Traditional Venice

Traditional Venice


Our cruise ship departs Venice at XNUMXpm for a cruise through the Mediterranean Sea. The day before we landed at Venice's Marco Polo airport, checked into our hotel and then went for a little stroll through the historic center of Venice, eating something along the way.

We know from experience that it is pointless to go to Venice's Cruise Terminal in the morning of the day of departure, as the ship is not yet ready for check-in. Instead of driving to the cruise terminal, you might want to revisit one or two of Venice's traditional historic districts. We store our luggage in the left luggage office. The "Deposito Bagagli" can be found in Piazzale Roma right next to the station of the "People Mover" going to the cruise terminal. After our tour, we use the People Mover, the modern, efficient monorail, to get to the berth of our cruise ship.

People mover city at Piazzale Roma


People mover city at Piazzale Roma


Venice - Bridge of the People Mover


Venice - Bridge of the People Mover 


We visit the Church of Santa Maria della Salute in the Dorsoduro sestiere

On our tour of Venice's old town today, we are not in the mood for St. Mark's Basilica, the Doge's Palace, the Lido or the island of Murano with its glass workshops. Rather, we are thinking of a stroll through Venice's quiet districts, which are avoided by tourists. Our goal is the Basilica Santa Maria della Salute.

Venice - Basilica Santa Maria della Salute

Venice - Basilica Santa Maria della Salute


To get there we will cross the historic districts of Santa Croce and Dorsoduro. The "old" Venice consists of six quarters called "sestiere". Santa Croce and Dorsoduro are not among the top destinations in the tourist metropolis. In both sestieri, visitors experience authentic Venice. All we need for this trail is a city map or a mobile phone with Google Maps. In the kiosks at the Piazzale Roma you can buy cheap maps of the city.

Our first targets - a bridge and two churches

Many paths lead to the Basilica Santa Maria della Salute. We decide against the direct route and for a detour that first leads along the Canal Grande. Coming from Piazzale Roma we go to the Ponte della Costituzione, the "Bridge of the Constitution". The pedestrian bridge designed by the Spanish star architect Santiago Calatrava is one of four bridges crossing the Grand Canal. We know of several bridge structures designed by Calatrava. The Venetian bridge is unspectacular compared to others.

Venice - Piazzale Roma


Venice - Piazzale Roma


Venice - Ponte della Costituzione


Venice - Ponte della Costituzione 


After changing to the other side of the Canal Grande to the Fondamenta Santa Lucia, we pass the Santa Lucia terminal station. At the level of the church of Santa Maria di Nazareth (Scalzi), we cross the Canal Grande again using the Ponte degli Scalzi.

Venice - Vaporetti in front of the Santa Lucia train station


Venice - Vaporetti in front of the Santa Lucia train station


Venice - Ponte degli Scalzi


Venice - Ponte degli Scalzi 


From the bridge enjoy the view of another place of worship: the Church of San Simeone Piccolo. The church, built in the 18th century in the classical style, impresses with its clear lines and its circular floor plan. The portico is an eye-catcher. It consists of four columns at the front and supports at the sides and a triangular pediment.

Venice - Grand Canal with San Simeone Piccolo

Venice - Grand Canal with San Simeone Piccolo


From San Simeone Piccolo we follow the Fondamenta San Simeone Piccolo, the Fondamenta della Croce and the Fondamenta Tolentini along the Grand Canal until we reach the monastery church of San Nicola da Tolentino. This church was built at the end of the 16th century. The porch with the Greek-style temple gable was added at the beginning of the 18th century.

Venice - Church of San Nicola da Tolentino


Venice - Church of San Nicola da Tolentino


Venice - Temple pediment of San Nicola da Tolentino


Venice - Temple pediment of San Nicola da Tolentino 


Welcome to the Dorsoduro district

We are now in the Dorsoduro sestiere. The old town district is located between the Canale della Giudecca, which will be frequented by the large cruise ships until the end of 2021, and the Canal Grande. Venetians describe this district as a good place to live. There are remarkable churches and secular buildings on our way. While crowds of people form at St. Mark's Square, Dorsoduro is peaceful. Here we find "mom and pop shops", bakeries with reasonable prices and at the Ponte dei Pugni the fruit and vegetable vendor who sells his goods directly from the boat.

Venice - Dorsoduro's sea of ​​houses


Venice - Dorsoduro's sea of ​​houses


Venice - fruit and vegetables straight from the boat


Venice - fruit and vegetables straight from the boat 


The next milestone is the Campo San Barnaba. Next to it is the church of the same name, dedicated to the apostle Saint Barnabas. In the church, which was secularized under Napoleonic rule, works of art by well-known artists and the inventions of the universal genius Leonardo da Vinci are permanently on display.

