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Three Good Shortcuts in Venice

Ruth L. Edenbaum

Wandering the side streets of Venice is great fun! Here are Ruth's shortcuts to take you on some interesting streets and to get you where you are going.

From Accademia to Zattere

If you are facing the Accademia, walk to your left to the Rio Terra Foscarini. The Pizzeria Acccademia and Hotel Galleria will be on your left; the Accademia buildings on your right. A few steps along, on the left, is a Bancomat, and just past that the Calle Nuova Sant' Agnese which leads to the Piscina Forner on which you will find many interesting shops, the Palazzo Cini, which is home to the permanent exhibit of the Cini Foundation and the bridge that leads to Campo San Vio, all of which make worth while detours.

To reach Zattere, however, you should continue walking straight on the Rio Tera Foscarini. You will  pass the restaurant and small hotel called Agli Alboretti. This small restaurant has a menu  worth checking out. Just beyond Algi Alboretti there is a stretch of wall that in spring is graced by an especially lush and sprawling wisteria.

Still further along the Rio Terra Foscarini, you will come to the quiet Campo of Sant' Agnese. There is a small church, benches and a well head. On the wall nearest to the Giudecca Canal, you can find the Swiss Consulate. There are often small but interesting art exhibits on the second floor of the Consulate. They are generally free, and from the upstairs windows you also get a magnificent view of the Giudecca and the Canal.

Continuing straight on the Rio Terra Antonio Foscarini, will bring you out to Zattere along side of the church known  as the Gesuati. To your right are the church, its neighbor, Santa Maria della Visitazione, and the Ponte Lungho, which spans the Rio di San Trovaso. To your left, you can see the Punta della Dogana, and across the canal the Giudecca. The walk from Accademia to Zattere, without detours, should take less than five minutes.

From San Basilio to Campo Santa Margherita

San Basilio on the Giudecca Canal is not the best known  Venetian vaporetto stop. We use it to go to one of our favorite restaurants, La Riviera, or to visit the churches of San Sebastiano or Angelo Raffaele. We were surprised one day to find out that it is not very difficult to get to these places or return home on foot.

If you walk straight back from San Basilio into the Campiello behind the water front buildings, you can exit along the Fondamente San Basilio which runs along the Rio di San Sebastiano. Across the Rio, you can see the Church of San Sebastiano with its wonderful ceiling paintings by Veronese, which recount the Old Testament Story of Esther. A bit further down, past S, Sebastiano, is Angelo Raffaele, a church that, unfortunately,  is rarely open. Devotees of Miss Garnett's Angel can at least see the statue of the Angel, Tobias and his Dog over the main entrance, which faces the Rio di Angelo Raffaele.  If you are walking to Santa Margherita from Angelo Raffaele, take the Calle Maddelena, cross the bridge and you will be almost at the end of Fondamenta San Sebastiano.

When you consider how long it takes to ride the vaporetto all the way around from the Grand Canal to San Basilio, walking back seems daunting, but it is surprisingly easy. The Fondamenta San Basilio, becomes the Fondamenta San Sebastiano as it parallels the Rio with which it shares a name.  At the end of the Fondamenta, where the Rio S. Sebastiano meets the Rio dell'Angelo Raffaele, the fondamente bends to follow the course of the Rio.    It continues flat and straight along the Rio dell'Angelo Raffaele, but it is now called the Fondamenta del Soccorso just as the water changes its name to the Rio dei Carmini and then to the Rio di Santa Margherita all the while running straight and without interruption. In no time at all, you will find yourself at the main entrance to the Church dei Carmini. Continue around the Church, and you will see the Scuola dei Carmini and find that you have entered  Campo Santa Margherita, If you walk straight, you will see the main part of the campo ahead and on your left. This is one of the biggest and loveliest campos in Venice  with plenty of benches in both the shade and the sun, lots of interesting shops, and places for coffee, wine, ice cream and pizza.

From San Toma' to Railroad Station or Piazzale Roma

Every morning hordes of people seem to be walking into Venice from the direction of the Frari; every evening the same crowds of people walk back through Venice towards the Frari.  It did not take us very long to figure out these were commuters moving from and to the mainland, but  we wondered why were they all walking instead of using the vaporetto. Even allowing for the Italians' tendency to walk where Americans would ride, the distance from the Ferrovia and the Piazzale Roma to San Toma' let alone San Marco seems lengthy. One day we decided to follow them, and as is so often the case in Venice, we learned what is a long vaporetto ride on the serpentine Grand Canal, is not a very long walk when one cuts across the many small islands that make up Venice.

From the Campo San Toma', walk towards the Frari; the campanile is visible from the campo. You will arrive at the side of  the church; walk to your left so the church is on your right.   Take a moment to stop for a gelato at Mille Voglie, which has the best ice cream in Venice, according to Martin, the gelato maven. Continue walking straight on the Salizzada San Rocco and pass between the Scuola San Rocco and the Church of San Rocco.  When the Salizzada ends, you will have to turn right. Make the first left which comes up almost immediately. Cross the bridge over the Rio di  San Giovanni Evangelista, and you will see signs for the railroad station.  By walking to your right and following the signs you will come out along the side of San Simeon Piccolo. You will see the railroad station across the canal; the Scalzi Bridge, which you will cross to reach the Ferrovia, is just to your right.

To reach the Piazzale Roma, do not follow the signs for the railroad station; instead, continue straight after crossing the bridge. A short distance further, you will see the Church of the Tolentini on your left. Bear slightly left and cross the Rio di  Tolentini using the small bridge across from the Hotel Sofitel. Continue walking more or less straight so the side of the hotel is on your right; skirt the edge of the pretty little  Papadopoli Gardens, and you will come to yet another bridge. Cross the Rio Nuovo and walk right up to the Piazzale Roma.

Ruth Edenbaum is the co-author of Chow! Venice, Savoring the Food and Wine of La Serenissima. She lives in central New Jersey and spends more than two months a year in Venice. Ruth exhibits her photos on www.chowbellabooks.com.

© Ruth L. Edenbaum, 2004

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