Venice - barrier-free through Cannaregio

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Our Venice

Cannaregio district

In this article we deal with the district Cannaregio, which like all districts in Venice consists of several islands. Therefore, we have divided this part into 2 parts. This is mainly because you have to take a vaporetto from the western part of Cannaregio to the eastern part of Cannaregio.

This is what you can expect:

The district of Cannaregio

Cannaregio is one of the six Sestiere of Venice - the districts of the historic centre of Venice. With 13,169 inhabitants (as of 2007), Cannaregio is also the most densely populated district of the six sestiere.

Cannaregio is located in the northwest of Venice and is the second largest district in terms of area after the Castello district. second largest district. The name Cannaregio is said to derive from the condition of the district before settlement. At that time it was still a marshy areawhere, among other things, reeds (Italian: canna for reed) grew.

In Cannaregio, the Canale Grande begins, or also affectionately called "Canalazzo" by the Venetians, that winds in the shape of an inverted S in direction to the city district San Marco.

Development & Sights

Cannaregio is a predominantly blue- and white-collar neighborhood, and is home to many small businesses. The artery of the district is the route of the Strada Novawhich is different from the Ponte delle Guglie by Campo Santi Apostoli is the most important one. From the Strada Nova in the direction of the train station you come to the Rio terrà Lista di Spagna. In this street, along the facades of the houses in the pavement are recessed white Marble Stripes. The term "Rio terrà" derives from the fact that these roads were originally canals that were filled in (interrare: to fill in), thus creating accessible routes.

In Cannaregio there are several important bridges. The Ponte degli Scalzi spans the Grand Canal near the railway station, the Cannaregio Canal is Ponte delle Guglie and the Ponte di Tre Archi (Andrea Tirali) is crossed. The fourth bridge over the Grand Canal, the Ponte della Costituzione, was completed in 2008. It connects Cannaregio with the Santa Croce district from the Fondamenta S. Lucia area behind Piazzale Roma.

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Districts (sestiere) Venice

Approach Cannaregio West

Cannaregio West

As explained in our first post, Venice is easy to get to.

The usual places to go are Piazzale Roma and Santa Lucia train station. From here you can take the vaporetti (water buses) towards the different parts of the city.

From Piazzale Roma you can take lines 1 and 2 to reach the Cannaregio district. It is important to know on which side of the Grand Canal you want to get off, as not all stops are served equally by both lines.

We start our discovery tour in Cannaregio West.
Therefore, we first take the Vaporettol line 1 or 2 from Piazzale Roma to the Ferrovia stop, which is right in front of Santa Lucia station.

If you start from the parking garage Tronchetto, you can take the vaporetto line 2 to the stop "Ferrovia".

Tour: Cannaregio West

Sightseeing Tip 1

We start at the pier Ferrovia and go first right the Fondamenta degli Scalzi along. There we see also already fast the Chiesa degli Scalziwhich has an imposing facade in Venetian Baroque style. Unfortunately, you can only get inside the church if you can climb 3 steps (17 cm). But the steps are equipped with handrails.

Here at the Corner Stazione San Lucia/Chiesa degli Scalzi there is a accessible toilet. To do this, turn left before the church into Calle Carmelitani. There you will quickly see the signs.

Palazzo Labia

We continue to follow the road Rio Terrà Lista di Spagna and shortly afterwards reach the Campo San Geremiawhich is connected on one side to the Palazzo Labia and on the other side from the Church of Santi Geremia and Lucia framed. Palazzo Labia now houses the regional headquarters of RAI - Italy's public radio and television broadcaster. The palazzo was built in the 18th century by the Labia family, a well-known Catalan merchant family. Inside there is a large ballroom decorated with frescoes by Tiepolo.

Church of Santi Geremia

The church of Santi Geremia and Lucia was originally built in the 11th century and rebuilt in 1292. The church houses the remains of Saint Lucia and has a valuable and very beautiful altar. The church has two entrances: the main entrance is directly on Campo San Geremia, but has 9 steps (19 cm). The side entrance is at the end of the street Fondamenta Cà Labia at number 335, directly on the canal Cannaregio and is accessible without stairs. Here you will find an external intercom that must be rung to open the doors from the inside. Unfortunately, there is a catch here: in order to reach the street Fondamenta Cà Labia, steps must be overcome. The access is right at the bridge Ponte delle Guglie. These are relatively wide and flat - a total of 5 steps with a tread depth of 93 cm and a height of 12.5 cm.

