San Polo Campo

In this chapter we discuss one of the most popular, lively and surprising areas of the island of Venezia, the San Polo Campo.

San Polo Campo was the theater of spectacular events, such as festivities, masquerades, ceremonies, dances and even fights of dogs and bulls. According to an ancient legend, in fact, San Polo Campo would have been an arena of the Roman city that, subsequently, was slowly demolished to obtain useful material for various constructions.

In this field stand out the bell tower and its church famous above all for the works of art it contains. Inside, in fact, we can find: "the Last Supper" by Tintoretto, which depicts the consternation of the apostles at the moment when Jesus announces that one of them will betray him and a precious ceiling that resembles a ship's hull, a unique ceiling of its kind left in Venezia. The bell tower, to the right of the entrance, is decorated by two lions of the twelfth century and is a rare example of Venetian Romanesque art.

The most dramatic event happened in 1548 with the murder of Lorenzino de 'Medici and his uncle, killed after long escaping the vengeance of the Duke of Florence, the first wanted for the killing of the duke's cousin. Since 1979, this area has once again been the scene of Carnival celebrations. Moreover, thanks to its greatness, it is the paradise of the Venetian boys who come with bicycles, skates and balloons to spend a few hours in the open air. None of these activities would have been possible in the seventeenth century, since a plaque of 1611 placed on the church, forbade any game or trade in the square, under penalty of imprisonment, service on galleys or exile.

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