In Venice, ancient and modern intertwine everywhere. History and Art, Past and Present, represent the true soul of the city. This itinerary will take you through the centuries.
From the Hotel, go on foot towards the Ancient Hebrew Ghetto by crossing the Scalzi Bridge, along Lista di Spagna as far as Ponte delle Guglie. Cross the bridge, turn left and after about 20 metres you will find the Sotoportego del Gheto.
The history of the Ghetto begins with a Decree of the Maggior Consiglio in 1516 which stated that the Hebrews had to live in the district of Cannargio, called ‘Getto’ whose name derives from the foundries in that area which gettavano or founded metal to produce cannons for the Arsenal of Venice. The Jewish community were obliged to enter in the evening and remain all night in the Old Ghetto where the entry points were closed by gates with guards. The population of the Ghetto continued to grow and for this reason in this district you can see houses of up to eight storeys, most unusual in Venice. In Campo del Ghetto Novo you can see the Monument to the Holocaust (1980), the work of the Lithuanian sculptor Arbat Blatas. Overlooking the campo there is there is the Jewish Museum and three of the five Synagogues (also called Schole): La Schola Grande Tedesca (1582), La Schola Levantina (1538) and La Schola Spagnola o Ponentina (1555), rebuilt by Baldassarre Longhena in 1654. For guided visits of the synagogues you must contact the ticket office of the museum – unaccompanied visits are not allowed.
After visiting the Ghetto, return along the canal bank of Cannaregio to ponte delle Guglie, go left in the direction of San Marcuola, a short way long Strada Nova. Take water bus line 1 – don’t forget to take a photo of the splendid façade of Ca’ Vendramin Calergi attributed to Mauro Codussi, dating back to 1482, but today the home of Venice Casino.
Disembark at San Stae and follow the signs to Ca’ Pesaro (five minutes on foot) without forgetting to take a photo of the beautiful Baroque façade of the Church of San Stae built by Domenico Rossi in the early 1700s. If you have a few minutes to spare, take the opportunity to visit the interior of the church which contains frescoes by Sebastiano Ricci and Giambattista Tiepolo. Otherwise, continue to Ca’ Pesaro, today the International Gallery of Modern Art and the Museum of Oriental Art. The grandiose and imposing mansion dates back to the second half of the XVII century and was built following a design by the Venetian Baroque architect Baldassarre Longhena. The splendid, prestigious façade is on the Grand Canal while inside you can admire works by G.B. Tiepolo, Bambini, Pittoni, Crosato, Trevisani and Brusaferro. In 1902 it became the permanent home of the International Gallery of Modern Art.
At this point, return to the Actv water bus stop and catch line 1 towards St. Mark’s. On board, looking to your left, you can admire and take a photo of the magnificent and world famous façade of Ca’ D’Oro dating back to 1421, one of the best examples of Ornate Venetian Gothic, it owes its name to the multi-coloured marble which once covered the façade on the Grand Canal, making it as resplendent as gold. Today it houses the Giorgio Franchetti Collection including the San Sebastiano by Andrea Mantegna and the Venere allo Specchio and Giuditta by Tiziano, some vedute by Francesco Guardi, three works by Vittore Carpaccio and many frescoes by Giorgione.
Get ready now to take another un-missable and picturesque photo as the water bus approaches and passes under Rialto Bridge, an emblem of the city, the most ancient and most famous of the bridges crossing the grand Canal. Stay on board and enjoy every single moment of this fantastic journey along the Grand Canal, bordered by wonderful mansions, traversed by gondolas and boats of every size and description.
Disembark at Accademia, right under Accademia Bridge and go on foot for about ten minutes following the signs to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection housed in Palazzo Veniere dei Leoni. This is one of the most important museums in Italy for European and American art of the XXth century. Among the famous names are Picasso, De Chirico, Braque, Duchamp, Kandinsky, Mirò, Klee, Dalì, Pollock, Ernst, and many, many more.
You may decide to visit the museum or, instead, continue on foot in the direction of Madonna della Salute to visit the beautiful Basilica di Saint Maria della Salute, a work by Baldassarre Longhena built after a solemn promise made in 1630 by Doge Nicolò Contarini and Patriarch Giovanni Tiepolo so that the city would be free from the plague. Quite apart from the building of the church, the promise foresaw that each year every Venetian would go to pray in this church to thank the Virgin Mary for freeing Venice from the plague. Over the centuries, this became a special festivity for Venetians and every 21st. November, Festa della Salute, a temporary bridge, called Ponte Votivo, resting on floats, is built across the Grand Canal right in front of the church so that hundreds of thousands of visitors and believers can maintain the promise, arriving in church to pray, to light a candle for the Virgin Mary and renew the promise made 400 years ago. Schools are closed so that even the youngest of children can participate in this great festivity. Outside the church there are stalls with food delicacies and many, many, many coloured balloons in every size, shape and colour you can imagine.
If you like, you can even reach Punta della Dogana and take some photos of St. Mark’s Square, the Bay and the nearby island of San Giorgio. Return to the hotel on board the water bus line 1.