Venice is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the world, a pearl that everyone envies us, as evidenced by the constant influx of tourists you can find at any time of the year.
The history of Venice has very ancient roots, which seem to date back to the barbarian invasions of the fifth century that pushed the inhabitants of the mainland to seek refuge in the lagoons. The Serenissima later became one of the major maritime powers of the Mediterranean, exerting its influence also in the field of art and architecture. Due to its history, Venice owes its immense artistic and architectural heritage which is admired today by the whole world. A story that hides a treasure trove of secrets. Let’s find out all of them!
Treasures of Venice: the unmissable and less known stops
Everyone knows the unmissable stops of any tour in the city of the Doges: St Mark’s Square, the only one in the city with its bell tower overlooking the lagoon offering a breathtaking view; the Bridge of Sighs and the ancient Prisons; the Rialto Bridge, a symbolic monument of the Serenissima; Doge’s Palace, ancient residence of the doge that today houses the Civic Museum; Grand Canal. In short, there are so many amazing monuments in the city, but few know its authentic treasures and most secret corners.
Treasures of Venice: the Ghetto
Many stop before they get there, losing themselves in the most famous itineraries: we’re talking about the Venetian Ghetto. It’s a district in which, since the early sixteenth century, the population of Jewish origin was concentrated. Technically, therefore, it’s the first ghetto in the world and takes its name from the term ‘getto’(meaning ‘to throw’), since the foundries of the city were located in that area.
The Ghetto appears as an island that can only be accessed by two bridges which, in ancient times, were blocked by two gates that were closed and guarded at night. From here the inhabitants could go out only during the day and were also marked by strange symbols. In the Ghetto many synagogues arose, only two of which are open nowadays and can be visited with guided tours.
Treasures of Venice: Ca’ Dario
Another must-see not known by all is the Ca’ Dario, a palace located on the Grand Canal and built by Giovanni Dario in 1479. It is distinguished by the asymmetric façade about 10 meters wide and completely decorated in marble, as well as the interiors. At the beginning of the 20th century Monet made it the protagonist of one of his series of paintings at different times of the day.
The palace earned the fame of “cursed palace” because of the tragic ends that have united all its owners, who died suicides, by illness or in mysterious circumstances, the last of these was the bassist of the Who, who died of a heart attack after having stayed there for a week. Currently the owner is unknown and the building is undergoing renovation.
Treasures of Venice: home of Marco Polo and the Marciana Library
Near the church of San Giovanni Crisostomo is the Corte del Milion which seems to have been the home ofMarco Polo. The house you see today is not the original one but on its facade we find a commemorative plaque.
If you love books you can’t miss the stop at the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, where you can browse the pages of the first novel ever published: the Hypnerotomatochia Poliphili by Francesco Colonna dating back to 1499, or find the first pocket book. The Library houses around one million volumes and over eighteen thousand manuscripts. The first group of books in the library was the personal collection of Francesco Petrarca donated in 1362.
Treasures of Venice: the Archaeological Museum
The heart of the city also houses an important archaeological museum little known even to the Venetians themselves, which is located between the Marciana Library and the Napoleonic Wing and holds many finds from the Greek and Roman times, including the statue of Marco Agrippa who was originally located on the Pantheon in Rome.
There are so many hidden treasures guarded by this city….you can rely on some expert guide or set out to a solo discovery. In any case, Venetian history deserves to be known in all its facets. Have fun discovering all the hidden treasures of Venice and then let me know how it went.. Good luck