The Castello Sestiere is located between the lagoon in the north-east and east-facing slopes and between the area of the marciana and the sestiere of Cannaregio to the South; represents the archeologically sestiere more interesting and richer in historical and geo-archaeological information.

The foundation of the settlement of San Pietro di Castello implies a centuries-old arch three distinct areas of colonization: the insula saneti Petri citra pontem, the confineum castellanum ultra pontem, and the district saneti Petri de Castello. The first corresponds to the island of Olivolo, where it was present a Byzantine Esarcal command (castrum Helibolis) on the endo-coastal navigation route of imperial age that connected Ravenna with Aquileia: there, recent excavations carried out near the Church of San Pietro, have taken over a settlement of the seventh century with remains of wooden buildings.

On the Island are attested: the episcopal district, with the cathedral church and the palatium, arisen probably on the foundations of the ancient castellum, the contiguous baptismal church of S. Giovanni, identifiable with the church of the SS. Sergio and Bacco, the homes of the archdeacon and canons, and other houses destined to mansionarii, notarii and servos (boatmen, ortolani), besides a great vineyard.

At the beginning of the fourteenth century - thanks also to numerous twentieth century real estate acquisitions - a precious catactics written by Bishop Ramperto Polo (1303-1309) documents plots and buildings in the south-western part of the island granted to the level, the whole building looks very much simplified, almost always in plano and in wooden material; much of the area reveals an original one Episcopal property. Information obtained from the deeds of concession to ecclesiastical settlements of San Daniele (1138), of Santa Maria in Jerusalem (of the Virgins, 1239), of Sant'Elena (1175 e1233) and of Sant'Andrea de Littore (della Certosa, 1199) and a sentence of the judges of Piovego, they contribute to the configuration of a vast archaic property in the lands and waters of the episcopate castellano around Olivolo.

The second area involves the Ruga field island, between the Canale di Castello, the ridellus or rivus Sanctus Danielis (current -rio de San Daniel), the rivus Sanctus Petri or de Castello (rio de Sant'Anna) and the rivus of Santa Maria delle Vergini. Until the beginning of the fourteenth century, the settlement was clear semiagrario, comprising a pecie de terra complex, vacuous or partially used for residential buildings mainly wooden: the aforementioned cadaster reports 15 domus lignee and 5 domus de Wall. On this date, however, the confineum caste 1lanum ultra pontem did not belong anymore totally to the curia: a discrete plot, in the northwest corner, is of the monastery of San Daniele, who also owns some small houses in the context of the episcopal parcelling, as well as the monastery of Santa Maria delle Vergini; and also the southwest corner and the northeastern corner result owned by individuals, or acquired by the municipality.

The regime of episcopal funds was the very ancient one of the level, whose renewal was obligatory every 29 years, granting the tenant the right to sell the land, after the right of pre-emption of the curia, which was strictly interested in the notification in which case the level was obligatory. The burden of the level was generally very slight: annually, one or two bonas gallinas, or one or two paria bonorum capponorum, but there were cases where the obligation was to solvere duas fialasboni wines or five libre (or a meter) boni et pure olei, without, apparently, the dimensions of the pecie de terra, always exactly measured, justify the considerable difference. The measurement of funds, offered by the cadaster, allows to establish with sufficient precision (together with the consideration of the current levels of the terrain, quite high along the Riello, and much lows towards the canal: cm 90,80 or less) that the island was, in the XIV century, much narrower than the current one, e that, in the 12th and 13th centuries, due to the higher level of the sea, conditions could exist discomfort or impediment for residence and crops.

Therefore, the documented subdivision can not be much earlier than the thirteenth century. It obeyed two specific road functions: that of the road that connected the confineum through a pons longus on the Canale de Castello with the sancti Petri campus (1352) - which perhaps replaced another bridge a south, attested in the 1298 -, and with another bridge on the Rio de Sancta Anna to the widest contrada, and that dependent on the aforementioned which allowed the monastery of San to be reached with other bridges Daniele and that of the Virgins. The central axis was via publica, and was partly resolved on a campus vinee (the current Ruga field), original episcopal property, also became at the beginning of the century XIV, at least in part, a public place that allows introitus et exitus to frontists and bystanders. There third settlement area, the district (the same name identifies its posterior respect al confinium), composed on the two sides of the rivus sancti Petri that ran to San Biagio along a path of about five hundred and seventy meters, with a urban layout articulated to comb - in which the individual frontists had to be obliged to guarantee their part of via comunis (le very current) along the bank -, it represented the prized and open residential place towards the city of the entire castle complex, characterized by a more dynamic relationship life than the two earlier, even for the neighboring surviving extension of the arsenal.

