The enchanted garden in the backyards of Teatro La Fenice
La vetrina di Rizzo Pane – it is not only a bakery with several outlets in town, but you also get all sorts of delicious foods and teas
A few weeks ago at the beginning of January, I went to buy organical tea (tisane) at the Rizzo Pane store in Calle Botteghe, next to Campo Santo Stefano, and decided to take a scorciatoia (short way) back home. This means I was crossing a very special place – join me for a walk around Teatro La Fenice, secret garden, ponte storto and winding canals included. Good to take this walk NOW, as by the beginning of Carnival (starting on 15 February 2014), the narrow passages a fior d’acqua around the theater will be very crowded.
Here is an area where the names of the old artisans and professions (mestieri) resounds on the nizioleti (street signs), and where a hidden corner includes not only the theataer, an artists’ zone, surrounding Il Teatro La Fenice. Here is the confluence of the two rii della Fenice and della Verona, very quiet, with the waters in the turquoise canal calm and not in the least ruffled.
The only church in Venice built above a canal: Chiesa di Santo Stefano
This is a place where you can come to if you would like to experience complete silence. Of course, there may come steps and sometimes voices resound just round the corner, but they get fainter and fainter … and you continue contemplating the still waters.
Did you know you can reach the theater also from Campo Santo Stefano? Crossing rio Santo Stefano, from where you can see the canal passing straight below the church, then walk past the Church of San Maurizio, and turn left, following the streets changing directions a few times, but always keep to the left.
Next to the Church of San Maurizio, you find these half-covered archway ..
Always on your left side, you can see some unusual views of the Church of Santo Stefano, on your way to the place we want to discover today.
You pass by hibernating boats .. this is Rio Malatin
… and enjoy some unusual views of the Campanile di Santo Stefano
For a short time, you walk along Rio di San Maurizio
Looking back towards Campiello Feltrina and Trattoria da Mario, just in front of us to the right (this is Fondamenta della Malvasia Vecchia)
Now it takes us just a few more minutes to reach Campiello Calegari (“calegheri” means “shoe-makers”), from where you can see the confluence of the two rii, della Verona to the left, and della Fenice, to the right. Here we get a view of the facade turned to the water – the porta d’acqua del teatro (water main entrance). It is here that guests arriving by gondolas enter the theater.
Campiello Calegheri and its ponte storto (connecting towards the Church of Santa Maria del Giglio)
From Campiello Calegheri, you walk up the bridge, which is the ponte storto (“contorted bridge”, as you will see..) just for the view. Then you turn back and leave the Campiello, taking the narrow passageway to the left.
The view from Ponte Storto towards the theater’s entrance looking towards the water (le porte d’acqua were the main entrances), including a ponte privato (private bridge) leading to the theater.
Continue along Calle della Fenice ..
… crossing one more bridge ..
.. from where you can see a sotoportego running all along the backside of the theater .. you can see there are still the winter flowers (cyclamen) firm in place on the balconies
Calle della Fenice … built into the theater ..
View from the Sotoportego, running alongside Rio della Verona: here I am standing with my back to the theater
And now in front of us, where the calle makes a turn away from the canal, a beautiful “secret” garden I want to present to you is located. It is some sort of ante-room to a private shop. It is open to all, so you can enter and take a look as well..
A first glimpse of the “secret garden”, located at the end of the sotoportego (archway)
The garden is half-hidden by ivy bushes, intermingled with huge emerald-colored leaves and wisteria twigs (with some of its leaves still on the branches), though wisteria leaves have turned yellow to light brown by now. The garden belongs to a small artist store.
Glicine (wisteria), oleander, palm trees, and lush ivy leaves
The ivy leaves part to make people enter into the hidden garden ..
The last leaves of glicine (wisteria) in January ..
Entrance to the enchanted garden
Evergreen leafy plants in the midst of winter ..
Beyond the garden is the canal (Rio della Fenice). Take a look at the small formal garden, decorated with pot plants on several levels
A few steps farther, the entrance to Hotel Fenice is located, on Corte del Tagliapetra
And after a few steps, it all opens up to Campo San Fantin, with lots of possibilities to stop and contemplate, or try a good lunch or coffee.. here come a few suggestions.