MADONNA DELL’ORTO. Orto means kitchen garden, as once this part of the city used to be cultivated.
Even now it’s very green, full of peaceful and romantic giardini segreti (private secret gardens with high brick walls all around).
The place is near to the ancient ABBAZIA DI VAL VERDE (Green Valley Abbey, from the name of the island in which it was founded in the X century).
In the close CAMPO DELL’ABBAZIA decorated with pavimentazione a spina di pesce (fish-bones pavement), it’s possibile to admire the beautiful CHURCH OF SANTA MARIA DELL’ABBAZIA, now closed, with original statues of the Classic period.
Nearby you can have a glimpse at one of the most wonderful gardens of the area belonging to the old Abbey, whose external painting is now at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Just in front there is the SCUOLA VECCHIA DELLA MISERICORDIA, uncompleted work by the Renaissance architect Sansovino that, strange enough, until the ’70s has been the Training Palasport for the Venetian Basketball Team (!).
In the surrondings we suggest to see:
1. The house of the Reinassance painter TINTORETTO, whose old painting atelier is now the Stamperia Tintoretto offering Intensive Art Classes all the year round (Sculpture, Watercolour ecc.).
2. CAMPO DEI MORI, the Arabian quartier where silk and spice merchants coming from Morea (now Peloponneso, once under the Turks) used to live.
PALAZZO DEL CAMMELLO (Camel Palace) was the residence of the Mastelli family, whose Mori (moorish because of their dark skin) are rapresented by the statues with turbants and oriental garments in the campo.
3. The gothic CHURCH OF MADONNA DELL’ORTO with painting by Tintoretto, who’s buried here, and Cima da Conegliano.
4. The JEWISH GHETTO, caracterized by the unusual hight of the buildings where the Hebrew in Venice used to live selling rags, lending money and curing people as doctors. The international word ghetto was referred to the area in which there was a foundery (el gheto in Venetian).
It is possibile to visit the Hebrew Museum and the five Synagogues.
5. CA’ D’ORO, astonishing flourished Gothic palace facing the Grand Canal with a rich Art colletion that is possible to visit.
6. PONTE SAN FELICE, the last bridge in Venice without railings. There is just another one like this on the island of Torcello