The district implies, necessarily, an innovative design intervention, with two fronts of terminationes first traced to 30, then to 40, finally to 50 feet away from each other, while excavation of the stream proceeded westward until it reached, at the beginning of the great curve of the Canale Maius, that swamp that in the thirties of the fourteenth century was called puncta vehelme. The streets, perpendicular to the stream, are almost always attributable to the more mature phases of urbanization, when the progressive conquest of the territory behind it, both to the north (up to the excavated Tane rivus from the commune from the end of the twenties), both to the south (up to the Channel or up to new land of reclamation of the swamp), stimulated by the creation of the first wrinkles of rent, required one frequent penetration viability. In the advanced fourteenth century, moreover, a phase of territorial transformation of the whole new, under the impetus of massive reclamation initiatives of the southern swamp, authorized by the government thanks to enterprising citizens, such as those by Marco Catapan and the magister Gualterius cerusico (1318 and 1334). This extension very considerable territory, in which it quickly found the monastery of Sant'Antonio di Vienna (1346), to which others were added in the sixteenth century (San Nicolò di Bari and San Giuseppe), he placed, following the curve of the Canal, in the eastern part of the district, while the part Western, far from both the castellan and the marciano centers, it necessarily had less dimensional development, up to the puncta vehelme, and remained above all delivered to vegetables and activities shipbuilding and crafts, privileging the maintenance of private free spaces.

The subsistent documentation of public concessions and private deeds relating to companies cited, however, authorizes many doubts, and does not allow secure placement on the ground, if not for partial aspects, such as the definition of the pertinences of the monastery of Sant'Antonio, or the identification of the public route ten feet wide, required by the municipality along the canal, up to bridge connecting to the north with the calle of the monastery of San Domenico. If you compare them thanks to which Valterio and Catapan were beneficiaries with the meticulous representation of the area of de 'Barbari realizes that the waters attributed to the first would have been much wider than the land - still vacuous - outlined by the view of the 1500, which the rivo and the planned road between its area and that of Catapannon had been realized, and that there is not even compatibility between the various area concessions of the first and second, which were followed for decades, also generating confused sales, repurchase, exchange between private parties. Moreover, it has not been possible until now location of the same hospital of San Giovanni for old sailors, which was, undoubtedly, built by Valterio, but soon disappears from the sources, and should have constituted one side of the large area assigned to the cerusic for its planned botanical garden. It can therefore be considered that the subdivision of the aque carried out by Valterio in his will (1343) among many relatives, which reveals a rigorous geometric conception of zoning referred to the ground, has not had practical implementation of reclamation, as seems to imply the new reduced concession of the 1358 to his nephew, the cirologus Luciano Martella, replacing that of the deceased. If these initiatives remained for the most part unfinished, it began in the same years, in the great invasion of the lacus Sancti Danielis - ceded by the bishop to the monastery, and used for centuries by one and the other like aquimolo, finally painstakingly acquired by the Municipality in the 1325 -, the colossal work of extension of the arsenal, which involved the long rope factory in the north of the Rio de la Tana. and that allowed the transfer within the new walls of the deposits and processing of hemp, already existing in San Geremia. In this overall picture of notable although poor development they had also the ecclesiastical and welfare foundations, numerous in the parish of St. Peter, play a role more than in any other urban region. If the Insula Sanctus Petri remained physically marginal compared to the growth of the district, and equally peripheral San Daniele remained granted in the 1138 to the Cistercian abbot of Fruttuaria and enriched in the 1220 of the great lake in Molendina - and Santa Maria in Jerusalem - succeeded by an older church named after the Santissimi Giovanni e Paolo -, new institutions found a home along the housing axis of the rivus Sanctus Petri: in the 1242 a Hermit friar of Fano bought some land for a monastery to be named after Santa Maria di Nazareth, which he would have operated for fifty years, until the transfer, with the title of Santo Stefano, on areas bordering the parishes of San Vidal and Sant'Angelo: in its place, in the 1297, a female monastery dedicated to Sant'Anna, which expanded with new purchases of adjoining properties. In the 1291 the bishop Bartolomeo I Querini ordered by order the foundation of a hospital entitled to his holy homonym, which already exists with its church in the 1303; and in the 1312 the Doge Marino Zorzi left similar provisions for the foundation of a Dominican monastery, with attached hospital: the first, with the title of San Domenico, was operating with a church Romanesque-Gothic transition already in 1317, and the second, thanks to a purchase of 1343, results established next to the church's portico already in 1347, as hospitale domicellarum; the territory of the monastery was then progressively increased to the south, with purchases and graces, until it met a rivulet that would have separated it from the aforementioned monastery of Sant'Antonio, along the western stretch of the current Rio de Sant'Isepo. All the monastic churches mentioned have disappeared. Nor should it be forget the important hospital of the Santissimi Pietro e Paolo, of very ancient foundation, which with the adjoining hospitaleto da cha Avançio was located in the center of the district, on the corner with the Rio de la Tana, and was placed under the administrative customs guard in 1368 at the request of his prior Marco de Bonaccursio; sociologically appears in the relevant deeds for quantity of citations one modest population and applied to various trades, from the strarinoli to the vendors, from the mulinarii to the pancogoli, cortelarii and marangoni, but there is no lack of eminent families (Bonzi, Venier, Nani, Zorzi, Zusto, Soranzo, Acotanto, Pisani, Zen, Alberegno, Sanudo, Diedo, Trevisan, Signolo, Belegno): emerging on all the Correr, even with a primacy of San Marco later became patriarch of Constantinople. The list of tax payers on the outside is not very significant of the 1379, in which the heritage of a Betino is solitary, and the values of the houses of the monasteries of the Virgins and of S. Nicolò di Lido.

