairway was closed due to the restoration works, but it could still be admired from outside, and even that is well worth of effort of finding it.
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