Back at the bridge we go down the road Fondamenta Venier along Fondamenta Savorgnan. Here, too, steps must first be climbed, but these are equipped with ramps, so that one can drive along here with a wheelchair - just like the Ponte delle Guglie itself. A short time later we reach the Palazzo Savorgnan. This very interesting building is decorated with monumental coats of arms and was built at the end of the 17th century on the model of Giuseppe Sardi.

Campo & Church of San Giobbe

We follow the Fondamenta Savorgnan and after a short time we are in front of a small canal. However, this can be crossed over the bridge Ponte de la Creawhich is also passable with a wheelchair. Immediately after the bridge we go right again and at the Cannaregio Canal left to the Campo San Giobbewhere the church of the same name, San Giobbe, is located. The church was built around the middle of the 15th century on the model of Pietro Lombardo and represents one of the first examples of Renaissance architecture in Venice. The Martini Chapel is the flagship of the church of San Giobbe. It houses a glazed ceramic ceiling attributed to Luca della Robbia. The main entrance to the church has one step (9 cm high) and one step with 23 cm on the inside of the church.

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Church of San Marcuola

We go back the same way until we reach the Ponte delle Guglie and cross it with the help of the ramp. On the other side of the Cannalegio canal we follow the road Rio Terrà San Leonardo (here you will also find a barrier-free lavatory directly at the Chiesa San Leonardo) until we turn right into the street Rio Terrà del Cristo and follow it to the end. Here you will find the church of SS. Ermagora and Fortunato, which is also San Marcuola is called. The church, which dates from the 18th century, consists of a single square nave covered by a vaulted ceiling with large semicircular windows. In the presbytery there are eight altars full of works of art, including "The Last Supper" by Jacopo Tintoretto. The façade of the building overlooking the Grand Canal, designed by Giorgio Massari, has not yet been completed. It can be reached by turning right after the church from the street Rio Terrà dietro la Chiesa. From the vaporetto stops San Marcuola, the church and the Campo are not accessible, as one has to climb four steps to get into the church. However, on the other side of the church, in the Rio Terrà dietro la chiesa there are two entrances. One of them has a step 8 cm high, the second only a slight rise.

The Jewish Ghetto

In Cannaregio there is also the first Jewish ghetto of Europe, which is Ghetto Vecchio and that Novo Ghetto is divided. This district is now one of the liveliest and most visited in the city and is still home to the Jewish religious and administrative institutions and five synagogues. The cityscape is dominated by striking skyscrapers, which show how much the population density has increased over the years. The Ghetto Vecchio and the Ghetto Novo are separated by the many canals.

Insight into the Ghetto Vecchio

To make a little Insight from the Ghetto Vecchio we must first go to the Fondamenta Pescaria. To do this, we go back to the Ponte delle Guglie and turn right before the bridge. There is also a ramp here. A short time later we turn right again into the Via Ghetto Vecchiowhich is hidden behind an underpass (sottoportego). You can follow Calle Ghetto Vecchio for a long way in a wheelchair until you reach a canal and a bridge. This has 9 steps with a height of 15 cm on one side and 8 steps with a height of 17 cm on the other side. The Ghetto Novo lies behind it on a small island. The small square Corte Scala Matawhich we passed just before, is a nice place for an espresso. We take the same path back to the bridge Ponte delle Guglie. It is worthwhile to stroll along the Fondamenta Prescaria and the Fondamenta di Cannaregio and to make small detours into the side streets.

Novo Ghetto

In order to see the Ghetto Novo from another side, another path can be taken, but this also ends at a bridge with steps and one only gets a small insight.

To do this, follow Rio Terrà San Leonadro and then Rio Terrà Farsetti. From Rio Terrà Farsetti, turn left into Calle Selle. The wooden bridge at the end of the street has 9 relatively narrow, steep steps. Therefore, also here the path ends - however, one finds on the way some nice places to stay and admire.