Parish of Santa Maria Formosa

It is said that the Blessed Virgin appeared to the bishop San Magno commanding him to erect one church where he had seen a white cloud stop. This was done, and the new church, manufactured with the cooperation of the Tribuno family, dedicated to the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, and vulgarly called "Santa Maria Formosa" in memory of the vague form in which the mother of God appeared to the Sato.

This church, immediately declared parochial, was rebuilt when not more than two centuries passed since its foundation, thanks to the sons of a Marino Patrizio in the 864. He returned again later the fire of the 1105. He got up from the foundations in the 1492 on a design by Moro Lombardo. In the 1541 if he built the façade towards the bridge, and in the 1604 the one towards the Campo for family care Hat, and in the style of Sansovino, a style that was also performed in the renovation of the interior, made in the 1689 at the expense of Torrino Tonini, rich mercadante. The church of Santa Maria Formosa had another internal restoration in the 1842. As for the parish, it underwent a renewal in the 1810 in its borders: it lost some fractions that joined the two parishes of San Zaccaria e of the Santissimi Giovanni and Paolo, and bought some others belonging to Santa Marina and San Giuliano, with the whole district of San Leone.

In the parish of Santa Maria Formosa Veronica Franco retired to life meretricia. In a very rare pamphlet, printed in the XVI century with the title: «This is the Catalog of all the principal, and more honored courtesans of Venetia ", of which the Stork possessed a pen copy, now in the Museo Civico, we read: "True. Franca to Santa Mar. Formo. Pieza I know sea. 2 Shields ». The «Campo di Santa Maria Formosa» is characterized by the presence of various buildings: the «Ponte di Ruga Giuffa », on the right, you can see the Malipiero palace, then Trevisan, who was architected in the 16th century by Sante Lombard. In the center of the camp, near the entrance to the «Calle degli Orbi», the palace archiacute Vitturi. Then, after the "Calle Lunga", the buildings, even archiacuti, of the Donato, above the door of one of which has a marble head with the coat of arms of the family. Here he lived that Ermolao Donato, one of the leaders of the Council of X, who, "... While the 5 November 1450, at 4 at night, when he returned home, he returned to his door, at the hands of a stranger, several wounds, which, after two days, took him to the grave ». He was therefore captured, placed in torture, and, although nothing confessed, relegated to Candia Jacopo, son of Doge Francesco Foscari, as I suspect I ordered the murder. Finally closes the "Campo di Santa Maria Formosa", from side of the north, the Ruzzini palace, then Priuli, designed by Bartolammeo Monopola.

