As a predominantly residential neighbourhood, Cannaregio doesn’t have many grand buildings, but it’s still a great area to walk around. My map here.
You can click on the pics in the galleries to go to slideshow view.
A lot of people come to see the Jewish Ghetto which is the oldest in the world. It was created in 1516 when the Jewish community were compelled to move from the Giudecca to a small island in Cannaregio.
In fact, the very word ‘ghèto’ is from Venetian dialect meaning ‘foundry’, as the island was used for metal-working before the Jews arrived. At its peak in the 17th century, more than 5,000 Jews lived here but now the community has shrunk to about 500 with only around 20 Jewish people still actually living in the area due to property prices.
The Museo Ebraico di Venezia www.museoebraico.it is located here, along with a couple of historical synagogues that can be viewed by appointment at the museum. On the street, the most noticable aspects of Jewish life are the bakeries and restaurants. I ate at Osteria Al Bacco, which I review in the following post on food and drink in Cannaregio.
A short distance away in Campiello de l’Anconeta is Despar Teatro Italia, a supermarket located in a converted theatre.
It was voted Europe’s most beautiful supermarket a few years back.
A little further on and you come to Ponte Santa Fosca, one of four fighting bridges dotted around Venice. This particular bridge was the location for the ‘guerra di canne’ where from the late 1300s mobs of working men wielding sharpened bamboo sticks and wearing leather armour would fight each other for the honour of their district. Naturally this led to many injuries and occasional deaths, leading to the tradition banned in the early 1700s.
The four footprints marked in the corners of the upper tier of the bridge were the starting points for the district champions who were backed up by hundreds of fighters behind them, as this incredible painting shows.
Over at the eastern side of Cannaregio, in Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo, is the Scuola Grande di San Marco Campo dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo, www.scuolagrandesanmarco.it, one of the six ‘great schools‘ of Venice.
The Rennaisance marble facade features a beautiful entrance with some nice carvings on the columns. There’s also a medical museum inside which I believe is quite impressive.
In the same square there’s a famous, but for me uninteresting, church called San Zanipolo (aka San Giovanni e Paolo), along with a beautifully carved well head and an equestrian statue.
The statue depicts Bartolomeo Colleoni, a mercenary who became captain-general of the Republic of Venice.
The locals pun on the fact that the Colleoni coat of arms features what looks like pairs of coglioni (balls)!
Nearby Campo Santa Maria Nova is a picturesque little square where you could take a break after visiting nearby Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Miracoli, another famous church (see my seperate post on churches).
Over on the opposite side of Cannaregio, in the far north-western corner of Venice, you can get some nice views of the Dolomites on the horizon.
There’s a modernist estate here which is interesting for architecture buffs like me.
Food and drink in Cannaregio next!