To get back on a vaporetto, you can go back to the starting point or use the San Marcuola stop.

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Directions to Cà d'Oro and surroundings

Cannaregio East

From the pier Piazzale Roma you can take line 1 to reach the stop Ca' D'Oro. It is important to pay attention to which side of the Grand Canal you want to get off, as not all stops are served in the same way on every tour of the line.

If you want to start from Tronchetto in the direction of Ca' d'Oro, you can take line 2 to Piazzale Roma and change there to line 1.

Tour: Cà d'Oro and surroundings

Sightseeing Tip 2
Palazzo Cà d'Oro

After only a few meters behind the stop we already reach the palace Cà d'Oro, whose name was derived from the façade, which was originally covered in gold. The palace is an impressive example of Venetian Gothic architecture of the 1400s and is partly oriental in inspiration. Here is also the Gallery Franchettiwhich is divided over 2 floors. To enter the gallery, a 12 cm high step must be overcome. The staff is always available to help. Access to the upper floor, where the exhibition is located, is possible via a lift. Likewise, the toilets on both floors are barrier-free.

Campo & Church of Santa Sofia

If you go to the right when leaving the gallery, you will reach the Strada Nova. Turning right from here you reach the Campo Santa Sofiawhich on one side is surrounded by the gothic Palazzo Foscari and on the other side of the Palazzo Sagredo is framed. Across the street from the Strada Nova is the Church of Santa Sofia. However, you can only see the spire, as the church is somewhat hidden behind the houses. The church was built around the year 1000 and renovated in the 17th century. Inside you can admire works by Bottega di Bassano, Heinz and Palma il Giovane. There are two entrances: the main entrance in Strada Nova with a step of 2 cm on the street side and 18 cm into the church, while the side entrance in Calle del Cristo, reached via Ramo dell'Oca, has no steps.

Campi dei Santi Apostoli

Continuing along the Strada Nova road, on the right hand side you will reach the gardens of the Palazzo Mangilli-Valmarana, a classical palace built in 1751 by Antonio Vicentini. At the end of the Strada Nova you reach the Campo dei Santi Apostoli, one of the first settlements on the Venetian islands. The square is framed by the Church of Santi Apostoli and the Scuola dell'Angelo Custode

The church was restored again and again, but still shows the original single-nave ground plan from the 16th century. Particularly interesting is the Corner chapel by Mauro Codussi, the only part of the church that dates back to the 15th century and has survived until today. To reach the chapel you have to climb two steps.

Scuola dell'Angelo Custode & Cinema Giorgione

The Scuola dell'Angelo Custode, designed by Andrea Tirali in 1713, was bought by the merchants of Fontego die Tedeschi. Currently it is the seat of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Interesting is the marble guardian angels by Heinrich Meyring, which decorates the portal of the building. The entrance has a step 18 cm high. On the square is also the Cinema Giorgione. To do this, from Campo, walk along the Salizzada del Pistor and the Rio Terrà dei Franceschi.

Campo San Felice & Ponte Chiodo

If one does not turn to the right at the palace Cà D'Oro, but to the left into the Strada Nova one reaches the Ponte San Felice (equipped with ramps, but a bit steep). Over this bridge you reach the Campo San Felice with the imposing church. The church is from the 10th century and was completely rebuilt in 1531. Here you can find some of Tintoretto's works. Both entrances to the church have 5 steps, but are equipped with handrails. 

If one follows the Fondamenta della Chiesayou reach the Ponte Chiodo, a private bridge over the Rio San Felice. The Ponte Chiodo is the last bridge with a stone arch without parapet.

Here ends the tour of Cà D'Oro and we go back to the starting point.

General information on accessibility

Basically the whole island is barrier-free and limited only by the canals. Only the canal to the church of San Felice can be navigated with a wheelchair. Nevertheless, this island invites to leisurely walks, because there is something to discover everywhere and there are no steps in the way (except for those at the bridges).

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In the next post, you'll get tips from us on the 

Murano & Burano Islands

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To travel is to live - to live is to travel.​

Jean Paul
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