VENICE — San Polo & Santa Croce Area

San Polo has some busy tourist spots but much of the district consists of churches, mansions, quieter lanes and pleasant Venetian squares. There is also some rare open space alongside the Grand Canal, where you can sit at an outdoors table and enjoy a cup of coffee or aperitivo with a view. A great place to window shop is along the route that leads from the Ponti di Rialto to Campo San Polo and on towards the Chiesa di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. It consists of a sequence of narrow lanes with some interesting shops on either side but it can be a bit of a squeeze because of the crowds. You will find small shops selling jewellery, art, stationery, gloves and various souvenirs and oddments.

Some of the more famous sights found in this area are:
Ca’Pesaro
Casa di Goldoni
Chiesa di San Giacomo dell’Orio
Chiesa di San Polo
Chiesa di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
Palazzo Mocenigo
Ponti di Rialto
Rialto Area
Campo San Polo
Scuola Grande di San Rocco

Ca Pesaro

Ca’Pesaro
Home to the Modern Art Gallery with both Italian and International modern art. Most of the art is on the first floor and it starts with late 19th century Venetian work including Giacomo Favretto’s Scenes From Venice. Artists from the 20th century include Kadinsky, Chagall, Matisse and Klee, Max Ernst and Henry Moore. Upstairs is the Museo d’Arte Orientale which has one of Europe’s most important Japanese art collections.
For more information visit the website at http://www.museiciviciveneziani.it/frame.asp?musid=10&sezione=musei

Traveller's Tip

Take your time to look at the frescos from the original building on the ceilings in many of the rooms and the terrazzo floors as they are beautiful.

Casa di Goldoni
The home of Venice’s greatest playwright, Goldoni. here you will find lots of material about Goldini’s life and works. The house is fairly unremarkable except for the peaceful courtyard and stone stairway.
For more information visit the website at http://www.museiciviciveneziani.it/frame.asp?musid=3&sezione=musei

Chiesa di San Giacomo dell Orio

Chiesa di San Giacomo dell’Orio
This church has a magnificent 15th century wood-beamed ceiling and lots of colourful granite and black limestone columns. Left of the main altar you will find Palma il Giovane’s Descent of Manna and a 14th century painted crucifix.

Traveller's Tip

Pay close attention to the many fossils found in the floor.
Chiesa di San Polo

Chiesa di San Polo
This church was founded in the 9th century but over the centuries has been renovated from its original Byzantine appearance to its now neo-classical structure with hints of its Gothic renovation including the wooden ceiling. It is quite bare inside but there are works by Tintoretto which include The Last Supper and The Assumption of the Virgin with Saints. The second altar in the north aisle contains Giambattista Tiepolo’s The Virgin Appearing to San Giovanni Nepomuk. Other works to look out for are the 14 Stations of the Cross in the sacristy.

Chiesa di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari

Chiesa di Santa Maria Gloriosa Dei Frari
A rather simple church decorated with some truly magnificent art by Titan such as Assumption and Madonna of Ca’Pesaro. You will find other pieces here by Bellini and Donatello.

Palazzo Mocenigo

Palazzo Mocenigo
This building was donated to the city of Venice in 1954 by Alvise Nicolò last descendant of the Mocenigo family and you will find two museums here — the building itself and the Venetian Museum of Costume and Textiles. The building was originally Gothic but was rebuilt in the 17th century which gave it its present layout. The decor and interior are a very well preserved 18th century insight into how a lot of wealthy people lived in those times in Venice. The costume museum has a substantial collection of clothes and textiles but the building itself is more interesting.
For more information visit the website at http://www.museiciviciveneziani.it/frame.asp?musid=11&sezione=musei

Rialto Bridge

Ponti di Rialto
Venices’s first bridge over the Grand Canal was built here in the 12th century. The marble version you see today was built by Antonio da Ponte between 1588 and 1591. It was the only way to cross the Grand Canal by foot until the Accademia bridge was built in 1854. The 7.5 metre arch was designed to allow the galley boats of the time to pass under and was built on 12,000 wooden pilings that still support the bridge today. The bridge has lots of tourist shops selling Murano glass, jewellery and lots of other objects flanking its sides.

Traveller's Tip

Be aware that the bridge is mostly steps making it very hard if not impossible if you have difficulty walking or are wheeling a pram.
Rialto Area

Rialto Area
The San Polo side of the Rialto Bridge was the centre of trade and banking for Venice over the centuries and this continues today with the locals depending on the markets found here for their daily supplies of fish, vegetables, fruit, and other foodstuffs. The markets are open to the public and it is a noisy and colourful place to people-watch and be thoroughly entertained. It’s best to arrive early if you want to see the Erberia (vegetable market) and Pescheria (fish market) at its best The barges start arriving at dawn, and the vendors are bargaining with customers by 8 or 9 am. The wholesalers and most of the retailers close up shop by midday. There are places to eat and drink here as well as a lively tourist market selling all kinds of wares.

Campo San Polo

Campo San Polo
The Campo San Polo is located approximately one hundred metres from the junction of the Grand and San Polo Canals. It is the second largest public square in Venice and is sometimes used as an open-air cinema during the summer months. It has in the past also hosted bullfights, dances and fireworks. You will also find the church of San Polo here but it is not particularly interesting.

Scuola Grande di San Rocco

Scuola Grande di San Rocco
This magnificent building was founded in the late 15th century. It is the best preserved of Venice’s six Scuole Grandi (Major Guilds). These were set up to help the poor and sick, or to protect the interests of individual professions, or to help the weak and needy members of non-Venetian communities living in the city. The Scuola Grande di San Rocco was very popular because its patron saint, San Rocco of Montpellier, was renowned for offering protection from the plague. Work on the building began in 1517 but it wasn’t finished until 1560. In 1564 Jacopo Tintoretto began his pictorial decorations of the rooms. He spent around 24 years on this work and there are more than 50 of his masterpieces found here.
The works of art are too numerous to mention but you can find them on the website at http://www.scuolagrandesanrocco.it