VENICE: From Ferrovia to Chiesa della Salute

The Chiesa della Salute is a famous church in Venice begun in 1630 as a votive offering at the time of the outbreak of plague in the city. It is quite the Venetian landmark as it is built on the narrow strip of land that marks the end of the Dorsodouro sestieri. On the small map to the right, it can be located just up from the Guggenheim Museum. Visitors to St Mark’s Square can get a great view of this large, beautiful church over the Grand Canal.

The simplest and easiest way to make a close inspection of Chiesa della Salute is to catch the right ferry just along from St Mark’s Square. If you like walking and seeing the sights of Venice as you go, this blog provides maps and some insights into the landmarks along the way. Starting as all these walks do, the visitor can start from Santa Lucia and head in the direction of the bus stops that transfer tourists to the airport and other stopping points for those leaving Venice. The curved, glass bridge (Ponte della Constituzione) below is one way to start this walk but the route can also be accessed on the other side of the canal.

There are a series of wooden and stone bridges that are well worth an inspection at the start of this walk as you head along Fondamenta Cossetti on your journey through the Sestieri of Santa Croce and Dorsodouro. These bridges provide quick access to the other sides of the canal, particularly for those Venetians rushing to work.

The map to the left shows the route for the first half of the walk along Rio Nuovo canal. Fortunately or unfortunately I made an error in my walking along here and turned left along Ria di S.Margherita and found myself over the canal from Chiesa di. S.Sebastiano (photo below). It was the imposing church of the area so I couldn’t not but have a good look at it given it was still the early part of the walk.

There were a lot of young people walking along the lanes of this area at this time of the morning and I realised they were heading towards the Universita Ca Foscari in the area of Zattere. It was situated right on the Canale della Giudecca, opposite the island of Giudecca. I was able to make my way around the university, cross Ponte Longo and I was on the path that took me along the edge of Canale della Guidecca

We had taken a ferry ride home to Ferrovia the previous day and I had spotted a group of statues just along from the Zattere Ferry stop. I was very pleased as I began my walk along this main canal to stumble on this sculptural group. It was a monument to Antonio Vivaldi and the sculpture was by Gianni Arico, completed in 2006.

It was a lovely walk along the path that ran beside this busy canal, particularly given the the views over the Canale della Guidecca to the major buildings on the other side of the canal.

The image above is from a trip to Venice and the Canale della Giudecca that my wife and I had taken in 2011. Across the canal can be seen the huge hotel, Molino Stucky. It was originally built as a flour mill and a pasta factory. The factory closed in 1955 and it was restored to become a hotel in the Hilton Hotels chain, opening in 2007.

A little further along the canal I was lured off the main path by what appeared to be a repair workshop for damaged gondolas (left above). It was just in front of San Travaso, a church dedicated to two early Christian martyrs, Saints Gervasius and Protasius from the second century who are the patron saints of Milan. It is a very old church dating from the 11th century which was rebuilt by 1584. It has two paintings by Domenica Tintoretto.

Further along there were two church buildings not far from each other with their front doors facing the canal. The second and larger church was the Chiesa Santa Maria del Roasario built from 1743. It is an impressive church on the inside with plenty of Rococco decorations and sculptures to view.

Further down the ‘boardwalk’, I turned left off the canal walkway and entered Campo Sant’Agnese which was a large square outside the church of the same name. It was clearly an old church, almost a thousand years old (1081) with a number of stark trees without their leaves confirming that it was a cold and misty morning in Venice.

I was able to make my way through the Campo to a canal path that returned me to Canale della Giudecca. By now the day along the canals of Venice had turned very mysterious as fog descended and I felt sorry for the boat operators who had to make their way through the wooden pylons and the other boats still keen to get to their destinations.

I had reached Ponte de Ca Bala over the canal that basically cuts directly through Dorsoduro to the Grand canal not far from the Peggy Guggenheim Gallery. I was also approaching the end point of the Dorsoduro peninsula (image right above) and I didn’t want to take the short cut to my destination of Chiesa della Salute. However I have to say that the last section of this misty walkway challenged my bravery, reminding me of foggy scenes from my favourite film set in Venice, “Don’t Look Now” from 1973. I made it round the corner the point of Dorsoduro and found myself on the Grand Canal in front of Santa Maria della Salute. The characters in “Don’t Look Now” also travelled along this section in the Grand Canal with a great view back to Santa Maria della Salute.


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