01/1986 - Italy, Venice – 1st part: the old town

Sestiere of San Marco, Sestiere of Cannaregio, Sestiere of Dorsoduro, Sestiere of San Polo, Sestiere of Santa Croce, Sestiere of Giudecca, Sestiere of Castello, Piazza San Marco, St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, Bridge of Sighs, “Piombi” (Venice famous prison), Basin of San Marco, Rialto Bridge, La Fenice theater, Goldoni theatre, ferry gondolas, Grand Canal, St. Sophia Ferry, Rialto Market, San Giorgio Church, Goldoni, Zattere, Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute (Saint Mary of the Health’s Basilica), the Giudecca Canal, Church of the Redeemer, Mulino Stucky Hilton Hotel, Mary’s House, “Casa dei tre oci” (House with three eyes), St. James Church, Church of the Frari, San Rocco Church, Church of Sant’ Aponal, Cannaregio Canal, Ghetto Nuovo, Cà d’Oro, Jesuit Church, Church of Miracles, St. Mark’s School, Liassidi Palace, Venice Arsenale, Campo San Giovanni e Paolo, Campo Santa Maria Formosa


I represent Venice with a series of photos, especially “old ones”, which date back more than twenty years ago (1986).

Photos that have suffered from the passing of the years, but allow to admire a Venice that no longer exists.

I start this series of photos of Venice showing its two most famous theatres : the Fenice Theatre and  Goldoni Theatre.

The ferry service allow the Venetians to cross the Grand Canal using the gondolas. One of the most characteristic ferry is the one in Santa Sofia which connects the Sestiere (neighborhood) of Cannaregio with the Rialto Market .

Sometimes in Venice a strong cold wind blows from northeast ( bora ) and often causes the phenomenon of high water , that is to say that the sea submerges the lowest parts of the city. So you have to move walking on catwalks and shopkeepers barricade the shops’ doors with watertight bulkheads. The bora wind blows impetuous and wedges among the narrow streets; to find shelter with umbrellas becomes a problem, especially for tourists, who are not used to and damage large quantities of umbrellas .

It is rare that snow falls in Venice.

It is fascinating to wander around during a snowfall because the city takes an almost unreal aspect.


In Venice, the neighborhoods are called Sestieri .

Let’s see them together, starting with the Sestiere of San Marco, which I have divided into four different galleries.

It is the part of the lagoon which faces Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square) and the Doge’s Palace.

In front there is the Island of San Giorgio, on the left the Lido of Venice, on the right two channels : the Giudecca Canal and the Grand Canal separated by the Customs-house point.

St Mark’s Square is the finest  place overlooked by  the old Procuratie and the new one, connected by the Napoleonic Wing. In front there is the amazing wonder of the Church of San Marco which has on the right the St Mark’s Bell tower and on the left the Clock Tower.

The Doge’s Palace is a building characterized by a great architectural beauty, embellished with a finely decorated terrace . The inner courtyard is enhanced by the famous staircase of the Giants.

I’ve highlighted some monuments such as the Scala Contarini, known as Scala del Bovolo (staircase of the snail), the Orseolo Basin, famous because it is a place where the gondolas stop and the starting point of the famous serenades. Passing the haberdashers’ shops , near Rialto Bridge, there is Campo San Bartolomio, a meeting point of the Venetians, in the middle of which there is a beautiful statue of Goldoni .

The Sestiere of Dorsoduro, on one side, faces the Grand Canal with the beautiful “Basilica della Salute” (Saint Mary of the Health’s Basilica), which was built to express Venetians’ gratitude  when the plague was defeated, while, on the other side, it faces the Giudecca Canal with the Fondamenta delle Zattere , perhaps the most beautiful bank of Venice.

The Sestiere of Giudecca, the only detached from Venice (it can be reached only by boat ) is represented with the Church of the Redeemer , the Mulino Stucky (Stucky windmill), a huge construction of Nordic type (recently restored and converted into a hotel for the Hilton chain) and the Mary’s House, Venetians used to call it “la casa dei tre oci” (the house of three eyes ) .

We continue along the Sestiere of San Polo in which there are beautiful monuments, in addition to the characteristic Rialto Market . We can visit the Church of San Rocco that hosts important paintings by Tintoretto. Outside you find San Rocco School with numerous paintings by Tintoretto. Going ahead, on the left, there is the Church of the Frari, which is considered the ” Santa Croce ” of  Venice for the presence of several tombs of famous persons, as Canova. Countless works of art are exhibited, all of famous artists, such as: Vivarini , Titian , Bellini, Donatello, Sansovino.

The Church of Sant’Aponal is only visible externally, while the Church of St. James is considered the oldest in Venice .

Rialto Market is famous to be the fish market where, even today, are visible license plates, which date back to the Republic of Venice , stating the rules for the sale of fish . But the market has also a section dedicated  to fruits and vegetables mostly grown in the gardens of the Island of St. Erasmus .

The Cannaregio Canal is a channel that splits the homonymous Sestiere in two parts; on one side there is the train station and, on the other, the New Ghetto”, an area dedicated to ​the Venice Jew district.

Further on, the church of the Jesuits with its impressive Baroque façade (it is a pity there is not enough space to take pictures and admire its full splendor ) has a very rich interior both for important marble sculptures and for magnificent paintings by Titian, Tintoretto and Palma il Giovane .

Finally, the small but important Church of Miracles with its polychrome marbles.

On Campo San Giovanni e Paolo we find the homonymous imposing Church, St. Mark’s School, nowadays the Hospital of Venice, and the equestrian statue of Colleoni, “venture Captain”, a Verrocchio’s work. The statue contends the world record for the most beautiful equestrian statue in the world with that of Gattamelata located in Padova, a Donatello’s work. We cross Campo Santa Maria Formosa and get to the Bridge of the Greeks with the beautiful Palazzo Liassidi, which is now an Hotel. The Sestiere of Castello  houses the famous Venetian Arsenal .

It is an immense building where the Venetians  built the vessels of their powerful fleet, both merchant and  war ships, which for several centuries made the fortune and the magnitude of Venice.

There is no better way to end this first part of Venice presentation than to travel the Grand Canal admiring some of the best monuments which face it: Rialto Bridge , Cà d’ Oro (golden house), Palazzo Foscari , Ca ‘Pesaro , etc. .