Around  Dorsoduro

Castello Picture of the Week
San Marco
Santa Croce
External Links
Cannaregio San Polo
My favorites

Dorsoduro is bohemian, young and artsy. If Venice was Paris or New York, which thankfully it is not, Dorsoduro would be its Montmartre or its Village. Home to the Ca' Foscari University of Venezia and the Accademia Galleries, Dorsoduro has a vibrant artistic and cultural life. Peggy Guggenheim, Henry de Régnier, Ezra Pound, John Ruskin, Ettore Tito and Robert Browning, a few among many others –artists, poets, musicians and art connoisseurs– all lived in this stretch of land sandwiched between the Grand Canal and the Canal della Giudecca. The name Dorsoduro is derived from the words osso duro which means hard bone or hard spine, a reference to the harder soil found in this part of Venice. From the imposing domes of La Salute basilica to the humble tenements near the stazione marittima, to the vibrancy of Campo Santa Margarita, Dorsoduro offers a little bit of everything for locals and visitors alike. We begin our tour at Ponte de l'Accademia, from which we can admire one of the most inspiring views in Venice: the Grand Canal with the church of Santa Maria della Salute. I don't need to tell you to pause and breathe in the beauty that surrounds you, but I'll invite you to come back to the same spot at different times of the day: right after sunrise, at midday, late in the afternoon, at night. You will discover the true magic of the hours.

As you go down the bridge feel the soft spring to your steps caused by its wooden frame. In a city made entirely of stone and water, a mild bounce feels almost miraculous. To our right are the Accademia Galleries, one of the best art museums in the world. Carpaccio, Giorgione, the Bellinis, Veronese, Tintoretto and Tiepolo, they all mingle in its halls. You can visit it now or leave it for later. I didn't visit the Accademia until my third trip to Venice. It has always been my philosophy –with a few outstanding exceptions– that if I have only a few hours to spend in a new city, the last place I want to visit is a museum, and in Venice, where there is a surprise around each corner, days count like hours. Now, a few trips later, every time I visit, even if it is only for a few days, I must stop by the Accademia and pay my tribute to my favorite Carpaccios and Bellinis. I could spend a whole afternoon just in rooms 20 and 21 where the cycles "Miracles of the Cross" and "Life of Saint Ursula" featuring works by Vittorio Carpaccio and Gentile Bellini are shown.

Map of Venice

As we step down the Accademia bridge, we turn to our left. Pizzeria Accademia is tucked next to the bridge. You may consider it for later, if only for the view which is superb. We walk a few meters along Rio Terà Antonio Foscarini and turn left on Calle Nova Sant' Agnese. A bar, a couple of high-end antique stores and art galleries are found on this busy calle. At the end of the calle are Ponte, Rio and Campo San Vio. To your right is the Hotel American, which  couldn't look more American at Christmas time. On Campo San Vio is Saint George, the only Anglican Church in Venice. Campo San Vio was the place chosen by David Lean to mount his Pensione Fiorini in Summertime starring Katharine Hepburn. Campo San Vio is the perfect place to unwind and watch the traffic on the Grand Canal. From here, the view of Ponte de l'Accademia is unsurpassed.

Saint George, Anglican church

Saint George, Anglican church

The building that looks like a small church at the end of the campo is a votive chapel, now a private house, dedicated to San Vito and San Modesto and built after the original church, which stood on this campo, was demolished at the beginning of the 19th century. The cross and the reliefs on the façade were taken from the house of the Tiepolo family after it was demolished as punishment for the insurrection led by Bajamonte Tiepolo on June 15th, 1310, the feast day of Saints Vito and Modesto. The cozy house interior was featured in the book "Living in Venice," 1990 edition, by Vedrenne and Martin. We continue on Calle de la Chiesa which leads to Fondamenta Venier dei Leoni.


