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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Venice (Italy) - Dorsoduro Salt Warehouses and Church of the Gesuati

"A particularly calm and beautiful part of the city that enjoys wonderful views, this area has always been favored by wealthy foreigners when staying in Venice. However, when the heart of Venice was at Rialto, this area was rather out of the way and became the site of numerous religious foundations and public buildings; those large warehouses and vast convent and hospital structures are still awaiting reconversion to more functional uses."

This photo was taken as we moved past the large church Santa Maria della Salute and continued our exploration of the section (sestiere) of Venice, Dorsoduro as we enjoy our grand "sail in" to Venice. Keep in mind that deep tones of the Italian singer floats through the air as we take in our first views of this port.


Here is an updated map, to help you get your bearings.

"The next section of the Zattere is lined by the so-called "Saloni" - the Salt Warehouses, which give their name to this Zattere ai Saloni. [name of the street] These nine warehouses with fine truss roofs were built in the 14th century and were still in use at the beginning of this century as a deposit for the salt produced by the various saltworks scattered around the lagoon. A government monopoly, salt was a thriving industry, the duty from which supplied the coffers of the Republic with a healthy income (managed by a special body of the magistrature that enjoyed a certain prestige). Destined for some sort of cultural use (there is talk of them being run by the City Council, by the Biennale or by the Guggneheim Foundation), the buildings are at present occupied by rowing clubs (specializing in Venetian rowing, sailing and canoeing). One frequently sees people here jogging and doing other forms of open-air exercise."

My comment: If you look closely at this photo, you can see that there is a boat in the front.  The pole device looks like it is designed to move the rowing club boats in and out of the water.

This photo gives you a transition from the salt warehouses to the next section.

I found an article that describes this area in a walking tour. The full link is below, at the bottom of the blog post.  This next little piece is very interesting and I couldn't figure out what they were talking about.  Here is the text.

"Shortly after it, one comes upon the Renaissance facades of the Church and Scuola of Santo Spirito. This is also the spot at which the pontoon bridge is anchored which links the Zattere with the Giudecca on the occasion of the Feast of the Redentore (the third weekend in July)."

The white building that you can barely see on the left of the row of buildings is the Church and Scuola of Santo Spirito. I think that I may have a better photo from a later boat ride and will talk about it more at that time.

Now...what in the world are they talking about with a pontoon bridge?


Here is a zoomed in picture, not very clear because of the resolution, but good enough to see two men standing on some sort of dock.  The dark dock looks like it is attached to the sidewalk and the pontoon is connected to this and built across the canal.

And low and behold, the blogger gods were with me.  I had noticed this "dock" on the Google map of Venice as I was attempting to figure out what we had seen.  Lucky day!  It is a floating pontoon bridge!  Look at the photo above and notice that the dock looks like it is at an angle, and then look at the overhead below and you can see that the dock does indeed jut out an an angle.  Very cool.  This dock is built for the third weekend in July for the festival.  No huge cruise ships coming through the Guidecca Canal during that party, is my guess.

I found this photograph taken by Albert Hickson on another website.  This gives a great perspective of the walkway.  The photo is taken from the Dorsoduro side, looking across the Giudecca canal.

This is an old etching of the event. It looks like the board are placed on boats.

Ok,back to the Zattere.  Sorry for the distraction but it was just so darn interesting.
Of course, the views along the smaller canals were simply breathtaking and quaint.


 This couple standing on the bridge, with a light green building in the background (plus all of the graffiti), caught my eye.  It looks like this area is in need of some repair. A ramp has been built to go over the bridge instead of the steps.

The next few photographs will look closely at this area. Keep in mind that the ship is moving from right to left along the shore.  We will look at the salmon colored building, and then the large white church. 
"At the foot of the Ponte della Calcina (the bridge over the adjacent canal) stands the old pensione of the same name, where the great writer and historian of Medieval Venetian art, John Ruskin stayed."  The Pensione Calcina is the salmon covered building.  The first photo gives a broader view and the second one zooms in a little closer so that you can see the nice "on the canal" restaurant.


"A masterpiece of 18th-century Venetian architecture, the Church of the Gesuati stands on the Zattere ai Gesuati (the name of the canal front walkway) - alongside the Oratory of Santa Maria della Visitazione."  I've added a photo (second one below) with numbers to identify the buildings.



 1) Santa Maria della Visitazione and 2) Church of the Gesuati.


Santa Maria (1 above) - There is a bocca del leone, a lion's mouth, to the right of the church where anonymous accusations could be posted. This one was for the Magistrati della Sanita (sanitation department).


More research? What is "bocca del leone"? It appears that this is an idea from Venice.  In ancient Republic of Venice as the Strait of Leo ( Venetian : Boche de Leon ) or Bouches for Complaints Secret ( Boche for Complaints Secret ) were shown the special containers, similar to today's Mailbox , around the city of Venice and especially near and inside the Palazzo Ducale , designed to collect the complaints secret intended for Magistrates . (Source: wikipedia).  PLEASE, take a moment and click here to see the Bocca Del Leone.  I think that we need some of these in Phoenix!!

The large white building is the "Church of the Gesuati".  Click here to see some photos of the interior through Google.


"The wide waterfront of the fondamenta delle Zattere was built for the unloading of cargo ships (work began at the beginning of the 16th century). The name comes from the zattere ("rafts") which had formerly been anchored along this waterfront, laden with timber brought down the River Piave from the forests of the Cadore. Sheltered fromn the northern wind and enjoying a southern prospect, this waterfront has a genuinely Venetian atmosphere: locals come here for a walk in the sunshine, for a coffee or for a "gianduiotto" (the local ice-cream) at one of the bar terraces built out over the water."

Descriptions of the Zattere were found in an excellent travel piece. "http://www.en.tuttivolivenezia.it/venice-itineraries/20-itinerary-zattere.html".

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