The Most Secret Walk in Venice:
Most maps don't even show the
cantilevered steel walkway that runs along the walls of Venice's historic
Arsenale shipyard from the Celestia waterbus stop.
ABOVE: A woman and her dog take a stroll above
the Venetian Lagoon.
Most visitors (and possibly a few Venetians)
have never heard of it, and you won't find it on many maps.
We're talking about the Calle Giazzo,
a street in Venice's historic center that's hidden in plain sight.
The street--including a cantilevered walkway made of steel grating--runs eastward
from the Celestia ACTV station, which is a short walk from the
Church of San
Francesco della Vigna in the sestiere or neighborhood of
The steel walkway is attached to the brick walls of the Arsenale,
Venice's historic shipyard, and when you walk on it, you'll be able to look down
and see the water of the Venetian Lagoon beneath your feet.
Does the walkway have any historic significance? Not really: It's a modern
construction, and it exists mostly as a convenience for residents of ACTV worker
housing and people who work at businesses and scientific institutes within the
Arsenale shipyard. But walking on the Calle Giazzo is a pleasant outing,
especially if you want to escape high-season crowds elsewhere in the city
Walking the Calle Giazzo:
BELOW: This poster, which we found pasted to a wall, gives an
overview of the Arsenale and our suggested walk. The Calle
Giazzo follows the waterfront on the northern (upper) side of the Arsenale
BELOW: Your walk starts at the Celestia vaporetto stop, which is used by ACTV
water buses and Alilaguna airport boats. You can reach Celestia by public
waterbuses 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, and 5.2, or you can easily walk from the
Church of San
Francesco della Vigna.
To the east of the boat station is a short steel bridge
that leads to the walkway along the Arsenale's walls. (You can't miss it--it's
to your left as you leave the boat pier, or to your right if you're walking
toward the pier.)
BELOW: These photos, which look back toward Celestia, show a set
of metal stairs over an archway at water level that pierces the Arsenale
shipyard's brick walls.
BELOW: Most of the steel walkway is level. (Again, we're looking
back toward Celestia. If you're walking from Celestia, the Arsenale's
brick wall will be on your right.)
BELOW: This picture illustrates the quaint Venetian custom of
picking up dog poop in a plastic bag, then throwing the bag down on the pavement
(or in a canal) instead of using a waste receptacle.
BELOW: The walkway ends with a ramp. After you've passed the
buildings in the photo, you'll find yourself back on dry land.
BELOW: This man and his two German Shepherds were out for a
stroll on the Calle Giazzo.
BELOW: After leaving the steel walkway, you'll approach and pass
a series of private courtyards with rowhouses for ACTV transit employees.
BELOW: Up ahead, you'll see the
Bacini vaporetto stop, which is used by ACTV waterbus lines 4.1, 4.2, 5.1,
5.2, and 22, along with some Alilaguna Blue Line airport boats.
BELOW: To reach the Bacini ACTV stop, go as far as you can
along the water, then cut through a brick archway and continue along the walking
path for a minute or two.
BELOW: The end of the line, in terms of walking, is the
Venezia F.C.'s soccer school.
You can see the team's stadium through the fence, but
unfortunately, the path to the stadium and the neighborhood of San Pietro is
blocked by a locked gate. To return to civilization, you'll need to retrace your
steps or catch a public water bus at Bacini.
Bonus Biennale visit:
BELOW: During the
Biennale art exhibition and the
Biennale di Archittetura,
buildings in the historic Arsenale shipyards are frequently used as exhibit
spaces. Normally, you can reach these through a gate near the Bacini vaporetto
stop and take a free shuttle boat to the pavilions. (Just follow the signs.)