For our stay in Venice we chose to “live” in the Castello district, the largest in the city, which takes its name from the eighth century fortress that once stood where there is now St. Peter’s Church. The industrial heart was the Arsenal where they built the great warships. While the most popular and shopping area is today again the walk of Riva degli Schiavoni, the quay beyond the Venice which can sometimes appear Naples between narrow alleys, palaces and faded clothes hanging.
In this district there is one of the architectural gems of Venice, the cloister of Saint Apollonia, the former Benedictine monastery now houses the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art. And also one of the most characteristic “campo”, that of Santa Maria Formosa, with its homonym church and beautiful palaces. Near our “refuge”, the bed and breakfast Cà del Console (Castello 6217 – Tel. +39 041 5233164 – firstname.lastname@example.org), former residence of the consul of Austria, run by very nice lady Marina welcomes her guests between tapestries, stucco and mirrors.
The strategic location of the inn and the warm and family hospitality, generous with valuable tips and tricks, and so much courtesy to guests as soft drinks available and coffee served in the room, make it the ideal accommodation for those traveling with children and pets, who large spaces available in the spacious romantic and comfortable rooms each dedicated to a historical figure or an atmosphere.
Nearby Campo San Giovanni e Paolo offers a splendid view of the facade of the rich and unusual fifteenth Civil Hospital, originally the Scuola Grande di San Marco, and the largest Gothic church in the city. Defined the Pantheon of Venice and Venetians used to call San Zanipolo, home to as many as 25 monuments of doges. In the square stands the statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni, while a few steps depart from the Fondamenta Nuove boat to the lagoon islands. Continuing to explore the neighborhood, you will arrive in front of the majestic facade of San Francesco della Vigna, built by Palladio. Inside “The Madonna and Child with Saints” by Bellini and in a glass case, dressed as a bride or the sleeping beauty, the small body of Santa Cristina in Bolsena.
The Castello district also houses another gem not to be missed: the Scuola of San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, where some of the most beautiful works of Vittore Carpaccio with the lives of the three patron saints of Dalmatians, called Schiavoni in Venice, San Giorgio, San Trifone and San Girolamo. Walking to the island of St. Helena will reach the peaceful and green public gardens, a must to run around Arturo who used to do his poo on the “green” has had many problems between “campi” and “campielli” of Venice! Passing the Gardens, across the bridge to the Riva dei Sette Martiri, if there is low tide you can see a large bronze statue on the steps of the quay: Woman Partisan, a monument to the fallen women during the Second World War.
Eating in Venice? Given the very tourist vocation of the city, on board the boat we asked a boy, a Venetian doc where to go to eat well without spending too much and especially where he was going and what he ordered. We followed his advice and we headed to Saint Helena, off the beaten track and therefore even with a true spirit, the restaurant Al Diporto (Via Monte Cengio 25, Venice +39 041 528 5978), famous for its fried mixed: exquisite and at the right price!
Then we chose the traditional Venetian cuisine at Osteria Al Mascaron (Castello 5225, Venice +39 041 5225995 – email@example.com), already popular in the early ‘900 for its simple dishes in a warm and welcoming rooms from the old floors Venetians and wooden tables, and at Enoiteca Mascareta (Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa 5183, Venice +39 041 523 0744 – www.ostemaurolorenzon.it), moreover others both within walking distance from the b&b Cà del Console. Here the very nice Mauro Lorenzon seasons classic dishes like pasta and beans, fish risotti freshly prepared, cod and cuttlefish, with his engaging stories and chitchat fun, strictly in Venetian dialect. And so between “na meza ombra” (half a glass of wine in Venetian dialect) and the other, the Innkeeper Mauro when discovers our origins, tells us that the oil he uses on his dishes is only from Puglia: does it send to himself with some burrata from Andria. But he finally conquered us when he adds that in his restaurant, despite not having large spaces, the four-legged friends are always welcome.