This is a quaint, almost theatrical, area of Venice. A small canal flanked by two fondamente and framed by a bridge and a bend of the rio. Immediately to our left, at number 720B, is the Bottega d'Arte San Vio that sells the beautiful work of artist Giorgio Bacci Baïk including lithographs adorned with gold and silver leaves.

Ca' D'Oro by artist Giorgio Bacci Baïk

A few doors down on Fondamenta Venier dei Leoni is the entrance to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, one of the finest modern art museums in the world. It houses works by Picasso, Klee, De Chirico, Ernst, Chagall and Magritte among many others. One of my favorites is Magritte's Empire of Light, shown on the left.
Peggy Guggenheim, an eccentric American art collector who made Venice her home, is buried on the grounds along with her dogs, her "babies," fourteen of them: Cappucino, Pegeen, Peacock, Toro, Foglia, Madam Butterfly, Baby, Emily, White Angel, Sir Herbert, Sable, Gypsy, Hong Kong and Cellida.

From the terrace, the view of the Grand Canal is unobstructed and so is the view of The Angel of the City, an irreverent mid-century bronze by Italian sculptor and painter Mariano Marini. According to legend, the rider keeps losing its detachable member.

We exit the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and continue on the fondamenta to the end when it bends to the left and becomes Calle Ponte San Cristoforo. This leads us to charming Campiello Barbaro, meeting point for Woody Allen and Julia Roberts in Everyone Says I Love You.

The gardens and the back of Ca' Dario, that Renaissance gem  by master Pietro Lombardo that seems to be falling down on the Grand Canal, can be seen from Campiello Barbaro.

On the garden wall of Ca' Dario there is a plaque in honor of the French poet Henri de Régnier who lived in that house between 1899 and 1901 and who wrote "Venetianly" (venezianamente). You can window shop or browse in the couple of antique stores on the opposite side of the campo –some of the ex-votos with maritime motifs that can be found here are truly charming– or just sit on the steps of the bridge and listen to the sound of running water from the fountain. Life couldn't be sweeter.

We exit the campiello by the side of Ca' Dario, Calle Barbaro. We cross Rio de la Fornace and continue on Calle del Bastion that leads us to Campo San Gregorio. The deconsecrated church of San Gregorio, now an art conservation institute is in front of us. The Gothic church, with two beautiful lanceolate windows flanking the portal, was rebuilt in the middle of the 15th century. We exit the campo through Calle and Sotoportego de l'Abazia. To our left is the building of the former San Gregorio abbey, once a wedding present from Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton to her groom Cary Grant. Even with so magnificent a present, the marriage didn't last long. They got divorced three years later.

San Gregorio

San Gregorio and Campo de la Salute

Rio de le Fornace, its bed in the process of being cleaned and repaired (2005). Above: Detail of People in the Cortile of San Gregorio Abbey by Antonietta Brandeis (1849-1910).

Rio de le Fornace today

As we cross Ponte de l'Abazia we reach Campo de la Salute. In front of us is the imposing church of Santa Maria de la Salute (St. Mary of Health), a masterpiece of the Italian Baroque and the crowning achievement of Baldassare Longhena. The church was commissioned by the Venetian Senate as a pledge to the Madonna for a prompt end to the plague, which was devastating the city. It was the year 1630. A competition was opened and the Longhena's proposal was chosen from among a total of eleven. The design of the church, based on an octagon with a wide ambulatory on the periphery, was very innovative at the time. In Longhena's own words:

"I have created a church in the form of a rotunda, a work of new invention, not before built in Venice, a work very worthy and desired by many. This church, having the mystery of its dedication, being dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, made me think, with that little talent God has bestowed on me, of building a church in the form of a rotunda, being in the shape of a crown, being dedicated to the Virgin."

There has been some speculation that Longhena was inspired by a design of the Temple of Venus in Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, The Strife of Love in a Dream, a book first published in Venice in 1499 by an anonymous author (although attributed to Francesco Colonna). This book was very influential in Renaissance Italy and beyond.

