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Cannaregio's main drag, which is also the longest street in Venice, runs parallel to the Grand Canal, and was once a canal itself. Lined with fruit and vegetable stalls near Ponte delle Guglie, quiet shops, gelaterias, and bakeries, the Strada Nova (literally, "New Street," as it was opened in 1871) serves as a pedestrian expressway from the train station to Ca' d'Oro. A number of nightspots, including Venice's only disco, have cropped up along this paved ribbon, which, although bereft of sights itself, is a convenient point of reference while exploring Cannaregio. Seen from above, this part of town seems like a wide field plowed by several long, straight canals that are linked by intersecting straight streets—not typical of Venice, where the shape of the islands usually defines the shape of the canals. But these canals were cut through a vast bed of reeds (hence the name Cannaregio, which may mean "Reed Place"), and not even the Venetians could overlook such an opportunity to make long, straight thoroughfares. The daylight reflected off the bright-green canals, wooden boats painted vivid red or blue, and the big sky visible from the fondamente make this a particularly luminous area of town. It's no surprise, perhaps, that Titian and Tintoretto had houses nearby.
Though Cannaregio has noble palaces built along the Grand Canal, the northern part of the sestiere was, and still is, a typical working-class neighborhood, where many bacari (wine bars) fill up with old card players every afternoon. The Jewish Ghetto, with its rooftop synagogues, and several striking churches are architectural highlights, while the Ca' d'Oro and the churches of Madonna dell'Orto and the Miracoli are among the most beautiful and interesting buildings in the city.
Cannaregio at a Glance
Elsewhere in Venice
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