After visiting the essential monuments of Venice (Rialto Bridge, St. Mark’s Basilica and Square and Palazzo Ducale, among others) we felt a bit tired of the agglomerations, queues of tourists, hours of waiting and the noise of this part of the city, which is more focused to the “outside” and the visitors.
But Venice still has many more to offer and discover and if you have enough time, it’s worth spending a couple of days to discover the less mentioned areas. Let the labyrinth of canals and streets guide you: you’ll eat better and cheaper, you’ll know the Venetian people and their customs, and you’ll find picturesque and peaceful places. In short: you’ll know the true city and not only what the tour guides tell you to see. However, you still have to use your map, because you’ll need some orientation at some time, at least to go back to the hotel or to see the Great Canal.
We did one of these kinds of aimless excursions in San Polo neighbourhood.
We left our hotel (named Locanda Ovidius), by Rialto Bridge, and we went to the market in Ruga dei Oresi, where we spent a while looking and buying Murano glass, leather and souvenir handcrafted objects.
Afterwards we started the true route and headed to the fish, fruit and vegetable market. But before we arrived, we discovered a little sunny square with a terrace and we felt like staying there. There were some tourists, but we realized that most of the people were Venetians, and we asked for the same that they were drinking: spritz. This is a typical Venetian drink, made from white wine, sparkling water (or soda) and Campari (some other varieties replace it with Aperol or Cynar).
The temperature was really nice at the terrace. The waiter assigned to us a table that we shared with an Italian couple, and later with a boy who was alone.
About 12.30 h the chef prepared an enormous casserole of fried fish and polenta (a puree of pasta which is served with almost every dish). The offer was a plate of fried fish with polenta and a glass of wine for 7 €. We weren’t hungry so we decided to continue our walk.
We arrived to the fruit market and we couldn’t resist the temptation to buy a plate of fresh strawberries, which we ate as we were walking. We arrived to the fish market (Pescheria) when only the remains were left there and dozens of seagulls were trying to eat them.
Then we headed to Campo San Cassiano and Museo Ca’Pesaro, where we saw an exhibition of Venetian art and another one of Japanese weapons and utensils from the age of samurais. We also could rest a while to sit down and enjoy the air conditioner.
We continued our way to Campo de San Stae, where there is a church with sights to the Great Canal, and later we went to San Giacomo dell’Orio, where there is another church. Actually we walked aimlessly and we rested anywhere we wanted. At some point we found one of these bars where you can buy take-away pizza portions and soft drinks cans and we sat down in a little sunny square to eat a little.
Since we left the market behind we only found some tourists that, just like us, decided to ran away from the crowd.
We had to come back to the hotel, so we went to Campo di San Polo, which is the biggest square of the city, after St. Mark’s. There we found again terraces, jugglers, some peddlers and another church. Most of the balls of the famous Carnival of Venice take part at this square.
We wandered aimlessly and came back a few times to find the right way, so we were pretty tired. Slowly we headed to the hotel to rest a little before dinner.