Venice's architecture and urban development has evolved from the unique environment and cultural nature of the city. Built on a lagoon, ingenious methods of laying foundations and construction were essential, while the Republic's vast trade empire ensured a constant influx of influence from the East. Our Architecture of Venice walk aims to give you a sense of the growth in Venetian architectural styles, as well as insight into the urban planning of a city challenged by a dense population packed into a small string of islands.
We begin in Campo San Zaccaria where, opening times permitting, we will have the chance to discuss the mixture of Gothic and Renaissance styles of the church complex. Depending on the interests of the group, we may then meander toward Campo Santa Maria Formosa, where we can see the modern interventions of Carlo Scarpa and Mario Botta on the 16th century Palazzo Querini-Stampalia. The campo also gives us a chance to discuss the importance of the parish church and its role in helping define and divide sections of each neighborhood.
We will then make our way toward the Rialto to explore architecture in the historic commercial and trade district, from the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, former storehouse and lodging for German merchants turned post office, to the bridge itself. For a long period this was the only bridge across the Grand Canal, the current structure being the third incarnation. Heading toward the political seat of Venice, San Marco, we will have the chance to see some of the square, which houses fine examples of Renaissance and Baroque palaces and church facades. We will spend our time dissecting the form and function of these immense structures and their importance in glorifying the Venetian Republic to the outside world.