Castello: the different side of Venice

As touristic as it may sound, a trip to Venice during the Carnival period will be definitely unforgettable…

A lot of people from all over the world travel to one of the most famous carnival festivals to see up close the harlequins, doges, dominoes, and Venetian masks.

But the “City of water” is not just the city of bridges and canals.

St. Mark's Square Venice Italy
We are moving away from St. Mark’s Square
© Konstantina Gkatzouna,

Wandering without a map

And while all the visitors were walking on the tourist paths, I got lost in the alleys and neighborhoods where I met only locals. In every corner I passed, another Venice was opening in front of me, calmer and more romantic.

The calm side of Venice Italy
The calm side of Venice
© Konstantina Gkatzouna,

Crossing St. Mark’s Basilica and walking for 15 minutes on the sidewalk along the lagoon (a place where I enjoyed the sun and the open air), I am now in the Castello area. The buildings are relatively newer than those in central Venice and the alleys are wider. I realize how much I like this side of Venice, and how much I would like to explore everything in the lives of the inhabitants away from the many tourist attractions of the “floating city”. I saw people playing sports, cycling, young children playing, and hunting in the parks.

Viale Giuseppe Garibaldi is a pedestrian street full of trees, where you can sit on benches and enjoy coolness and shade, after so much walking (especially in the summer months!). At the beginning of the sidewalk, I stopped at Caffe La Serra– it looks like a greenhouse from outside. There are many types of plants inside and at one of its tiny tables, you can enjoy a cappuccino and taste snacks like carrot cake, multigrain toast with chicken, and much more.

Viale Giuseppe Garibaldi
Viale Giuseppe Garibaldi
© Konstantina Gkatzouna,
Caffe La Serra Venice Italy
Caffe La Serra
© Konstantina Gkatzouna,

Walking in Park delle Rimembranze

Park delle Rimembranze is a green landscape that reminds you that you are not in Venice but in a European capital. Not at all touristic, but very quiet with playgrounds and fields, a different view of Venice. Returning back to the center of Venice, I decided to explore the straits behind Viale Giuseppe Garibaldi. Admiring the Museum of Maritime History of Venice (Museo Storico Navale di Venezia), I headed to the right, and at the end of the route, I found the Old Venetian Shipyards (Venetian Arsenal). You can stop at the bridge for photos and then get lost in the alleys, discovering the beautiful courtyards of the houses. Colorful gardens, low houses, laundries, compose Castello neighborhoods.

venetian shipyards
Venetian shipyards
© Konstantina Gkatzouna,

Small local restaurants with not so many people were enjoying a glass of wine and local side dishes, small shops with vegetables and fruits, and a mini-market are located in every corner to serve the residents in the neighborhoods.

Alleys of Venice Italy
Alley of Venice
© Κωνσταντίνα Γκατζούνα,

In these streets, I found a special shop with murano glass jewelry. I asked the owner to make a pair of red earrings (a gift for my mum) and he made them immediately in front of me. A great idea for a special and original gift!

Check here “The deepest artistic secrets of Venice, Italy

The Greek color in the heart of Venice

Heading to San Marco Square, I suddenly saw a Greek flag. I was on the dei Greci Bridge, in the old neighborhood of the Greeks of Venice, at the site of the Metropolitan Church of St. George of the Greeks (Chiesa di San Giorgio dei Greci) with its imposing bell tower from the 16th century. I entered the temple where I met the benevolent priest together with the lady who was helping with the work of the temple.

The Greek church of St. George
The Greek church of St. George
© Konstantina Gkatzouna,

I hope I traveled you with my own way to the neighborhoods of Venice.

By Konstantina Gkatzouna

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