Cannaregio and The Ghetto: the district of Marco Polo and Tintoretto

A 3 hour walking tour passing by Marco Polo neighborhood, the most impressive Gesuite Church of Venice. Discovering the house and the monumental parish church of the grand Venetian painter Tintoretto. Middle Eastern merchants’ homes and the 16 th century Jewish Ghetto.

This walking tour in Cannaregio and The Ghetto is very rich in history, art, everyday life old stories and  is a way to get into one of the most authentic areas of Venice, where life still unfolds at a slow pace.

Starting our Cannaregio itinerary by the Rialto bridge, we first have a look at the neighborhood of Marco Polo; this will be the right spot to recall the incredible 27 years journey of Marco through the Silk Road and Asia. The small but precious Church of San Giovanni Crisostomo is next: this spiritual Sanctuary houses a late painting masterpiece by Giovanni Bellini, a few more works of art from the 16th century and the Madonna delle Grazie: the XVII century bust of the Virgin Mary that according to Venetians creates miracles.

We proceed then into the heart of Cannaregio, the north-east district of the city: secluded by geography from the bustling Rialto and San Marco hubs, this area still radiates an authentic Venetian ambiance.

We’ll ‘get lost’ through a mostly off-the-beaten track area and absorb the authentic Venetian atmosphere. We will pass by the Jesuit church boasting the grandest façade ever built in Venice. It houses one of the richest indoor decorations ever, where one of Tiziano’s greatest works – ‘The Martyrdom of San Laurence’ – is now on display after its painstaking restoration.

In our walk in this Cannaregio itinerary we’ll also enjoy a great view over the Laguna as we’ll walk briefly along the most northern promenade of Venice. And now deep into Cannaregio, we get to the parish of Madonna dell’Orto, the right place to praise Tintoretto who left numerous great masterpieces inside the same church where he is buried.

Close by we’ll bring back to life an oriental flavored history as we view some curious embedded stone figures of a camel and its turbaned merchant master. Around the corner, an even more surprising sculptural group of oriental men wear magnificent turbans and hold money boxes. The Mori of Venice will lead us to the house and workshop of Tintoretto, the star of Venice’s late Renaissance painting school.  Further ahead the churchless campo of the Ghetto welcomes us into the first established premises where many Jewish people from diverse provenances were obliged to reside from 1516 until 1797. Within a most restrained space, a cosmopolitan group of Jewish people contributed to both the commercial wealth of Venice and the diffusion of their own culture. At the end of this walking tour you’ll have the chance to sample wine and cicchetti (finger food) or savor a meal in a local, gourmet restaurant.

Highlights: Rialto bridge, S.Giovanni Crisostomo, Gesuits and Madonna dell’Orto churches, Campo dei Mori and Jewish Ghetto.

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