Cannaregio is “one of the best kept secrets of Venice,” says Skye McAlpine at Venetian Apartments. “It’s a place to enjoy small, tantalising vignettes of everyday Venetian life,” writes Alice Mulhearn at An Urban Travel Blog. Sights include “Ca’ d’Oro (a gorgeous Venetian palace you can enter and explore), the Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli (a gem of a church and one of the best examples of Venetian Renaissance architecture), and the Church of Madonna dell’Orto (the burial place of famed painter Tintoretto),” says Walks of Italy. It’s also the location of Venice’s Jewish Ghetto, the oldest Ghetto in the world which is still home to a small, but thriving Jewish community.
Cannaregio is one of the quieter sestiere and is “often ignored by one-time tourists,” writes Venice Insider, even though it’s the second-largest and most populated quarter of Venice. “Cannaregio is home to Venetian tradition, historic buildings, and magnificent sights,” writes Sophia Karner at The Culture Trip. Stretching from the Lagoon and the Canale Grande to the San Marco district, Cannaregio is the entrance gate to Venice for many visitors, when they arrive via bus from the Piazzale Roma or at the Santa Lucia train station, an eye-catching example of modernist architecture.
Il Ghetto (the Jewish Ghetto) was made famous by Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, explains Sacred Destinations. It’s the area in which all Jews were forced to live from the 16th to 18th century and is now “a pleasant neighborhood where Venice's small Jewish community still lives.” In 1516, the Venetian authorities forced all Jews to live there in confinement, writes The Venice Insider. During the day, the Jews were allowed outside to trade, as long as they wore a sign. At night, they were obliged to stay within the gated part of the city. The 'Campo di Ghetto Nuovo' is home to the Jewish Museum and the three oldest synagogues. Watch Visiting a Jewish ghetto in Venice from CNN for background.
There are numerous artisans toiling away in and around the Jewish Ghetto, and a number of galleries worth visiting. American artist Tony Green has a collection on display near the Scuola Spagnola (“his art is a celebration of life: people dancing and singing in New Orleans and people enjoying life in Venice,” says the Huffington Post), although it is only open in May, June, September and October. Young Venetian artisan Arianna Sautariello has a small workshop on the Fondamenta degli Ormesini, where she continues the ancient printmaking tradition in Venice (“Arianna's paintings and etching capture all the architectural elements of Venice in fine detail”, says The Venice Experience).
Parco di Villa Groggia, located along the very northern edge of the Cannaregio district, is a small and intimate park that is generally frequented by locals. The Church of Madonna dell’Orto located close by, is an art-filled building that was the parish church of Jacopo Tintoretto and his family, explains Churches of Venice -- “there are something like 11 paintings by him here. A monumental pair, The Adoration of the Golden Calf and The Last Judgement both thought to have been painted around 1563, flank the altar, fitting exactly into their spaces, they were probably painted in situ.”
Then there’s the Ca' d'Oro -- “a treasure trove of artwork collected by the eponymous baron, who devoted his life to restoring this 15th-century gothic palazzo on the Grand Canal,” as described by Travel and Leisure. It may be “the best known example of residential Venetian Gothic architecture” in the city, according to the World Monuments Fund. It’s one of the most beautiful buildings on the Grand Canal, say Lonely Planet -- its “lacy arcaded Gothic facade is resplendent even without the original gold-leaf details that gave the palace its name (Golden House).” Baron Franchetti (1865–1922) “bequeathed this treasure-box palace to Venice, packed with his collection of masterpieces, many of which were originally plundered from Veneto churches during Napoleon’s conquest of Italy … the baron's ashes are interred beneath an ancient purple porphyry column in the magnificent open-sided, mosaic-floored court downstairs.”
Come nightfall, the locals head out to Fondamenta della Misericordia to take in an obligatory aperitivo and a cicchetto or two. This part of Venice has wonderful restaurants to stop at, says The Culture Trip. You can stop by the funky trattoria Anice Stellato, recommends Anne Hanley in The Telegraph, to find “excellent creative Venetian cuisine, along with good-value house wines.”
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