May 2001

You may click on most images for a larger view.

Travel books recommend entering Venice with a long ride among the gondolas past the palazzi along the Grand Canal, but we didn't. Our vaporetto took the short route on the Guidecca Canal. We traveled in work-day traffic through barges loaded with bags of cement, boats with small cranes, water taxis, delivery boats of all kinds, and the huge white Lido car ferry.

On the lefthand side of the Canal we saw the back of the Dorsoduro district, where lots of boats filled with construction material and equipment were docked. Also docked there, was a large Greek passenger liner. On the righthand side was the long Isola della Guidecca, where the guide books say a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere can be found, also the luxurious Cipirani Hotel.

When at last we made a stop at Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, with its scaffolded and shrouded church, we looked across the Bascino and saw the Venice of painting and postcard. In the Bascino, the gondolas joined the other small boats.

The Campanile, the Doge's Palace and the domes of San Marco — but wait, there are cranes, and the better part of the Doge's Palace is draped with an enormous shroud — renovations for the millennium are going on. Guess we'll have to buy a postcard for this view!

A vaporetto (those seats in the bow are the best) crosses our path as we leave Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore over the Bascino to San Zaccaria.

The San Zaccaria Vaporetto landings on the Riva degli Schiavoni. From early morning to evening crowds of visitors land here. The water in the foreground is the Rio del Vin, a small canal where the necessities of life, including vin and gelato, are unloaded from boats for the many hotels and restaurants nearby. We missed the entrance of the narrow Calle del Vin amidst the souvenir vendors and general afternoon bustle.

Our vaporetto zipped across to the San Zaccaria landing and we stepped out onto the Riva degli Schiavoni. There, we fastened our bags on our luggage-kart and got lost for the first time in Venice. Well, not really lost, we just managed to walk the long way around the block to the hotel.

Carabinieri House. Church of San Zaccaria.
We saw a Carabinieri station and then the church of San Zaccaria. I realized where the hotel was then, because I'd studied the map several times at home and actually knew where it was in relation to that church. I convinced Robin to follow me to a little street at the west end of the square, then down two narrow alleys and out into the little Campiello del Vin where we saw our hotel.

Our room was on the top floor; it was spacious with a high beamed ceiling and two windows on the little Campiello. After a bit we left it to explore the city.

The canals were a beautiful bluegreen color. They seemed fresh and the water smelled like the sea. There was also the occasional fragrance of flowers -- daphne and jasmine -- that floated over walls to let us know that there were gardens hidden from sight. A tourist we met told us she would avoid eating any seafood in Venice because of polluted waters in the lagoon, but we decided not to worry.

The Calle del Vin and the Hotel Campiello, formerly a convent. At the end of the calle is the Bascino across which can be seen the dome of San Giorgio Maggiore.

You can see more of the Hotel Campiello at its website. The two rooms we stayed in are shown there, too.

Follow the green arrow to the Campiello del Vin. Below are three views, two from our 3rd (or as numbered in Italy 2nd) floor window and one from the Calle del Vin looking North.

The object in the center of the campiello is a the wellhead of its cistern. Rainwater was once collected from the roofs and filtered through sand into the cistern. Now the water is piped in from the alps.

At the north end of the campiello is the Ristorante Malamocco, looks inviting... but we ate around the corner at Trattoria de Nino, outside on a raised deck under a canvas awning. Delicious food and friendly service.

From our hotel window: Venetian red... Morning in the Campiello del Vin with cistern, deliveryman. Campiello del Vin looking north.


Back to:
The Road to Venice
To come:
Venice - II
© October, 2001, Margaret Lew, Robin Lew