Above: Santa Maria de la Salute, section. Right: Temple of Venus, from Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. Below: La Salute, scrolls supporting the dome.

From Campo de la Salute the view of the Grand Canal and the Bacino di San Marco is magnificent. It is my favorite spot to watch the Regata Storica, a colorful boat competition that takes place the first Sunday in September. From the steps of La Salute (sixteen of them) the view is unobstructed and the place never feels too crowded. The expansive campo and the church are built over  a "buried forest" of 1,156,627 wooden piles driven into the mud.

One of my favorite views from this campo is that of Palazzo Contarini-Fasan also known as Desdemona's House, so called because, according to one legend, the couple who lived here in the mid 16th century were as complicated and prone to drama as Shakespeare's characters Othello and Desdemona. According to another legend, Othello's house is on Campo dei Carmini, also in Dorsoduro. Palazzo Contarini-Fasan was built in the mid 15th century and is one of the most beautiful examples of late Venetian Gothic. The tracery on the balconies is unadulterated Venetian delicacy, yet it lacks symmetry. One of the wheels in the top balconies seems to spin in the opposite direction, perhaps a stonemason's hidden message to posterity. The palace is shown in de' Barbari's view of Venice of 1500, before the Salute was built, when the convent and the church of the Santissima Trinità stood in its place.

We exit the campo by the side of the church and cross Rio de la Salute by the bridge of the same name. We are now on Rio Terà dei Catecumeni. To our left there used to be a hospice to shelter slaves and war prisoners who wanted to convert to Christianity, the catecumeni. Today the Salesian sisters run an institute in the same location. At the other end, at the intersection with Rio Terà ai Saloni, stands a nice little cafe with tables outside, the perfect place in summer to relax and unwind for a while.

Rio de la Salute in winter
Same corner in summer

We walk along the wide Rio Terà ai Saloni. To our right is Palazzetto Constantini whose portico features a handsome  wooden architrave and carved capitals (14th century). At the end of the rio terà is Fondamenta Zattere where we make a left turn.

Rio Terà ai Saloni
Rio Terà ai Saloni

The eternal fight: Venetians vs. rats. Bilingual sign on  Rio Terà  ai Saloni

Zattere is a Venetian word that means wooden rafts. In the old days tree trunks and beams were carried by water and deposited along these shores. We cross Ponte de l'Umiltà and continue to the end, Punta de la Dogana, that divides the waters of the Bacino di San Marco into the Grand Canal on one side and and the Canal de la Giudecca on the other. The Dogana was the old custom house and is now an art gallery. The building next to the Dogana belongs to the Bucintoro Society, an association of boatmen and rowers.

Punta de la Dogana from the Giudecca Canal  Punta de la Dogana from the Grand Canal

We retrace our steps to Rio Terà ai Saloni. The former salt warehouse (Emporio dei Sali) will be on our right. Today it is the headquarters of the Bucintoro Society.

Bucintoro Society. Getting ready for the Regata Storica

Emporio dei Sali

We turn right on the fondamenta along Rio de le Fornace and make another right turn on the first calle, Calle Querini. At number 252, controversial American poet Ezra Pound lived, on and off, for almost fifty years with his life-long companion, violinist Olga Rudge. Both were instrumental in the revival of Vivaldi's music, almost forgotten since the composer's death. Regrettably, Pound was a supporter of Mussolini and a Nazi sympathizer. He and Olga Rudge are buried in the Protestant section of San Michele.

by Ezra Pound

O generation of the thoroughly smug
and thoroughly uncomfortable,
I have seen fishermen picnicking in the sun,
I have seen them with untidy families,
I have seen their smiles full of teeth
and heard ungainly laughter.
And I am happier than you are,
And they were happier than I am;
And the fish swim in the lake
 and do not even own clothing.

