Let's Play

"The playground of all that was gay, mysterious and irresponsible."

Virginia Woolf on Venice

Level 1 - Challenging


I'm the patron saint of Ukraine, but most people come to see my ugly neighbor and totally ignore me, even though I've been here for centuries giving my benediction to all passerbys.

 Do you know where to find me?

I am the sotoportego to Heaven. When Pope Alexander III came to Venice running away from Emperor Frederick Barbarossa he took refuge under my walls.  In gratitude he granted plenary indulgence to any soul who said a Hail Mary and an Our Father here.

By the way, the emperor and the pope finally reconciled, in 1177, in Venice. Do you know what marks the event inside the Basilica di San Marco?


I am an untrodden corner in the middle of Venice, and one of the most charming, if I may say. Come see for yourself. Take a stroll after visiting the sotoportego of the indulgences.

Do you know how to find me?


I am the youngest among the bridges that span the Grand Canal. My older brothers are Ponte de Rialto, Ponte de l'Accademia and Ponte dei Scalzi. I may be known as il ponte de Calatrava, after the Spanish architect that designed me, but I have a formal name. Do you know it?


I am hidden in plain sight. Most people don't see me even if they pass right by me. Others do not bother to reach me.  If you do, I will reward you with an amazing view. Find me.


They say I am one of the most beautiful outdoors sculptures from the 17th cent. in Venice. My surroundings are wide and open, so nobody can ignore me. Come visit me, but first you must find me.


You may wonder what a shoe has to do with the Annunciation. I am here to bear witness to the fact that the confraternity of the German cobblers cared for the poor in the hospice located on this very spot. Do you know where?


Do not mistake me for the Madonna on Rio de la Misericordia. We may look alike, especially with the cute umbrella on top, but she is three hundred years older than me. Don't say a word...but her head was replaced by a new one in the 19th cent.
Do you know where to find me?


I am not open to the public, which makes me even more mysterious, but you can admire me every day from the garden gate. Do you know who I am?

Level 2
Very Challenging


I am a scacciadiavoli, I chase away bad spirits. I am not as well known as my famous cousin at Santa Maria Formosa, but I'm certainly prettier, don't you think?

 Do you know where to find me?

I have inspired Christi Phillips in her novel, The Rossetti Letter, in which a courtesan, Alessandra Rossetti, warns the Venetians about a Spanish conspiracy that is about to overthrow the Republic. Although the courtesan and the letter are just a work of fiction, the conspiracy and myself are real.

This is how I'm, described:
"Everything she cherished was here, in her house and garden...from here she could gaze upon the shimmering lagoon as it changed with the seasons. Even though the view from the parlor was better, Alessandra preferred the garden, where she could feel the sun on her skin, could smell the salty Adriatic and revel in the earthy, sweet scents of the roses, the blackberry vines, the herb garden that Bianca had planted".

Aren't you tempted to find me?


I am so lucky to have my grandpa! He takes me along narrow alleys, wide campi, and my favorite: up and down bridges. Is this what grown-ups call a true labor of love?

 Do you know where we are now?


Someday my grandpa will bring me here to play. I promise to behave while rubbing my tushy against the stones of history.

Do you know where to find this notable cushion?

"You lean on the parapets of the bridges. The balustrades of the Rialto Bridge have been polished by millions of hands: a sign that you, too, are taking a few molecules of stone away with you. It stays caught in your pores, trapped in the ridges of your fingerprints." Venice is a Fish, Tiziano Scarpa.

I am not the Rialto Bridge, that's for sure, but can you find me?


"You will find two very fine ones permanently in place...on two sides of the entrance to a wood carver's shop, near ....the church. Turbans and gilded twisted belts, gilded scarf, gilded bracelet. Beige jerkin, blue blouse for one, and pink for the other. Gypsy trousers and Turkish slippers. They both carry a torchère in the shape of a horn of plenty, one of which is decorated with a lustre."

This is how Alain Buisine in his Venice, The Enchanted Mirror, describes us. We think it's very accurate although he forgot to mention our chubby cheeks.

Do you know where to find us to take us home? We will miss this spot. Not too far away from the tourists and in the company of Venetians coming from the traghetto.

They say I resemble those vulgar and indecent carvings on the façade of the Camerlenghi, on the other side of the Grand Canal. I don't think so!
Here on the right is a picture of one of those filthy beasts by the Rialto Bridge. Look for yourself...And if you are not convinced, take the traghetto at the Pescaria and come see me, if you can find me. 
Recently, I was featured in Serenissima, Venice in Winter by Van Riper and Goodman. They can't say the same.


It must be all this talk about filthy beasts that stirred my memory, but let me tell you: Through this peephole I saw Casanova, real and fictional.

 Do you know where I am?


I am not a forgotten alley. They dressed me up, just a little, to recreate the home of the printer in fictional Casanova. I can say that Heath Ledger was here. Would I be able to say the same about you?


I have seen Casanova too! Do you know where I am?

I hope you enjoyed it.

If you want to check your answers send me a message (sestiere@aloverofvenice.com). The answers will be published by March 25, 2009. More questions will be posted in the future.

            If you scored:

18-20/20: You can open your own information booth at the Rialto
12-17/20: I am sorry to say, but you no longer get lost in Venice
  6-11/20: Wear a camera around your neck, so no unsuspecting tourist mistakes you for a local and stops you
                 for directions
    0-5/20: You are the luckiest. You must immediately return to Venice