Sunday, August 19, 2012

Rio Terra S. Vio to Calle del Navaro, Dorsoduro

On a wall in Venice even a basketball hoop can invite aesthetic or historical contemplation
Detail of the above photo
The short straight stroll from Rio Terra San Vio to the end of Calle del Navaro takes you from what must be one of the newest and most contemporary instances of architectural ornamentation in Venice (pictured above) to what seems to be among the oldest.

It also takes you past a charming facade with a carved Christ on each corner dated 1681. One of the two Christs in particular retains a good deal of muddy pigmentation that makes me wonder how they must have originally appeared.

The 7 August 2012 post of the excellent blog focuses on this building and its immediate surroundings, with particularly nice photos of its flower-laden balconies. Click on the link above to go there.

How different the aim and method of certain sculptures come to seem when one is reminded by pigment traces that they were once painted
But it was the arched doorway into the courtyard of an apartment building near the end of Calle del Navaro that held my attention the longest. Carved of granular white stone, it seems to considerably predate not only its neighboring buildings but the very wall into which it is presently set--closer in spirit to the cloister of San Gregorio (near Santa Maria della Salute) for example, than anything in its immediate vicinity. But I've found out nothing about its history, so for me at least it remains an evocative mystery.


  1. Lovely finds!
    The wonderful arched doorway looks to me like it might possibly be of Byzantine origin. Could be a part brought from old Torcello when people broke down their buildings and moved the materials to the new place which was to be Venice - later.
    But could also be a piece of booty from eastern oltre mare colonies, maybe even of the sack of Konstantinoupolis... Venice is full of spoils, you know.

    You could ask the professionals of

    1. Thank you, Brigitte, for your ideas about the origins of the doorway; I was hoping some knowledgeable person might have some.

      It's funny that you mention how people moved their buildings from Torcello, as I'm still rather blown away by the fact (only recently learned by me) that much of Mazzorbo's once Grand Canal was moved in a similar manner when that once prominent community lost its sway to upstart Venice.

      It's also interesting to think, as you suggest, of the arch being transported complete from one of the Republic's distant holdings. You remind me that I still haven't gotten a book about Dorsoduro that Yvonne found in the Rio Toletta bookstore, which may have info on this arch. Or perhaps I should, as you also suggest, ask the pros.

      Thanks again.