Documentary and archive sources

Archival research was carried out, consulting the available edition; what found again for the medieval period tells us about an area occupied by properties that we do not have archival documentation and a street, created only starting from 1300, as highlighted by the Dorigo in his Romanesque Venice (2003). The observation of the perspective plan of the de 'Barbari (1500) and of those of the seventeenth century (Merian e Merlo), made it possible to identify the building overlooking Campo Santa Maria Formosa and of its appurtenances on Calla longa. You notice a two-story building with a series of lower buildings posteriorly, which is today raised by modern restorations. Excavations carried out inside a few years ago they highlighted the original walls of the Byzantine era. The family that inhabited the complex already at the time, was a family of traders, known with the name of Trevisan, which held stable trade with the Scandinavian regions starting from the first half of the fifteenth century. Already in the second half of the thirteenth century, in fact, organized groups of merchants of the lagoon city, represented trade groups oriented towards the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, with the need to maintain the positions acquired. The trade foresaw maritime transport of various kinds, from spices that Venice got from the East, to fabrics precious herring and hides that the Scandinavian countries produced with skill. The exchange yes strengthened up to about 1450, thanks to the formation of the Hanseatic League that protected the exchanges in the northern Europe area.

The building is part of an extremely active and nerve center area for commercial activities: a starting from the fifteenth century it remained a point of reference in Campo Santa Maria Formosa, partially modifying its appearance inside and outside. In the nineteenth century the building, overlooking Campo Santa Maria Formosa, was divided into a significant number of internal fragments. This mass is visible inside the structure contemporary work, while the structures on Calle Longa appear almost unchanged. The archaeological excavations have highlighted the terrain on which the structures are based residences visible in the perspective plan of the de 'Barbari (1500). The documentary sources describe the building, specifying that it was owned by the Trevisan family. In the fourteenth century the complex appeared parceled, but the original building is from the late fourteenth century, as demonstrates a wall foundation with knife bricks bound by lime mortar which is located at one quota of + 20 cm on the mean sea level and presents north-west south-east trend; from analysis archaeological sites and their comparison with archival ones, are referable to residential structures mentioned by the Dorigo in his "Romanesque Venice".

A wall complex, due to a fifteenth century phase, is currently preserved at the ground floor; the wall has a structure similar to an arch, made to seal and to give more robustness to a pre-existing opening; this operation took place in the sixteenth century, during the second extension of the building, documented on the basis of the maps of de 'Barbari; thanks to this arrangement of bricks, it was obtained a strengthening of the wall structures and the closing definitive of the door.

The wall looks like a complex system of bricks and mortar, remodeled in the era Contemporary; analyzing the shape and size of the bricks, we can deduce that some of them are from the fifteenth century, others from a more recent period, and others even older, probably coming from an antecedent structure; the opening would thus mark the limits perimeter of the building in the fifteenth century, which was based on an older complex. Thanks to this element we can confirm that the building is of late 14th century origin and that its extension was smaller than the one currently visible. The current building had a first expansion in the fifteenth century, when the second was built plan and increased in size, to live its peak in the sixteenth century with a second cycle of changes to the structure and a series of partitions. A third, important, expansion was built in the nineteenth century, with the raising of a further floor and some structural changes still present today.


The sixteenth-century perspective plan by Jacopo de 'Barbari illustrates the volumetric distribution of the building complex now occupied by the Scandinavia hotel, which at the time housed one merchant family. The described building is on two floors with a series of lower buildings rear. The orthogonal masonry with north-south trend, referable to an internal subdivision of the building. The original building, of late 14th century and all its phases of modification and parcelling occurred in the epoch modern and contemporary are set on a natural clay soil, whose upper interface is placed at + 32 cm on the middle sea level. The building has some structures certainly from the fifteenth century and the late fourteenth-century walls, brought to light by the archaeological excavations, carried out in the 2017, on the ground floor.

Comparisons between archaeological documentation and archival sources thus confirm the antiquity of this building, which can be considered an example of the historical palace of the city of Venice.