Venice - Campo San Barnaba

Venice - Campo San Barnaba


Our path leads us again to the Canal Grande and there to the Accademia Bridge. In the immediate vicinity is the Gallerie dell'Accademia, which is dedicated to the works of famous Italian masters such as Bellini, Giorgione and Titian. On the opposite side of the canal we see the splendid Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti built in Gothic style. It dates from the 16th century; in the 19th century it was renovated in the neo-Gothic style. The palazzo is one of the two locations of the scientific and cultural institution Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti.

Venice - Accademia Bridge on Grand Canal


Venice - Accademia Bridge on Grand Canal


Venice - Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti


Venice - Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti 


Also noteworthy is the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni. It most recently belonged to the American art collector Peggy Guggenheim. The daughter of the eccentric founder of New York's Guggenheim Museum lived in the palazzo for 30 years. There she collected paintings and sculptures by European and American artists from the first half of the 20th century. In the Collezione Peggy Guggenheim, just 200 works from her much larger collection are on display. Her dogs and cats are buried in the palace garden. – Art obviously has an attractive and stimulating effect. Small galleries are clustered around the Collezione Peggy Guggenheim.

Venice - Palazzo Venier dei Leoni

Venice - Palazzo Venier dei Leoni


We reach the Campo della Salute

Shortly after the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni we see the Traghetto station, from where we could take the gondola across the Grand Canal to the San Marco district for a small fee. We renounce this special pleasure; our goal, the Campo della Salute with the overwhelming Santa Maria della Salute is within reach.

Venice - Santa Maria della Salute


Venice - Santa Maria della Salute


Venice - Santa Maria della Salute


Venice - Santa Maria della Salute 


The octagonal baroque church with the huge dome is a votive church. It was built on a vow. – In 1630 the plague raged in Venice. A third of the Venetian population died as a result of the epidemic. In those bleak times, the reigning Doge resorted to the last resort: He vowed to donate a church to the Madonna in a prominent position opposite the Doge's Palace. That obviously helped. The epidemic stopped and a monumental church was built. In 1921 the Pope gave her the honorary title of "Basilica minor".

Santa Maria della Salute - details
Santa Maria della Salute - Nave
Santa Maria della Salute - Chandelier
Santa Maria della Salute - architectural details


Where the Canal Grande and the Canale della Giudecca meet in front of the church, there is another eye-catcher on the headland of the Dorsoduro district, the Punta della Dogana. The former guard and sea customs post houses a museum of modern art. The striking tower of the building is crowned by a golden sphere supported by two atlases.

Venice - Punta della Dogana


Venice - Punta della Dogana


Venice - Atlases of Punta della Dogana


Venice - Atlases of Punta della Dogana 


On the other side of the Grand Canal, diagonally opposite Punta della Dogana, are the Campanile, St. Mark's Basilica, the old Zecca Mint, the Libreria Sansoviniana and the Doge's Palace. Slightly offset in the basin of San Marco is the island of San Giorgio Maggiore with a former Benedictine monastery and the church of the same name. A foundation has been using the monastery as a cultural and research center for more than 60 years.

Venice - Piazzetta San Marco with the Zecca

Venice - Piazzetta San Marco with the Zecca


Return by water bus to Piazzale Roma

Embarkation time is approaching. We take the next boat, vaporetto line 1, from the Salute through the Grand Canal back to Piazzale Roma. You can buy tickets for the water buses either at the main boat docks or in tabacchi and newsagents. Tickets are also sold on board the ships at slightly higher prices. For a one-way trip, 7,50 euros are currently to be estimated. The maximum journey time is 75 minutes. Season tickets, which are available for different periods of time, are cheaper. The 24-hour ticket currently costs EUR 21,00.

For us, the vaporetto ride through the Canal Grande is an absolute "must". There is so much to see. The best place to observe the houses and the nearly 200 palaces to the left and right of the canal is the open, rear platform of the water buses.

Venice - Vaporetti rear open platform

Venice - Vaporetti rear open platform


What does a short stay in Venice offer?

What did the short stay offer us? Venice is rich in palaces and churches. Venice is beautiful. Despite the many tourists, Venice is a tidy and clean city.

Canal in Venice
Venice - Campo SS Apostoli
Venice - Campo San Polo
Venice - almost deserted


As soon as we leave the heavily frequented tourist paths, the authentic Venice shows itself with the branch canals and bridges, the tranquil squares, small churches, secluded alleys, bakeries, inviting bars and restaurants. We meet nuns, gentlemen in suits with mobile phones to their ears and files under their arms, mothers with children and senior citizens chatting. Barges transport all sorts of things. Caution: Venice is addictive!

Update March 2022

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