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Enthusiasm for the city’s industrial development and the increasing focus on its role as a tourist destination actually resulted in plans for trains to arrive directly at St. Mark’s square. This very odd idea involved the creation of a railway station on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, which thus would have facilitated the flow of tourists into the very heart of Venice. In 1852, the entrepreneur Busetto, nicknamed Fisola, also defended the project of the architect Cadorin for a magnificent GRAN HOTEL THERMAL on Riva degli Schiavoni, very close to the Doge’s Palace. However, the project never got beyond the drawing-board stage.


Ever since the 16th century, there had been talk of the need to build another bridge over the Gran Canal. By itself, the Rialto Bridge did not make it easy to pass from one side of the waterway to the other. The first project was, however, only presented in 1838, by the engineer Giuseppe Salvadori, head of the Pubblic Works office in Venice. This structure would have linked Santa Maria del Giglio (in the sestiere of San Marco) to the sestiere of Dorsoduro, where the Zattere was becoming one of the hubs of commercial activity within the city. However, it was ultimately the English engineer Neville, owner of the iron foundry at San Rocco and specialist in the building of steel structures, who designed the first bridge, built in 1853. This bridge remained in use until 1933, when it was replaced by the wooden structure that was subsequently replaced by the bridge that exists today.


Le Corbuiser’s new hospital was to stand in the area of the new city abattoir of San Giobbe, yet the plan was never put into effect. In 1965, the famous Swiss architect signed the contract defining the specifications and the actual timetable of the work, but he died a few months later. The buildings were left as they stood, empty, and have only recently been refurbished to house the Economics Faculty of Ca’ Foscari University. The project plans can been seen in the library of the Scuola Grande di San Marco.

Venice is unique in all the world: for centuries it was one of the richest and most powerful State in Europe. Over the years its inhabitants have embellished it with magnificent buildings and splendid works of art. Famous artist, but also architects and sculptors, writers and musicians, military leaders and travellers were born and worked in Venice. Some of them you might know through the works of genius that they have left here; others travelled and created magnificent works in courts all over Europe. We want to introduce you one of the most important…but you’ll discover lots of others in the churches and amongst the calli of this magical city.

Jacopo Robusti, know as TINTORETTO, was born in 1500. He was called Tintoretto because his father was a cloth-dyer (tintore). From a very early age he had a passion for paints which he would steal and use to paint the walls of his father’s workshop. Vivacious and highly spirited, they also called him “granelo de pevere” or grain of pepper! But he was extremely good at his work, becoming one of the most famous painters in the world. He painted scenes from the Bible or stories about Venice, but always included lots of details from the everyday life of his time; the cat on a bed-warmer, a sumptuous banquet, an old lady spinning….

His daughter, Marietta, imitated him from an early age and was to become famous for her portraits of rich and important people. She was nicknamed…Tintoretta! Their house is in sestiere Cannaregio next to the ponte dei Mori.

To get to know this painter better all you have to do is wander round the churches, buildings and museums of Venice. During our free tours - Free Walk in Venice, we’ll tell you the places where his most famous paintings are: the Doge’s Palace, Gallerie dell’Accademia, San Trovaso Church, Scuola Grande di San Rocco and Madonna dell’Orto Church…go find him!

The northern Adriatic Sea governs the lagoon of Venice's ecosystem with its tides that enter and exist the lagoon twice a day, approx. every 5 hours and 40 minutes, through three lagoon inlets, reaching two maximums and two minimums.
The average range of tides heights in the lagoon is about 1 m. Nevertheless, the tidal level is subject to important variations, above all in relation to astronomical and meteorological factors. When the tide grows to the point of provoking floods in the historic sites of the lagoon, the so-called phenomenon of acqua alta occurs.
The most devastating floods that affected Venice and Florence in the last 150 years were on November 4th 1966, exactly 50 years ago.
More archive pictures from the 1966 floods at the following links:
Free Walk in Venice by Isola Tour'll help you to understand deeply the fragile lagoon of Venice.
If you want to learn more book your favourite free tour with us !

Do you like the Italian coffee "espresso"?

Europeans got their first taste of coffee in 1615 when Venetian merchants who had become acquainted with the drink in Istanbul carried it back with them to Venice. Venetian merchants followed the sea routes that linked the far east with Venice and Naples, bringing the first bags of coffee in their city. At first, the beverage was sold on the street by lemonade vendors, but in 1645 the first coffeehouse opened in Italy. Coffeehouse soon sprang up all over the country and they become a platform for people, especially artists and students to come together and chat…then it is certain that Venice was the first place in Italy where people experienced the delicious aroma of coffee! Historical documents revealed that the ambassador in Costantinople Gianfrancesco Morosini was the first to mention the coffee in a report to the senate of Venice in 1585. Some ancient papers testify that in Venice the coffee was very expensive and considered a valuable medicine (prepared as infusion with powder of roasted coffee beans). Towards the end of the century, the infusion of coffee became so popular and required by the people, and the senate issued a special order and it procured and imported larger quantities of coffee for the city of Venice.


The first coffee shop was opened by Turkish traders in Saint Mark’s square under the Procuratie Nuove.  Given the success in a short time it opened more than 200 coffee shop throughout the city. In 1720 was opened the CAFÉ’ FLORIAN , which boasted a long line of illustrious clients, such as: Giacomo Casanova, Carlo Goldoni and Lord Byron. Equally important are two other historic coffee in Saint Mark’s square: CAFFE’ QUADRI and CAFFE’ LAVENA , the first opened in 1775 and the second in 1750.



If you want to discover more about the daily life in Venice book your free tour by Isola Tour , the original Free Walk in Venice! :)


Enjoy a hot cup of coffee!