We retrace our steps back to the Zattere and walk along the fondamenta past Rio de le Toresele.
Fondamenta Zattere is one of the widest and sunniest in all of Venice and one of my favorite places for a stroll, especially in winter. Immediately after Rio de San Vio is Pensione La Calcina where John Ruskin used to stay. We cut across Campo de la Calcina and take Calle del Pistor that leads us to Calle A. Da Ponte; immediately to our right is Piscina Sant' Agnese. Scenes from Summertime with Katharine Hepburn and Woody Allen's Everyone Says I Love You were shot here. We continue on to Campo Sant' Agnese and go back to the Zattere by the side of the church of Santa Maria del Rosario, known as the Gesuati church. The ceiling has beautiful frescoes by Tiepolo depicting the life of Saint Dominique.

Zattere, Rio de San Vio and Pensione La Calcina

Zattere, Gesuati church

Past the Gesuati church is the religious guest house run by the Don Orione cultural center offering simple but comfortable accommodations in a monastic setting. A bocca di leone used in the past for anonymous denunciations about health issues is next to the main door. The charming little church of Santa Maria della Visitazione is next. The coffered ceiling has painted panels (early 16th century) with saints and prophets; in the middle, a medallion shows the Visitation of the Virgin.

Bocca di leone

We continue on the Zattere. A few steps down is Gelateria Nico, one of the best ice-cream shops in Venice. All along the Zattere there are numerous cafes and restaurants where I have had many memorable evenings under the stars, listening to the lapping of the waves against the fondamenta and contemplating the island of the Giudecca under the spell of the full moon, but never a memorable meal.

Zattere, Carmini and Ognissanti bell-towers 

Zattere, San Trovaso bell-tower

We momentarily exit the Fondamenta Zattere by making a right turn on Fondamenta Nani along Rio de San Trovaso. The squero di San Trovaso, one of the few remaining gondola-making enterprises in Venice is on the left, on the other side of the canal. The attractive little Alpine chalet, so atypical in Venice, is a reminder that the first gondola makers came from the mountainous region of Cadore in the Northern Veneto. Behind the squero is the church of San Trovaso. But Trovaso was no saint.

Trovaso was two saints: Gervasio and Protasio. How these two names got corrupted and combined into one is one of those unsolved Venetian mysteries. Unlike most churches, San Trovaso has two main entrances; not one for each saint, but rather one for each of the two old rival factions of Venice, the Nicolotti (from the Western part of Dorsoduro, Santa Croce, San Polo –except the Rialto district– and most of Cannaregio) and the Castellani (from Castello, San Marco, the Rialto area of San Polo and the Eastern ends of Cannaregio and Dorsoduro.) This church was neutral ground, close to the border between both areas and a meeting place for the rival factions during weddings and funerals. The campo in front of the church is one of the few grassy squares in the city.

We cross the canal by the bridge closest to the church and continue on Fondamenta Bonini along Rio dei Ognissanti. The church of the Ognissanti will soon be on the right. At the end of the fondamenta, after crossing the bridge, Ponte Sartorio, is the boatyard, squero, of Domenico Tramontin and sons, one of the finest gondola makers in the city. Eight different types of wood are used in the construction of a single gondola: oak, elm, walnut, fir, mahogany, larch, cherry and linden, each one for a different purpose. The Tramontin gondolas have been exported to places all over the world from New York to Souzhou (China).

We continue on Calle de la Chiesa, on the side of the squero, that takes us to Fondamenta S. Basegio where we make a left turn and cross the bridge, Ponte San Basegio. Suddenly we are in frontier territory where the outside world collides with Venice. The Stazione Marittima with its mundane existence and parked cars is to our left, Venice to our right.

Now that we have seen the outside world once again, if ever so briefly just to confirm that it's still there, we turn away from this area as soon as we can by taking Calle dei Frati that leads to Campazzo San Sebastian. San Sebastian is Veronese's church. The entrance is around the corner, by the canal. Many of Veronese's masterpieces can be admired here. He is buried inside the church near the organ. At the other end of the campo is the church of Anzolo Rafael (Angelo Raffaele in Italian). We cross the bridge in front of the church , Ponte de l'Anzolo, and turn left on Fondamenta Barbarigo and then right on Rielo. To our right stands an attractive Gothic palazzetto that recently underwent restoration. Note the intriguing handshake mosaic between the windows.

