I love doing the research, aided by a good selection of books at hand, in the comfort of our own home and then the fun begins. It is surprising how many mistakes we find, and not all of them made by me! We really enjoy following the walks and finding things we have missed over the years and re-visiting favourite places.
These are those ready in the flat and we do hope you enjoy looking at them even if you don’t walk them.
Walk One:- You can see the 17C marble feet of a lion on top of a gate post, discover what the Pharmacy of Due Colonne used to make, tap on the anchors which Venetians do to bring good luck and be amazed at the interior of the Church of the Gesuiti. It starts from the flat and takes you to the Church of San Canzian, down the local shopping street to Campo Santi Apostoli and then to the Gesuiti and home.
Walk Two:- On this walk you can see a 5C relief of Daniel among the lions, a tabernacle with Mary in a gondola and find out where the riding school, with stabling for 75 horses, once was. It starts from the Celestia boat stop and when we walked it we decided that it was too long and have separated it into two walks. This covers the Church of Santa Francesco della Vigna, which is now beginning to be appreciated by visitors, and the very important Church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo.
Walk Three:- You can see the famous Palazzo Van Axel with the original 15C door and knocker, where the state executioner lived and visit the ‘wedding church’ of Santa Maria dei Miracoli. This starts and finishes from the apartment and is a gentle exploration of the area.
Walk Four:- This is a stroll past the shops in Strada Nova and where you can see a 1644 engraving of a rat, the oldest chemist in Venice where they made Scorpion Oil, footsteps on a bridge and take a boat back home. It includes the Church of Santa Sofia and San Marcuola and finishes at the boat stop at Ponte Guglie.
Walk Five:- If you have plenty of energy then you could continue with this after Walk Four. It includes the Ghetto, a fascinating electrical shop, a 14/15C well head turned into a flowerpot, three Moors and a camel. It starts at the boat stop at Ponte Guglie and includes the beautiful Church of Madonna dell’Orto.
Walk Six:- We really enjoyed this walk as it is long time since we had explored this area. Discover what the building that now houses a University once was, find a lovely garden to relax in and who threw the golden plates into a canal. It starts at the boat stop at Tre Archi and visits the Churches of San Giobbe and San Geremia before taking the boat back from the station.
Walk Seven:- This starts close to the station so could be walked after walk six. Visit the Ghetto and wander through the streets to the Church of Sant’Alvise before catching the boat back home. To those needlewomen, there is one of the few shops left in Venice that sells cottons and wools- over the Ponte dell’Aseo and left under the sottoportico.
Walk Eight:- This takes you over the Grand Canal to wander through Santa Croce and see a 14C Agnus Dei, a 13C Veneto-Byzantine tile of two peacocks and an eagle pecking the head of a running lion, and why a 15C relief of St. John the Baptist was used to scare naughty children. It starts at the boat stop at San Stae and visits the Churches of Zan Degola, San Giacomo dell’Orio and San Simeone Grande before reaching Piazzale Roma and the boat back home.
Walk Nine:- Starting at Piazzale Roma you can see the church that Jan Morris describes as; “the back looks like an Edwardian battleship, with barbettes, bulwarks, flying bridges and catwalks” before reaching the boat stop at San Toma.
Walk Ten:- This is all ready to be walked and checked and will start at San Toma and include I Frari.
Walk Eleven:- Take a shopping bag with you as you are bound to be tempted by something at the Rialto market on the way home. See the cross that, after 1545, prisoners kissed before being whipped, the doorway with the wide opening where the barrels could be rolled in and out and see the lovely Churches of San Giacomo and San Polo before returning to the Rialto.
Walk Twelve:- Read about when young girls, and their dowries, were kidnapped and see the ‘new’ style of chimney top that was introduced in 1200 to help catch the sparks. Starting at San Pietro in Castello, the old Cathedral of Venice, it goes down the charming Via Garibaldi, through the gardens to the boat stop on the Riva.