Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Cannaregio District of Venice, Italy

Dear readers, we have been touring Venice for the last few blog entries. Before we leave this amazing place, let's take one more walking tour, this time through the Cannaregio District, which stretches across the northern portion of the city.
Map drawn with ESRI® ArcMap™ 10.0 software with ESRI topographic basemap layer.
Cannaregio is north of the tourist-jammed San Marco area and easy to reach if you want fewer crowds and a flavor or how local residents live. According to,
"Cannaregio was settled well before AD 1000, when the first dwellings were built on the islands of San Giovanni Crisostomo and Santi Apostoli, close to the Rialto. The areas adjacent to the Grand Canal were built up next. The urban sprawl proceeded northwards, engulfing the convents and monasteries (the Misericordia, the Madonna dell'Orto, the Servi, San'Alvise) on what were, until then, remote islands."
Depending on where you are staying, take the Vaporetto, or water bus to the Rialto or the Ca' D'oro stops. The vaporetto is a great ride because as you cruise along the Grand Canal, you pass palaces, hotels, old mansions, and side canals.
Close to the Grand Canal is still pretty touristy, especially along the Strada Nova.  You see a lot of oddball kitsch for sale, as at this kiosk in the Campo S.S Apostoli.  Tourists really buy this junk?
Head north on some of the smaller lanes, like the Calle de la Raccheta, and the crowds thin out and the photographic opportunities improve.
You will cross over some of the small interior canals, or wander down a quiet Calle and discover that it stops at the water.  It is fun.
This is about the only graffiti I saw. It is a contrast to Athens, which has been spray-painted with nasty mess since the economic crisis erupted in 2008.
A few palaces or convents (?) have gardens.  Remember, land is precious on an island.
And there are occasional medieval-looking tunnels or passages under buildings.
This was the only modern apartment block I saw, but there must be more for local residents. Not everyone can afford to restore a 1500s palazzo.
Finally, here are some architectural details.  The barrier at the bottom of the door is designed to keep out high tide waters or storm surges.  It is the same concept as the stop logs used in flood gates on the Mississippi River. Oddly, only some doors had these barriers. Do residents in adjoining apartments simply accept the occasional wet floor?  Maybe they place sand bags and plastic sheeting when needed.

Photographs taken with a Nexus 4 telephone.  I processed the files with DXO Filmpack 3 to simulate Kodak Tri-X black and white film. I am not sure if the experiment was successful, and all comments are welcome.

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