Campi (squares) and campielli (smaller squares) are scattered about Venice. Traditionally in medieval times this term was diffused throughout all of Italy. Today there are few examples found around in the peninsula (like campo De’ Fiori), substituted by “piazza”. On the otherhand Venice, a city that strives on being unique, there is only one Piazza – Piazza San Marco – and as for campos there are about a dozen.
While strolling the streets they will unexpectedly open and give way to campi surrounded by homes and Palaces. Of course we can expect a church and well, witness to the social importance that the campi had then and even now. There are many famous campi, large and beautiful, like Campo San Polo, Campo Santa Margherita or Campo San Giacomo. Yet hidden away between alleys and canals even on less touristic itineraries you can discover numerous gems. I mean we are talking about Venice.
Campo Madonna de l’Orto
Unusual but spectacular. It is one of the few campi left that has terra cotta pavement, laid out like a fishbone. Dominating the campo is the marvelous Madonna de l’Orto church (1483) and the San Cristoforo School of Merchants. The splendid Rio della Madonna that crosses Cannaregio completes the scenery.
San Zan Degolà
Or rather San Giovanni Decollato (beheaded). Marvelous Venetian area in the Santa Croce quarter, this campo is serene and intimate. The atmosphere is priceless: the ancient roman church (XI-XII century) faces the well located in the center of the square while the calm canal outlines the perimeter with traditional gondolas.
San Trovaso (check out the picture)
This name is well known for its famous squero (where gondolas are built) and often over shadows its beautiful campo just adjacent. The pavement in campo San Trovaso is elevated in regards to the fondamenta that it borders: making it a natural stage (in fact in the past it was used as a stage for the Biennale Theater shows).
It is often over looked, being so close to Piazza San Marco and the numerous attractions that surround it, but the splendid San Zaccaria Church (first built in the IX century) is a tranquil setting even though it is in such a busy center, making it a special campo to visit.