The Guide to Essential Italy – Lectures 35 & 36

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Saturday, Nov 5, 2016, 4:00 pm

Edgewood Auditorium
575 Osgood Street
North Andover, MA

Lecture 35 – The Rialto and Sestiere San Polo – Auditorium

The name Rialto comes from the Latin phrase rivus altus, meaning “stream of high water.” In fact, as this point in the Grand Canal, there is a natural channel deep enough for fair-sized vessels, but it was only in 1181 that a fixed crossing was first erected. That makeshift affair was replaced in 1255 by an actual bridge, a steeply sloped wooden structure. In 1524, the bridge suffered a catastrophic collapse; thus, it was decided to build a more permanent structure out of stone. A design by Antonio da Ponte was selected, and construction was finished in 1591. Since then, the Rialto Bridge has come to define Venice. We’ll explore the district of the Rialto in this lecture.

Lecture 36 – Sestiere Castello and the Outer Islands

In our last lecture, we will visit the Sestiere Castello, which forms the tail of the fish that is Venice. Because much of the area toward the eastward end was dedicated to the medieval shipyards and arsenal where the Venetian fleets were built, we’ll stay closer to the western side of Castello. We’ll begin in Campo Santa Maria Formosa, the largest domestic campo in this part of the city. From there, we’ll explore in depth the Dominican church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo. We will then close our course with a visit to the outer islands of the lagoon: Isola di San Michele, Murano, Burano and Torcello.


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