Day Trips From

Tips and Advise for day trips from Venice by Road to Travel Inc.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sestiere San Polo

The smallest of the six neighborhood (called “sestieri”) in Venice San Polo is also one of the oldest parts of the city. Spending a few hours here is like stepping back in time to discover La Serenissima’s past.

Rialto Bridge
Cross the Rialto Bridge, the oldest one to span the Grand Canal, from San Marco to explore the Rialto Market that has been here since the end of the 12th century. Make sure you arrive early in the morning before the hordes of tourists arrive, so you can enjoy a peaceful stroll between the stalls piled up high with fresh local fruit, vegetables, fish and listen to vendors banter with locals. 

The Campo San Polo is the second-largest square in Venice, after Piazza San Marco, once the venue for bullfights, masked balls and a market. Spend a few minutes here to admire the elegant palaces and 9th century Church of San Polo, which gave name to the sestiere and where you will find works by Tiepolo and Veronese. 

San Giacomo di Rialto
The city’s oldest church is located in this neighborhood. The Chiesa di San Giacomo di Rialto was supposedly consecrated in the 5th century, although it was re-built in 1097. Other attractions in the area are the Church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari with its important paintings by Titian and the Scuola Grande di San Rocco decorated with a famous cycle of paintings by Tintoretto.

San Polo is renowned for its small artisan shops, typical venetian osterie called bacari and some excellent restaurants. Make sure to do a bacari crawl to taste the best “cichetti”, local appetizers, accompanied by “ombra”, a small glass of wine. All’ Arco (Calle Arco, San Polo, 436) is located a few steps from the Rialto Fish Market and serves delectable appetizers with prawns, shrimps and squid. Cantina Do Mori (Calle dei Do Mori, San Polo, 429) is one of the oldest bacari in the city that 
the famous Casanova used to frequent. 

Photos via Flickr by: Paul Arps, Damian Entwistle, Sam Posnick.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Jewish Ghetto

The Jewish Ghetto (Il Ghetto) is one Venice’s quieter, less touristy neighbourhoods steeped in history. In 1516 the world’s first walled off Jewish community was instituted. Hundreds of Jews were locked on the small island patrolled by guards at night and only allowed to leave during the day for work in the city. They were allowed to run pawnshops, lend money for a very low commission, sell textiles and practice medicine. Despite the restrictions, Venice was still considered a safe heaven, attracting Jews from fleeing the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal, so the Ghetto grew. 

Ghetto - Canal View
With the densest population in the city, the Jewish community was allowed to build the tallest buildings in Venice with the synagogues on the top floors. In 1797, after Napoleon’s arrival the Ghetto’s gates were open but the complete liberation came only in 1866 when the Italian state was established.

Today only 30 Jews live in the former ghetto with several hundred others residing in other parts of Venice. However, Il Ghetto has remained virtually unchanged since the 16th century and become the centre of Jewish life in the city. There are two synagogues built in the 1500s that are still open for worshipping, an old people’s home, library, kosher guesthouse, two restaurants and a bakery where matzo, unleavened traditional bread is still baked in an ancient wood oven. There is also a small Jewish museum (Museo Ebraico) with an excellent collection of exhibits telling the history of Venetian Jewish community. You can see ornate silver Hanukkah lamps, Torah scrolls, beautiful wedding contracts in Hebrew.

Campo de Gheto Novo
Make sure to stop at one of the restaurants in the area. The famous Gam-Gam serves excellent traditional Jewish dishes such as matza ball soup, shnitzel and massa’bacha. Another good place to sample Venetian and Jewish cuisine is the Kosher Club Le Balthazar (Campo di Ghetto Nuovo, 30121) with its peaceful elegant courtyard.

Photos via Flickr by: Szilveszter Farkas, Joanna Penn.