San Sebastian

Campo drio il Cimetero, next to Anzolo Rafael

Anzolo Rafael

Gothic house on Rielo before restoration

Gothic house on Rielo after restoration

We turn left on Fondamenta Tron, by Rio de le Terese. At the end is the campo and the church of San Nicolò dei Mendicoli, one of the most intimate and welcoming churches in the city and my favorite. It was restored by the Venice in Peril Fund. Read Annie's moving description of this church in her blog  Churches in Venice. In her own words: "There’s something magical about this place. It feels the way a church should feel – holy, peaceful, and ancient." When finally I visited the church on a sunny September morning in 2004, like Annie, after many unsuccessful attempts, the postcard lady, although she did not sing for me like she did for Annie, made sure that music was playing in the background making my visit unforgettable. I think that she permeates the whole church with beatitude.

San Nicolò

Across the canal are the natural sciences laboratories of the Ca' Foscari University and beyond, the Santa Marta quarter housing complex. This used to be one of the poorest sections of Venice. The first inhabitants were fishermen that made a meager living off the lagoon and these humble origins are still reflected in the name of their church, San Nicolò dei Mendicoli, Saint Nicholas of the Beggars. On Rio de le Terese, Fondamenta Tron, a few yards away from the church, is the House of the Seven Chimneys (Casa dei Sette Camini) built in the 1700's as a housing project. It underwent a major retrofit in 1995-1996.

We go back to Rio de l'Anzolo Rafael and walk along Fondamenta Barbarigo that soon becomes Fondamenta Briati. We cross the canal at Ponte del Soccorso. In front of us on Fondamenta del Soccorso at number 2586 is the Ospizio e Oratorio Santa Maria Assunta, first built in 1593 following the will of Veronica Franco, poet and courtesan, to house old and repentant courtesans. Veronica Franco's life and literary work are the focus of Margaret F. Rosenthal book's The Honest Courtesan, on which the splendidly crafted movie, 'Dangerous Beauty' (also released as 'A Destiny of Her Own') is based.

Rio dei Carmini and Fondamenta del Soccorso

 Portrait of Veronica Franco, probably by Tintoretto.

"A truly maiden city, immaculate and untouched, untainted by injustice...built as only a miracle could be in the midst of the sea, standing aloft with admirable tranquility and forever expanding through endless time. A city full of marvels and surprise such that, if it is described but not seen, it cannot be known or understood by the human intellect."

Veronica Franco on Venice. Translation by Margaret F. Rosenthal, The Honest Courtesan.

We continue on Fondamenta del Soccorso. At number 2597 is Ca' Zenobio, a Baroque building embellished with one of the most beautiful gardens in Venice.  The palazzo is the headquarters the Armenian College and also a guest house. It can be visited during the Biennale.  The classical loggia in the garden was built in 1777 by Tommaso Temanza –who also built the church of La Madalena in Cannaregio– to house the Zenobio family library.

Ca' Zenobio

We continue on Fondamenta del Soccorso to Campo dei Carmini. The church of Santa Maria dei Carmini is on our right and the Scuola Grande dei Carmini on the other side of Calle de la Scuola. The scuola houses luminous paintings by Giambattista Tiepolo. The ceilings are lavishly decorated with frescoes and gilded plaster incrustations. The Baroque façade is the work of Baldassare Longhena. The Scuola dei Carmini is at the narrow end of Campo Santa Margarita (Santa Margherita in Italian). This is one of the most lively places in Venice. Lined with cafes and restaurants, it is the meeting place for the young college crowd.