Venice is made up of a group of 126 (116-118?) islands joined together by about 400 bridges. Everywhere you go in Venice you will be walking over numerous bridges. The majority of them are for public access around the city but a fair few of them are privately owned, allowing access to homes or groups of houses.The Bridges of Venice are told to be exact 391, between public and private, not counting the islands, even the largest as the Giudecca, Murano, Burano and Torcello, whose bridges are counted separately.

When moving to Venice you must be provided with a pair of comfortable shoes to cross with relative ease the bridges that are encountered in the path that it was decided to undertake. The Venetians no longer count as bridges cross in their daily travels in Venice, while a tourist, unaccustomed to long walk, much less to climb the many steps, each bridge could become a torture, every step a stab at the side of the plant feet. Originally it was not as many as today. It was flat and made of wood, as still seen in Plant from bird's eye of Jacopo de Barbari, then, over the years, built arched, stepped, stone and brick . When were flat or with steps lower, deeper, to Venice circulating the carriages and the horses could graze in the fields at that time were not paved with stones.

Certainly the first wooden bridge was built immediately after the ducal seat was moved from Malamocco to Rialto in 813, enters the first stone bridge, as we read in Diaries of Marin sanudo, was built a few centuries later by the Doge Pietro Sardonico near the  Chiesa di San Zaccaria. Then came the first time worked to the Istrian stone which, from that time up to our days, was always used in all large buildings in the city.

But the king of all the bridges he has remained, the Mister Rialto Bridge, that with wide arch of 28 meters wide and 22 meters high above the center line of tide 7.5 meters, crosses the Grand Canal. This bridge sums up in its former name the whole glorious history of the life of Venice commercial and seafaring: majestic giant that, as a triumphal arch thrown on the Grand Canal, has always dominated in all the popular festivities Venetian and still dominates particularly in Historical Regatta, which assists, silent witness to the passing of the colorful procession of Bissone, the Venetian Gondola dressed up to the nines, infiorate boats and fast Gondolini who compete to get to top four in bandiera, as in past centuries was covered with damask drapes to greet the Bucintoro blazing golds and silvers.



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Free Walk in Venice tours TEAM

Free Walk in Venice is just the first project of the Isola Tour non-profit Association, officially registered in 2014 by Venice lovers and professionals in the tourism sector as well as cultural and heritage managers.

We help our guest and supporters of our Association to know the real and hidden Venice that we love..through the original free tours of Venice!

We are friendly, greeters and passionate ambassadors of the city, and we’ll help you to discover the most amazing spots, beautiful areas faraway from the tourist ones.

We believe in fairness and our mission is to make you feel at ease during your stay.

This is why we promote only Venetian cuisine giving you the best tips about it and providing information about the best ways to transportation and to choose tickets to museum and various attractions.

We don’t believe in boredom and this is why we love interaction and exchange with our guests for a nice and relaxing walk speaking about the most curious and hidden aspects of the city.

- Supporting the promotion of tourism and sightseeing.
- The development of contacts and cooperation between people.
- Helping people to save money and time during their stay


Do you want to know people coming from different parts of the world, discovering the real hidden Venice? Wear your best smile and join FREE WALK IN VENICE, our Venice free tour ! - English activities Everyday - italiano su richiesta per gruppi -


freewalkinvenice by isolatour_ fondaco

Soon we'll give you more info about new proposals for you.

So far.. just try to guess what Free Walk in Venice by Isola Tour is organising for you!

Well, we can start telling you about a hidden gem in Venice: Scala Contarini del Bovolo

In the history of cinema, since the beginning Venice has been chosen by many directors as a backdrop for movies, some are real masterpiece in  the history of cinema.


For exemple, in 1949 the  English director Orson Welles began filming a famous literary classic: Othello by William Shakespeare, whose first act was set in Venice.

A lack of funds was the first one between the many problems this movie had. Anyway, above all, the bad character of Orson Welles who even went as far as forcing five lead actresses in the role of Desdemona (the unhappy wife killed by Otello's, who was mad with jealousy) to abandon the set.

Because of the continuing delays, many scenes, which were supposed to be shot in Morocco, had to be shot in our Venice and therefore only saw the light in 1952.

As you know Shakespeare set the final act of the tragedy in Cyprus that was a Venetian colony and yet in the film we can see the Doge's Palace gate... but in the movie we can see also the famous Contarini spiral staircase of the Palazzo in San Luca, called Contarini del Bovolo ( in Venetian means spiral or snail).

This incredible staricase, dated 1499, was recently (this year) reopened to the public and you can climb the stairs; the view is absolutely worth the cost of the ticket (just 5 euro).

Venice is a real film location in the open air. In addition to Orson Wells'  Othello many films or scenes that remain immortal in the history of cinema were shot... do you want to learn more? Stay tuned!


02 Scala Contarini del Bovolo

Do you want to know what to do in venice?

Do you want to know people coming from different parts of the world, discovering the real hidden Venice?

Wear your best smile and join FREE WALK IN VENICE, our Venice free tour ! - English activities Everyday - italiano su richiesta per gruppi-

4 meeting points, unlimited knowledge and fun! :)



I do not know if it respects the Jewish tradition, certainly it was an attraction to our Guests of Venice who visited the Ghetto with us! Sukkot is a Jewish Festival related to the way the Jewish people lived while wandering in the desert for 40 years (Leviticus 23, 42-43). As they moved from one place to another they built tents or booths, called sukkot, that gave them temporary shelter in the desert. Sukkot is also known as the Festival of Booths and the Feast of Tabernacles. For more information about Sukkot, please visit the site at this link:
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Building a Sukkah on a Rio close to the Ghetto of Venice
Building a Sukkah in the Ghetto October 2016a

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02 Scala Contarini del Bovolo

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