Local Info

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Venice sestieri map, courtesy of Silvia Benedet’s blog “I diari della Lambretta”

In this section you will find useful information for a pleasant stay in Venice and on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, during the Summit.

First, Venezia Unica is an all-in-one pass to use for public transportation, admission to tourist and city attractions, cultural events in the city, and many other useful services in the City of Venice. The pass is an ideal way to organize your visit, and can help you plan your stay by getting tickets for transfers, water buses, museums, churches and much more.

Venice is wonderful and complex in its urban structure, and it is nice (and easy) to get lost in the city. In the Tourist information section of this site you will find the main city guide, in the Bars and appetizers and Restaurants sections there are suggestions for places to eat, a quick bite, or where to walk for city markets. In Services and useful information you will discover where to find the Luggage Storage Depot and how to locate a doctor or pharmacy.

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The districts of Venice in the gondola’s iron CC BY-SA 2.0

To learn about how to navigate in Venice or where to stay during the Summit go to the Transportation in Venice and Where to stay in Venice sections.

For a linguistic orientation to the tangle of streets, squares, and channels that make up the city, here are some definitions:

Calle: this is a typical street lined by buildings, syn. of via; found also all the towns of the Venetian Lagoon and surrounding, such as Caorle Chioggia, Grado, Malamocco, Mestre, Murano e Burano. According to Tassini, the calli (pl.) «are those internal road that are longer than wider». The term derives from Latino callis, “path”, from which derived also the Spanish calle, that is a street.

Campo: is the square in Venice. The only square called piazza in Venice is the famous “piazza S. Marco”, as all the others are campi. The squares in Venice were originally covered in grass and used for animal pastures. Tassini wrote in 1887: «It was quite natural that our fathers left a clearing in front of the churches for the turnout of the people who attended the sacred functions. These squares, other than that of San Marco, were called “campi” because, with planted trees in the early days and grass grown for pasturing horses, mules, and the flock, they resembled fields». A typical feature of the venetian campo is a waterwell to draw fresh water.

Campiello: dim. of campo, small square; it usually does not have a waterwell. It derives from campicello, or small field. The Italian annual literary prize known as “Premio Campiello”, whose ceremony traditionally takes place in Venice, was named after the campiello.

Canale: canal, these are the main canals of the urban waterways fabric. A canal can be flanked on one or both sides by a fondamenta that allows pedestrian passage. The most famous in Venice is the picturesque “Canal Grande”, also known as “Canalazzo”, that is the main canal that divides the historic centre. Other important canals are the “canale di Canareggio” and “canale della Giudecca”.

Corte: courtyard, a type of small square formed from the former courtyard of a building; it is equivalent to the corti found in other cities. The corte is a typical feature of the Venetian cityscape, known as corte veneziana.

Fondamenta: foundation, this is a quay along a canal, so called because it runs over the foundation of a building. A covered fondamenta is called sotoportego, while the larger ones are called riva.

Rio: stream, formerly called rivo, is a secondary canal comparable to a street. It forms the capillary-like navigable fabric of the old town. Just like a canal, a rio can be flanked on one or both sides by a fondamenta that allows pedestrian passage, but it isn’t uncommon to have no sidewalk at all. A covered rio turned into a street is called rio terà.

Riva: this is a quay just like fondamenta, but wider, longer and without parapets; it is intended as a landing place. Usually only the quays along the “Canal Grande” and “Bacino di San Marco” are called riva. One example, “Riva degli Schiavoni”, dates to the ninth century and is so named because it was a landing place for merchant ships from “Slavonia” (Dalmatia). We can also find the riva in Burano and Murano.

Salizada: were the most important streets and for this reason they were the first to be paved with the typical slabs of trachite, now widespread throughout the city, called masegni.

Sestier:  district; there are six districts in Venice, hence the name.

Sottoportego: Venetian for sottoportico, this is a covered passage in the body of a building. It can connect two streets or be the access to a canal that provides a covered loading/unloading area. Finally, some sotoporteghi run along a rio and are basically a covered fondamenta.

 Definitions taken from www.laputa.it

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