In this tour will explore one section of Castello the largest of the six Venetian districts or sestieri occupying the most easternmost part of the city.
The name originated from a castle existing when Venice didn’t exist yet and it was just a Byzantine garrison, it was in the present island of san Pietro and seat of the former bishopry established in the 8th century.
This district of Venice is extremely engaging because it offers some of the most typical and popular urban areas in town still inhabited by locals mostly where mask and souvenir shops are unseen providing then a true Venetian ambiance.
At the same time Castello has some great architectural and artistic features some of which will be visited during the tour, among these the two most important are the Arsenal’s gate and the Franciscan church of san Francesco della Vigna.
The Arsenal is truly imposing, covering an area of 79 acres it includes huge warehouses and shelters once used to build the military ships of the Venetian State, the entire area is encompassed by high and thick walls. We’ll walk along the walls and see the entrance gate one of the most beautiful corners of Venice decorated with many statues including two giant lions.
The Franciscan church is a ‘must see’ for any art and architect lover. Built in the 16th century under the patronage of the noblest and wealthiest families seeking for the ‘ultimate’ parish church, this building is a true art showcase with works from Veronese and Bellini and entire marble chapel designed by the Lombardo family. And this is the place where you can grasp the solemn atmosphere of the Franciscan monks visiting the cloisters.
To recall that in the past Venice was a leading center of production of great crafts, during this tour we’ll also visit a local artist’s studio where marbling paper is hand-made according to the traditional technique. You’ll see the master artisan working at very close range so you can understand the entire process of printing on water.
We’ll cross later a truly picturesque and authentic area, in case it is a sunny day you’l love to take pictures of the hanging multicolor linen across canals and streets. And we’ll finally reach the ‘last island’ in Venice where the huge former cathedral still stands named after saint Peter. Sit on a bench by the lawn, get some rest and enjoy the peacefulness of the place before you start your way back into ‘town’