We enter Sestiere San Polo that despite being the smallest in size, has the largest campo in the city, the one with San Paolo Apostolo Church built in IX century, where important works by Veronese and Palma il Giovane are housed. We set off at Rialto Bridge - the oldest and most famous stone bridge in the city - completed by Antonio da Ponte in 1591, and dive into the crowd that crosses it at every time of the day.
We spend a few moments looking at the feverish activity on the Grand
Canal and then head for Campo San Polo, the largest in Venice and
current venue for shows, events, parties and stalls during Carnival.
Not far from here, on our way we find San Giacomo Church, built around 1097, whose bells in ancient times announced the opening and closing times of the city markets.
Erbarìa (fruit and vegetable market), Pescarìa (fish market) and Beccarìa (butcher’s area): in these places where time seems to have stopped, Venetians to this day do their shopping. They surely deserve our visit.
Leaving the noisiest area of the Sestiere behind, we head towards Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari Basilica, built by the Franciscan order in XIV century. A whole day would not be enough to appreciate all its wonders.
L’Assunta (Assumption of the Virgin) by Tiziano Vecellio, the wooden San Giovanni Battista by Donatello and the numerous masterpieces by Giovanni Bellini that adorn the sacristy are just a small portion of its invaluable content.
We continue our walk till Cà Centanni, native home of the most renowned Venetian playwright of all times, Carlo Goldoni. It is now seat of Museo del Teatro e delle memorie goldoniane.
Among the many relics kept here, the famous puppet-theatre will bring us back to our childhood. Among the many pleasant discoveries, San Polo confirms its fame in expressing - in a variety of ways - the city’s vocation for good cuisine. Traditional taste is here widespread and respected all along the route leading to Rialto, with restaurants, osterie and bacari, serving “cicheti” (appetizers in a toothpick) and a glass of good wine that finally award us a tasty refreshment.