Walking and talking #2: From Piazza San Marco to the Arsenale

This is an ideal walk if you enjoy the sun and want to admire the cityscape. Leave the piazza behind you and cross the bridge parallel to the bridge of sighs which used to link Palazzo Ducale to the ancient prison – Giacomo Casanova managed to escape from the Piombi prison thanks to a rope and a boat – and stroll along the fondamenta of Riva degli Schiavoni.

On your left-hand side a succession of hotels, the Danieli Excelsior, location of a famous James Bond scene (From Russia with love), the equestrian sculpture in bronze by Ettore Ferrari dedicated to Vittorio Emanuele II just in front of Hotel Londra Palace, a few meters ahead the small palace where the writer Henry James lived, a bridge on rio dei Greci, and the Chiesa of Santa Maria della Pietà, known to be the site that hosted Antonio Vivaldi’s school of music. For those interested in the life and works of the red priest, it might be worth a visit San Giovanni in Bragora in campo Bandiera e Moro, the church where he was baptised.

Back to the fondamenta after crossing a wide bridge, on your left-hand side the Arsenale. The word derives from the Arabic darsina’a meaning “house of industry”, where the ships saw the light of day. The ancient corderie were re-furbished as the site of one of the two locations of the Venice Biennale, the other one is in the island of Sant’Elena, Giardini. A green oasis in the lagoon.

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