A few days ago on my way towards Rialto I chose to go there crossing one of my favorite campi in Venice, Campo Santa Maria Formosa, located in the quiet sestriere of Castello. From here it isjust a seven minutes stroll to Rialto. Campo Santa Maria Formosa is quite spacious, complete with week-day market stalls, bar, trattorie, and hotels facing this lively campo. When I was there on a quiet Friday Morning at 9 am, this gave me time to stop and take a few pictures, as on that day I was looking out to take pictures to add to my collection of little Venetian roof gardens that have always been so popular in Venice and that are called “altane“. With the houses of Venice becoming ever higher from the 14th century onwards, the altane were the place to take in fresh air, dry the laundry, take the sun. Venetian women also used the altane to take the sun and dye their hair by using a particular paste, let it dry in the sun and achieve a special reddish blonde tint, as I was once told by a Venetian hairdresser.
But before we look at some altane, from which the view of the campo below must be astonishing and revealing new perspectives, I invite you to follow me on this short walk. Entering the campo from the small alley Ruga Giuffa, you get a marvelous view of the bridges crossing the Rio di Santa Maria Formosa
Having stepped out into the Campo, I cannot help looking for the bar gelateria with its huge dark green sun shades, where Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa opens up into the Campo. As a child back in the 1990s in Venice, I used to come here to visit a rather grey-black cat sitting on the cafe’s chairs and even on the tables they place in the Campo, alongside with the guests, with whom it was a favorite, all year long, even in winter. I remember the cat sitting here on the table in the Campo next to me when I was enjoying a cup of cioccolata calda molto densa. few things have changed since then, for example the Hotel Vitturini has opened here, alongside with the traditional Hotel Scandinavia
I will come back later in this blog with many more pictures on the traditional roof gardens, altane and liagò that are well established architectonic elements in Venice, and that provide a respite from the heavy moist air and a haven for rest to Venetians on the many hot summer evenings that you can experience here from May through September.