Santa Maria dei Carmini

In the middle of the campo is the freestanding building of the Scuola dei Varoteri (furriers). On one of the side walls is a relief of the Madonna della Misericordia. On the opposite side, a short, round, stumpy stone pillar has reputedly been used by the matrons of Santa Margarita to soften salt cod (bacalà) before cooking it by beating it against the stone. Today it is the perfect resting place for tired tourists or a watchtower for children.

Campo Santa Margarita in the early morning hours

Before we exit Campo Santa Margarita, we take a detour on Calle del Magazen, next to the herbs shop (erboristeria), to Calle de l'Aseo, at the end of which, on the left, stands a pink Verona marble wellhead partitioned in two by a wall. In an ugly sort of way, the whole thing strikes a perfect balance between change and tradition. We exit Campo Santa Margarita by the deconsecrated church, now an auditorium. Some beautiful carvings still adorn the façade of the former church.

After crossing Ponte Santa Margarita we step into Campo San Pantalon (Pantaleone in Italian). The Church of San Pantalon has the largest painting on canvas in the world, covering most of the ceiling, a work by Venetian painter Gian Antonio Fumiani. The painting depicts the life and death of the church's patron saint. Purportedly, Fumiani fell to his death while working on the ceiling canvas. The Capella del Santo Chiodo (Chapel of the Holy Nail), inside the church, houses one of the nails supposedly used in the crucifixion. In the capella you can admire a beautiful painting, The Coronation of the Virgin, by Giovanni d'Alemagna and Antonio Vivarini (1444).

Campo San Pantalon

Coronation of the Virgin, Capella del Santo Chiodo

By the side of the church is Campiello de Ca' Angaran. On one of the walls is a marble medallion from the 12th century depicting a Byzantine Emperor in full regalia, silent testimony of the strong ties between Venice and the Eastern Empire.
An almost identical roundel, a companion of sorts to this piece, can be admired more than 4,000 miles away, in the Dumbarton Oaks Museum, Washington, DC.

Calle Larga Foscari in the early morning hours

We continue on Calle San Pantalon, on the side of the church, to Crosera where we make a right turn. But before you leave this area you may want to make a stop for sweets at the wonderful Pasticceria Tonolo. Crosera is a busy street lined with shops and intense traffic going to and from Campo dei Frari. We make a right turn on Calle Larga Foscari. To our left is the headquarters of the Vigili del Fuoco or the fire brigade. Their fully equipped fireboats exit by the Rio de Ca' Foscari.

Rio de Ca' Foscari, towards the Grand Canal
Rio de Ca' Foscari, towards San Pantalon

Before we cross the bridge, to our right is a beautiful hidden garden (visible only from the other side of the rio) that belongs to the University of Venice. If the door is open, you can take a stroll and sit on one of the benches by the Rio de Ca' Foscari.

We cross the bridge, Ponte de Ca' Foscari, and to our left is Ca' Foscari, seat of the University and one of the most important late-Gothic palaces in Venice. Scheduled visits to the building are available, but we can also wander on your own through its hallways and courtyard. We cut across Campiello dei Squelini ('squelini' means makers of bowls) and take Ramo del Capeler (hatmaker) to Calle del Fabro where we turn right on Calle de le Boteghe that takes us to Campo San Barnaba. To our left is Fondamenta Rezzonico that leads to Ca' Rezzonico that houses a museum dedicated to 18th-century Venice. 

Ca' Foscari

Campiello dei Squelini

Ca' Rezzonico vaporetto stop

Ca' Rezzonico

English poet Robert Browning died at Ca' Rezzonico, his son's residence, on December 12, 1889. His apartment on the first floor can still be visited. A plaque on the side of the palace remembers the poet with his phrase "Open my heart and you will see graved inside of it, Italy." A visit to this museum is highly recommended; it would give you the opportunity to admire paintings by Guardi, Longhi, Tiepolo and Rosalba Carriera, among many others, along with the furnishings and artifacts from an old Venetian pharmacy. The view from the top floor is unsurpassed.

