A walk in Corso del Popolo
Today Chioggia is reachable from the sea and also from the land. The route from the hinterland is shorter so if you don’t have so much time you can choose it; it is not less suggestive than the other, infact the vegetation of the lagoon absorbs the colour of the sky. Parking is not so easy but Chioggia is a little city and even if you leave the car outside the centre with a five minutes walk you’ll reach it. If you arrive from the hinterland, you’ll see Porta Garibaldi, the entrance of the city. Here starts Corso del Popolo, the main square, from which radiate 73 calli (32 towards Canal Lombardo to west, 41 towards Canale S.Domenico to east).
The first stop is the Cathedral dedicated to St.Maria Assunta projected by Baldassarre Longhena, built in Romanic style. In the southern face of the Cathedral there are the Garden of Sagraéto; here stands out the stone banisters which represents La Vergine col Bambino. This is one of the most interesting point of people’s devotion called also Refugium Peccatorum. The signs of the old Channel Peròtolo are still visible, it gives also the name to the zone. The main monuments and churches face Corso del Popolo and the first one you meet, after the Cathedral, is St. Martino Vescovo Church. It was built in Late Gothic style at the end of XIV century after the war of Chioggia. It keeps inside two polyptychs of the XIV century by Paolo Veneziano. When you arrive at the crossroad with Calle St.Giacomo the promenade becomes more and more pleasant without any car from 10 to 20 and on Summer untill 1 a.m.
Calle St.Giacomo leads to Sottomarina Lido towards Isola dell’Unione.
If you stay in Chioggia near this calle there is St.Giacomo church built by Domenico Pelli. Inside it keeps the picture that reminds to the vision of the Virgin to a peasant. A few steps on, the ancient Loggia dei Bandi faces on the Corso, it is well-recognized because of its Palladian arcade. It was built in 1531 and there were proclamed the ordinances and the proclamations. Today it is the Urban Police Department.
The square nearby has a column with a big standard made by the Venetian sculptor Gioseffo Zeminiani in 1713. It is enriched by the three prisons: Giacomo, Andrea and Filippetto. They took their names from the churches they are looking at. Now we suggest to go on walking near the Loggia dei Bandi untill the Filippini Bridge. Here there is the S.S.Trinità Church built together with the Oratory in 1528. The paintings inside represents a wonderful example of late mannerist Venetian school.
The town hall is a old palace of the podestà, near there is the Palazzo Granaio, built in 1322 by the architect Matteo Caime. It has a Gothic style with 64 stone columns. In the southern facade you can see the Portale di Prisca, at the entrance of the fishmarket, sculptured by Amleto Sartori in 1940.
On the east side there is another church: the St.Andrea’s rebuilt in 1743, before there was a church of the VIII century. It has kept its Romanesque plan; inside it keeps the marble ancona into the baptistery and in the sacristy which represents the crucifixion. Also the tower has a Romanesque style, it was built in X century as civic tower.
Now you can already see the Vigo basin. The square is dominated by the column with the lion of St. Marco. It is realized in Greek marble and enriched with the bizantine base of XII century. It has been found during the excavation of the old praetorian palace and put in the square in 1786. People call it el Gato (the cat) because of the small dimension of the lion.
If you look at east Vigo bridge stands out. It is the more majestic bridge, realized in 1685 with Istrian stones and enriched in 1762 with bas-relief which represent the Annunciation and the Saint Patron of the city. On the top of the bridge you can have a wonderful view.
In Riva Vena, towards South, there is the heart of the city; the fruit and vegetables market, the buildings facing the channel, the small coloured boat look like a painting. In the morning, if it is clear sky, you can see the island of Pellestrina in the Lagoon in front of Vigo Square and looking at North-west you can see the sailing boat moored in the marina Le Saline.
If you cross Vigo Bridge you go beyond the small St.Croce Church built in 1496 now seat of Harbour Office. After another bridge you arrive in St. Domenico island. This is the laborious part of Chioggia; here there are many fishing boats and the fishmarket, where evey morning there is the auction of the typical product from the Adriatic Sea. In St. Domenico island there is the homonimus church of 700 well known also as The Santuario del Cristo. Inside it keeps the famous wooden statue of Christ and many others work of art also by Tintoretto and Carpaccio. The tower bell has Romanesque style and it was built at the end of XIII.
You can choose two different walks for coming back: the first in Riva Vena, the Second in Canale Lombardo. If you take the first one you can see many shops, little shop and taste a lot of local deliciousness (baccalà, sardèle in saor, bossolà). In this road you can see Palazzo Grassi built in 1670-1678 by Grassi family; they moved to Venice later and there they built another twin palace which is today the seat of Agnelli Foundation. Palazzo Grassi in Chioggia hosts the biology department of the University of Padua, the Clodiense Foundation and also the centre of Environmental Education. The inside garden keeps the statue of the four natural elements made in Istrian stones.
If you keep on towards South you see the convent and the church of St.Caterina built in 1384 and restored in Baroque style in 1730. If you take the second way you walk in Canal Lombardo; you can see the port and the big fishing boats. The old port was near Saloni island and the new one is outside the historical centre of Chioggia in Val da Rio. In Saloni island there are a lot of machine shop, shipyard and little typical taverns. At dusk here you can see many unforgettable sunset, the sun goes down into the Lagoon and the water turns into red.