Venice and the East
Venice crossroads of cultures, a bridge between the religions of the East and privileged port. Oriental Venice, above all, because relationships are always close by. Trades and exchanges, trade, import of silks, ships coming and going. Between 800 and 1000 the route to the East was more of a highway. And the influences are heard and seen, touching the stones and mosaics of its churches and palaces. The most visible example is the incomparable St. Mark’s Basilica, Byzantine in its architectural design, which was then in the mosaic its highest expression. We propose some steps that are critical to discover the seductive oriental atmosphere that you breathe in the lagoon.
The Grand Canal on board of a vaporetto line 1 or 2, you can admire the beautiful building nicknamed Fontego externally or Fondaco of Turks, now the Museum of Natural History (San Stae stop ACTV). Leased to Turkish merchants in the first half of 1600 , which exposed the porch all of its merchandise , its importance was less when stopped businesses and trade with the East after the fall of the Venetian Republic .
In the same district, in Santa Croce , on the top floor of Ca ‘ Pesaro is home to the Museum of Oriental Art (open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 to 18). You can stop by to visit because it is very rich : it has, in fact, one of the world’s most important collections of Japanese art from the Edo period, over 30,000 pieces including swords and daggers, Japanese armor , lacquer and porcelain.
If you get off at Rialto head at this point towards Campo San Bortolomio: two minutes from here you will be in Campiello del Milion, where once stood the home of the legendary Venetian merchant and traveler Marco Polo, the man who traveled the Silk Road . It seems that the real Marco Polo’s house was destroyed in a raging fire, however, recent archaeological excavations carried out at the nearby theater Malibran made it possible to pinpoint the location of the house traveler author of the famous book “The Million” .
Continuing in the direction of the Campo dei Gesuiti will find a palace closed, you can view only from the outside: Palazzo Zeno, residence of the Zeno family. Along the ledge that borders the roof, in fact, you can see the bas-reliefs depicting palm trees and camels as evidence of the close trade and diplomatic relations with the Venetian family of the East.
Continuing in the direction of the famous and picturesque Campo dei Mori , you will come to the palace Mastelli much more commonly known as “Del camel .” The table shows the Rio fragments of friezes and patere Byzantine reliefs with foliage and a camel with its driver. On the right, also, there is a fountain in Arabic style. Here history and legends intertwine. Certainly we know that the palace belonged to the brothers merchants, fled in 1100 from the Morea to Venice. The appearance of these brothers can be found in the statues that decorate the field. Here, too , it seems that in addition to being merchants, the brothers managed a bank: legend has it that, after having cheated a blind very religious, their bodies have turned into stone statues. The most famous of these is Signor Antonio Rioba, which in the nineteenth century lost the nose for an act of vandalism. That stone was replaced with a iron. Rub it, they said, good luck .
Finally, continuing towards the Stada Nova before the Ponte delle Guglie, you should make a stop at Torrefazione Marchi, founded in 1930. A great end of your day will savor the black potion offer , so goes the story, by the Archangel Gabriel to Muhammad in roasting where this is still tough coffee per minute.