Although Santa Croce, named after the church and monastery that once existed here, is just across the canal from the railway station, tourists bypass the majority of this district’s small squares and narrow alleys while following signs for the Rialto and San Marco, keeping it tranquil and unhurried.
Campo San Giacomo dall’Orio is a small, modest square named after its church, where you’ll find locals chatting on benches and in cafés and children playing together.
Sightseeing in Santa Croce
Fondaco dei Turchi
Constructed as a private residence on the Grand Canal in the 13th century and later purchased by the Duke of Ferrara in 1381, this palace’s name derives from one of its most important functions when it was used by Turkish merchants as a commerce and living center from the 17th to 19th centuries. Since 1923 the fondaco has housed the Museum of Natural History. Although the museum was undergoing restoration work at time of publication, two of its exhibits are open to the public – one an aquarium that reproduces part of the lagoon ecosystem, and the other a dinosaur fossil exhibit. The best place to truly appreciate the magnificent exterior of the Fondaco dei Turchi is from across the canal.
Some consider this grand structure designed by Baldassare Longhena to be the most important Baroque palazzo in Venice. Today it houses the Museo d’Arte Moderna with its collection of 19th- and 20th-century paintings and sculptures by Klimt, Chagall, Kandinsky, Klee, Matisse, De Chirico and Moore.
With seven doges in the family, the patrician Mocenigo family had an unmistakable influence on Venetian society and the elegantly frescoed interior of their Grand Canal residence reflects that. The palace now houses a textiles and clothing museum, Museo di Palazzo Mocenigo Centro Studi di Storia del Tessuto e del Costume.
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