Secret passages we’ve found

I brought my stool to draw the church, but got distracted by this door!

We’ve been keeping our eyes open and exploring sottoportegos along our paths. These are covered passages between buildings, which we have found lead us to surprising places.

The first one I remember was several years ago when I ducked out of the rain at Campo Santa Margherita and met PeggySue, from Massachusetts, who was also seeking shelter. We connected and became Facebook friends and even had a visit from her in California recently.

The mysterious tower that is always closed to the public, but advertises its hours in case it is open!

I can’t take credit for discovering this interesting tower, through a sottoportego, off Campo Manin. A friend showed it to me in 2010 and then another friend showed it to me last year, and when we were wandering with friends this year, we remembered and took them in to see it. It is the scala Contarini del Bovolo, a cylindrical brick tower with five floors of spiral staircases faced with white marble banisters, built in 1499. Here is a picture. Tour guides have discovered it too, so we were lucky to get there between groups. Perhaps you saw it featured in one of Gabriana’s videos from our trip recently?

Near our apartment is Campo Bandiera e Moro o de la Bragora where we recently enjoyed an outdoor evening celebration of the autumnal equinox. See Gabriana’s blog Nosy Parker for beautiful videos of that celebration. There are two ways to get to our street from the campo. We can either walk the long way around or sneak through a sottoportego and end up almost next door to where we live! The drawing I made of a door that I liked in the campo is at the top of this post.

A window over the sottoportego with a flower box. What could this room look like?

We were pleased with ourselves when we followed another sottoportego and found a shortcut to the vaporetto Arsenale. We had been walking a more complicated route to the stop at San Marco. This new way even has ramps instead of stairs to cross the bridge! When we get on the waterbus there, it is less crowded and we can more easily get seats. Yesterday on the way home, I looked up and found a charming window garden ON the sottoportego. If you look closely, you can see flowers. I stopped to take this photo, and caught Gabriana enjoying her gelato.

We were in the alley after the sottoportego.

And I just remembered, to get to the taverna and our campiello (little campo, or courtyard) by land last year, you had to go through a sottoportego and and alley. Here is a picture of Gabriana, Abby and me sharing an umbrella one day there last year.

During that trip last year, we met Severine and Marcel, who worked at our favorite taverna, Taverna al Remer. We became Facebook friends and have kept in touch. They took us out for dinner at a bar that Marcel had just discovered… at the end of a sottoportego. Here are some pictures. It was very charming inside, with bottles lining the walls and expensive cologne in the “toilette.” I especially liked the hanging laundry over the doorway to the bar. You can see more details if you click on this photo collage I created below.

Several views of this lovely hidden bar

Several views of this lovely hidden bar

Please also check out Gabriana’s blog “Nosy Parker” to read more about our travel adventures in Venice and join in the fun with some short videos she’s created!



Filed under travel, Venice

8 responses to “Secret passages we’ve found

  1. Bert

    If you go down the ominously named Calle della Morte almost opposite your apartment, you will find an interesting doorway at 3491A. Above it, there looks like an iron disc that has almost rusted away, but, if you look closely at it, you will see that the holes are not caused by corrosion. You are also very near to the Sotoportego dei Preti, where the red heart stone is to be found.

  2. You’re in another interesting part of Venice, aren’t you! And, you’re finding lots of treasures to delight you.

  3. Bert

    That ‘fancy sotoportego’ in your photo is the one where the red heart stone is to be found.

  4. Hello Giuditta,

    I wish you the happiest birthday ever, even if you will be getting my wishws a bit too late .

    I am so glad to see that Gabriana and you are enjoying so much your beloved city .

    Lorraine .

  5. Okay, Jude! I’ve finally managed to catch up on all of your and Gabriana’s blogs on your surprise return to Venice! (‘Very busy here with the house construction, on-going battles with the HOA at the condo, all my little “granddaughters” nearby and life in general.) I am so delighted for you both that you have been able to re-visit and find new places there, too. How great that you’re re-connecting with old friends and making new ones, as well. But, I’m not at all surprised about that. Enjoy your stay and all the gelato you can hold!! Nan

  6. Karen Thomas

    How are you?

  7. Karen Thomas

    Dearest Jude,

    Life has taken me away from you.

    Please catch me up!

    I keep and re-read all your postings, and retain my very softest blessings for you always.


  8. Aren’t you a dear, Karen! Yes, let’s get together. I have the watercolor I did of the amaryllis in your office many years ago to give you.

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