Cannaregio, Venice – Good Food and Fine Palaces
Above: The municipal Casinò of Venice, housed in the beautiful renaissance Palace of Ca’ Vendramin Calergi, on the Grand Canal
Cannaregio is Venice’s second largest sestiere, stretching across the north-west of the city with its main thoroughfare, the Strada Nuova, lined by shops, bars and restaurants and running from the S. Lucia train station to the Rialto Bridge. It’s an attractive and relatively quiet sestiere, with wide, straight fondamentas (streets) and canals, studded with busy areas of commercial activity.
The name has two possible origins: it may derive from Canal regio, i.e. the main canal for communicating with the mainland or else it may refer to extensive reed beds found there in the past. The railway station is named after Santa Lucia because it was built in the area of the church of Santa Lucia, destroyed in accordance with one of Napoleon’s edicts in 1806.
Byzantine Palaces, the Jewish Ghetto, Great Food!
There are a lot of palaces in Cannaregio, dating from Byzantine period to the 18th Century, not to mention the large and atmospheric 16th Century Jewish Ghetto, and numerous churches and monasteries in picturesque campi (squares).
If you’re hungry, you need to go to Fondamenta Misercordia, the best restaurant street in the sestiere, and some claim the whole city. You can find great traditional restaurants and a wide range of cuisines including Mexican, Chinese and Syrian. Check out the many ‘Bacari’ (wine bars) in the Cannaregio district where people go for quick snacks. ‘Cicheti’ are tasty titbits containing fish, meat, eggs or vegetables. ‘Ombra’ is the local name for a glass of wine. It is said to derive from the wine sold in St Mark’s Square from a cart that the seller kept out of the sun by following the shadow of the Campanile.
House of Gold, Marbled Churches and the Casino
Cannaregio is also the location of the municipal Casinò of Venice, housed in the beautiful renaissance Palace of Ca’ Vendramin Calergi, on the Grand Canal. Close by is the important Museum of Cà d’Oro ("House of Gold”), named because of the vast amount of gilding and colours once adorning the facade. Nowadays the museum holds many works of art by Titian and Tintoretto. In the same area there are quite a few other ancient churches worth finding, such as the little Church of San Marziale, the Church of Madonna dell’Orto, which contains several beautiful frescoes and the Church of S. Maria dei Miracoli, whose facade is entirely covered with fine marbles.
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