View from the top floor of Ca' Rezzonico

View from the top floor of Ca' Rezzonico

We return to Campo San Barnaba. Many scenes from the movie Summertime have been shot here and also some scenes from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

At one end of the campo is Ponte dei Pugni, a bridge that like most bridges in Venice did not have railings in centuries past. The Castellani and Nicolotti staged their famous fights on this bridge. Today, marble footsteps inlaid on the cement remember these events. Next to the bridge there is a barge that sells fruits and vegetables. A barge has been in the same location selling fresh produce for over five hundred years.

Ponte dei Pugni

Ponte dei Pugni

At the corner of the fondamenta and the campo, in front of the canal is a little shop, Signor Blum, that sells joyful architectural models of typical Venetian buildings made of wood. My favorites are the unpainted ones. They give me the excuse to be a kid again. We exit Campo San Barnaba by Sotoportego del Casin dei Nobili. The restaurant Casin dei Nobili is on our right. The covered patio offers one of the friendliest settings to have a delicious Venetian meal. The art on display on the walls is always eye catching. Last time I was there some of pieces seemed to have been made by Van Gogh on LSD. We cross Rio del Malpaga by Ponte Lombardo.

Right after Rio del Malpaga, from Fondamenta de la Toletta, on the sign that reads "Rio de la Toletta," you can see little balls, made of carpenter's putty or bread dough, adhered to the wall, especially around the "O". Tiziano Scarpa in his whimsical Venice is a Fish, recounts that they are blown by school children using plastic tubes –intended as feet supporters for caged birds– for peashooters. Toletta means wooden plank, probably a reference to a primitive bridge made of this material that stood in this area.

We cross Ponte del Squero and walk along the Fondamenta del Squero to the end and make a right turn on Calle dei Cerchieri (a cerchiere was a maker of hoops for barrels). On the left hand side we will soon come across a beautiful court, Corte de la Comare. The residence of a midwife in the past. From the end of Calle dei Cerchieri there is an unusual view of the Grand Canal. A picture taken from this corner of Dorsoduro, because of the bend of the Grand Canal, seems to be taken from the other side of the water, San Marco.

Corte de la Comare

Grand Canal from Calle dei Cerchieri, Dorsoduro

We return to the little Ponte del Squero, after which Fondamenta de la Toletta turns, expands and contracts and becomes Calle de la Toletta. Paolo Barbaro in his heart-warming Venice Revealed describes Calle de la Toletta in the following words:

"Now the street enters its most musical stretch. We must stop for a moment, and listen and wait [...] In its most musical stretch, the calle widens imperceptibly like an accordion, then immediately folds back in on itself, swerving, turning, and continuing onward four complete times in just a few meters until it reaches Ponte delle Maravegie, the Bridge of the Marvels. And there are as many variations of tone in the air, of timbres, echoes, and vibrations, depending on the varying moods of the conversationalists: in their grievous complaints, comical quips, and sometimes demented asides. Then there is the endless tic-tic of shoes against stone..."

One of my favorite sounds is the sound of the running water from the fountain by the canal.

On Calle de la Toletta, a bookstore, Libreria Toletta, is scattered among several shops. This bookstore has an incredible selection of books about Venice, its history, art and architecture, many of them in English. We continue on Calle de la Toletta. To our right is an elementary school and to our left several souvenir shops, a baker's and a bar with comfortable tables in the back. We reach Rio de San Trovaso once again. To our left, at the end of the fondamenta, is the entrance to beautiful Pensione Accademia with a lush garden looking out onto the Grand Canal.

We cross the canal by Ponte de le Maravegie (bridge of Marvels). Within a radius of about 20 yards there are several schools, from elementary to college, which makes this area one of the most boisterous and animated in Venice. After the bridge we turn left on Fondamenta Priuli and soon right on Calle Contarini Corfù.

Several souvenir shops, antique stores, an upscale art dealer and a closed-down movie theater are found in this stretch that leads back to the Accademia Galleries and the end of our tour.