Venetian pearls: things I love about Venice
Sooner or later we will return to travel. Sooner or later you will return to Venice
I recently decided to move to the Terraferma (mainland), a few kilometers from the Venetian lagoon, in a country town where my father and grandfather were born, but for most of my life I have lived in Venice and I do not exclude returning there.
So I can honestly say I know the city quite well.
I have always liked to explore it as if I were on vacation as an outsider, to find corners unknown to most people, and then to research on books talking about those places, starting from the historical names of the streets and courtyards. And then go back again and again, hunting for the details that had escaped me.
One of these interesting writings to read and reread is certainly “Le Curiosità Veneziane” (Venetian curiosities) by Giuseppe Tassini, a nineteenth-century book narrating, in a compelling way, the secrets that every corner of Venice has kept for centuries, and that makes this city a real time machine for those who know how to look.
So here are three of my “Venetian Pearls” or places that I have in my heart and I recommend to you too.
Corte Botera: near San Giovanni e Paolo, hidden behind a gate that if you are lucky you might find open, there is a beautiful courtyard with Venetian-Byzantine style architecture which is said to have been the inspiration for the “Corte Sconta called Arcana” mentioned in the comic by Hugo Pratt “Corto Maltese”.
A truly magical place, where time has stopped and where you must enter with discretion, on tiptoe almost, with the fear that it will disappear before your eyes, or you will disappear too.
San Pietro di Castello: a real island at the far end of the Castello area and the Arsenale of Venice.
The two bridges that connect it to the rest of the district look like two walkways that lead to another dimension. The Basilica dedicated to St. Peter was the cathedral of the Patriarchate of Venice until 1807.
So you understand the importance of this place, now peaceful and silent like few others, but which comes alive on the occasion of the Feast dedicated to the Saint at the end of June.
But the beauty is that, as evidenced by some photos of the late nineteenth century, many impiraresse worked here, some active until a few years ago. Have fun, if you go there, to find the corner depicted in this beautiful vintage photo.
It is certainly not secluded or difficult to find, but it is precisely because of its central being that it is rightly considered the heart of Venice.
Since ancient times it has been the pulsating center of Venetian business and commerce, it can be said that if a commodity existed in the known world, it could be found at the Rialto Market, and this nature has never been forgotten by Venetians who experience real joy in visiting it for shopping and know they have a quality and variety offer that does not exist anywhere else in the city.
Although unfortunately in recent years the market has become a little impoverished due to the decrease in residents and mass tourism that has favored other activities. But events and shows are organized there, it is a social place, perfect for meeting friends, or for a cheerful aperitif for two.
Also for visitors, it is the ideal way to immerse themselves in the most genuine Venetian atmosphere and admire the Grand Canal. The colors, the voices, the smells: everything transports us to the local culture, just observe the Venetians choose a vegetable or a fish to understand what is right to buy in that season. If you go there now you will find a triumph of violet artichoke from the island of Sant’Erasmo and the first produce that come from all over the Veneto region such as the asparagus from Bassano.
All the movement of workers and customers who crowd the market has given rise to many places in its immediate vicinity. My favourite is “Cantina Do Mori” .
But there are also many shops that serve both Venetians and visitors and that refer to the mercantile past of Venice, for example, full of spices and local and exotic specialties, it is the showcase of the historic Drogheria Mascari.
In short, it seems to go back to the time of the Venetian mude, the caravans of ships that traveled the seas loading spices, aromas, wine and dried fruit.
These are some of my pearls among my Venetian beads, and like those of glass that I thread, they are evidence of an ancient civilization to be preserved in which we identify, and from which we draw inspiration not only we Venetians but all of humanity.
If you want to discover the pearls of Venice with the help of a professional, I recommend you: