Santa Croce

Santa CroceLet us leave the hectic Piazzale Roma behind and head for the Sestiere Santa Croce to discover the far east part of Venice. Its name comes from the Church della Santa Croce, founded by the first Veneto settlers around 600 a. C. and later demolished in 1810.

The sound of water peacefully flowing on our left follows us, when we reach the San Nicolò Tolentino Church.
With the marvellous paintings of Jacopo Palma il Giovane still in our eyes, we find the Santi Simeone e Giuda Apostoli Church, a stunning miniature pantheon.  

A few steps more, we pass Ponte degli Scalzi (Bridge of Barefoot) and head to San Simeone Grande, where the exciting “Last Supper” by Jacopo Tintoretto awaits us.  
Penetrating the Sestiere – the smallest of the city with 2,359 street numbers – one often feels lost in the complex labyrinth of characteristic small calli and campi, a route where civil and religious architectures constantly alternate.   We then dive into the Veneto Byzantine architecture of San Zuane Degolà, in the sober beauty of Campo San Giacomo dell’Orio and in the severity of Palazzo Mocenigo, built in the XVI century by one of the most important Venetian families who gave seven Doges to the Serenissima Republic.

In this area it is still possible to see the people’s side of Venetian life, whilst the sumptuous palazzi overlook the Grand Canal: Ca' Pesaro, which hosts the National Gallery of Modern Art and Fondaco dei Turchi, current seat of the Natural History Museum are among the most distinguished examples.  
If after this long walk, you need a moment of refreshment, you can stop at San Stae Church where you will be surely seduced by the intensity of Gianbattista Tiepolo’s works. 

Finally, once passed Palazzo Corner della Regina, Santa Croce amazes us once again with its distinctive Venetian fashion of mixing the sacred and the profane. Just a few steps away from Santa Maria Mater Domini Church, we notice a sinister ‘nizioletto’ (Venetian street sign) reading Sottoportico e Corte del Diavolo (Devil’s passage and court) and we are grateful to the city for keeping its mystery and magic uncontaminated.

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