Points of interest

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The coast of the island is characterized by the  Murazzi, work of defense from the sea builded on 1700,
extending up almost by Alberoni to Casino. Here once stood the old fort of the Quattro Fontane (first half nineteenth century), but by the’30s has been replaced by modern buildings like the Casino and just from Palazzo del Cinema, ideal locations for the many cultural an moundane  events hosted by the  city. These include also the most important: the Venice Film Festival.

Tempio Votivo

Towards the center of the island, the architecture is rich in Liberty buildings and green parks. Communication route is the Gran Viale Santa Maria Elisabetta, the wide street that runs perpendicular to tree island from the lagoon to the sea.
The ancient center of Santa Maria Elisabetta faces the lagoon and it retains many buildings of late nineteenth century over the homonymous church. In this area, alongside the lagoon meets the Votive Temple, built after the First World War in memory of the fallen and where lie the rests of Nazario Sauro.
Along the Riviera San Nicolò, flanked by Liberty buildings, you reach S.Nicolo´, here there is the largest fortification on the island (the Ridotto Lido) and where you can admire the ancient church, rebuilt in the seventeenth century: on the day of ‘Ascension is here that the Serenissima celebrating the marriage of the sea, the ceremony that still occurs annually in May.
On the opposite side of the island, overlooking the sea, there is the Lungomare , very impressive, consisting of a long avenue that runs along the beach lined with pine trees from S.Nicolo´ until the  beginning of Murazzi.


As with any history of Lido, however brief, this historical sketch of notes and images must choose Malamocco as its starting point. This bright and picturesque district – with its canals, alleys, squares, courtyards and low semi-deta­ched houses – not only presents a true Venice in miniature to whose history the isle´s evolution is inextricably linked, but more so as it stands as reminder of a historical enigma which has always captured the attention of public opinion and even caused bitter controversy among academics.
Metamaucum, the ancient port of Malamocco, which had been developed by the rich and powerful city of Padua as early as Roman times, had grown to such an important port town that the new-born Venice State chose it as its capital from 742 to 811. Later, for safety reasons, the seat of power was transferred to Rivoalto (later Rialto), at the centre of the many small isles which would make up Venice. During the early years of the 12th century Malamocco disappeared altogether, perhaps due to sudden and progressive changes in environmental conditions. “Novo Metamauco was erected on the pre­sent site of Malamocco certainly no fewer than 20 years after the end of “Metamaucum Vetus’ since at least three documents – which can be reliably dated at 1098, 1108 and 1117 respectively – testify to the existence of an old centre, to a recent catastrophe and to the exis­tence of the new centre. And yet. however unlikely it seems, no document of those times helps us to know the actual site of the old capital, so that even today, while waiting for new detection technology to help solve the mystery, no one can be sure whether Metamaucum is buried far away, in the sea or lagoon, or indeed whether its resting place lies only slightly further underground, near modern Malamocco.

chiesa di Malamocco

S. Nicolo´

At the opposite end of the isle to Malamocco is San Nicolo, a spot which always thrills both visitors and locals on their arrival. It is a place which used to elicit excitement also in the past – though perhaps for different reasons, according to the period in question – as is testified by the ancient chronicles of events, letters of renowned poets of more recent times (not only Byron but also Goethe,  Shelley and De Mussets to name a few) and by all the twentieth century writings of those who have personally come here. The reason for this feeling – which certainly goes hand in hand with the pleasure of strolling along the front to reach San Nicolo from Santa Maria Elisabetta, with its breathtaking scenes of Venice mirrored in the lagoon can be traced back to the fascinating 16th centurv  map of the island, at wh< monastery with a fort and a cemetery (left and right, respectively) on each side. These latter elements special atmosphere which one can savour still today when, although still physically present, the circun led to their construction have substantially changed.

The monastery of S. Nicolo´
Today the monastery mentioned above can be found just beyond the highly original Istrian Stone bridge (with its mammoth 8.5 m span)
Although its structure is no longer wholly original – both the Romanic basilica and the monastery which had free: planned and built for the Benedictine monks between 1043 and 1053 have been greatly changed over the centuries the structure as a whole holds much interest, under both architectural and religious viewpoints: the Renaissance el   j ster stands out like a jewel and the Basilica contains the relics of S. Nicolo di Myra, “the universal rescuer over land and sea”. These relics were the object of a hot dispute since the Venetians claimed they stole them from the Holy Land in 1096, while the people from Bari claimed they had done the same 9 years later. The relics were therefore put t several “canonical surveys” over the centuries, the latest of which being in 1993.
But nothing is more relevant than the historical evidence of its state of preservation, which is indeed immense cons id ering the importance, in ancient Venice, of the Benedictine Abbeys and the cult for relics for not merely religious, but above all political, military and social reasons. One would have to devote an entire book to do justice to the topic, and indeed many have been written.

convento di san nicolo
cimitero ebraico

The jews cemetery
On the 16th century map on the site of the “Casa dei Zudei” (the Jews’ home), the oldest piece of Venice’s Jewish cemetery can be found. Its most recent section is slightly more towards the centre of the isle and separated from the old part by the Catholic cemetery. The place was no doubt influenced by the adjacent fortress, and was thus lucky enough to maintain its character­istic of silence – so appropriate for the dead (although the literal Hebrew translation for cemetery is “bet chaim” or “home of the living”). This may explain why the word “casa” (home) is used to mark it on the 16th century map.

There are two main reasons why the Jewish cemetery is one of the island’s most remarkable places. On one hand its holds an exceptional value as a historic landmark: in 1386 the Magistrate of Piovego granted a rectangular patch of land (70 by 30 paces) to Salomone and Crisante. who represented the Jewish commu­nity in Venice. However, although the commu­nity could trade and lend money through its “banks”, as it had been doing since its arrival in the area about 100 years earlier, it was not allowed to reside in but had to live elsewhere. The ban was not officially lifted until 1516, when the Republic granted the coninui area of its own in the city for, but again for its own interests: to better exploit the Jews’ economic potent affording a better control over its activities. In this way the first Jewish “ghetto” in the world was born. The cemetery’s second main value lies in the unique sensations it can arouse through its ethereal setting  among architecturally exquisite constructions and a lush greenery often so dense that it can infuse sunlight with new and striking casts.

An astonishing display of Liberty style

Once consolidated, the discovery of life at the seaside became a strong magnet for longer-stay tourism and thus prompted the construction of numerous hotels.
For many wealthy Venetian families the interest spending the summer at the beach was also why Lido became the location for their summer residences, which formerly had been built in the Veneto countryside.
Since land on the Lido was both available and affordable – only the vegetable and the vineyard plots adjacent to the main avenue escalated in value – families bought enough land to have a large garden around their summer houses.
While the “second home” was initially con­ceived as being simpler than the town house, it invariably turned out to be a villa in its own right, whose design was put in the hands of famous or promising architects. It was on Lido, then, that these architects, whose talents could not be expressed on Venice’s main island, were given the oppor­tunity to unleash their pent-up enthusiasm and transform their ideas into reality. Owners and architects thus found in each other a source of stimulation which, in the late 1890s and early 1900s, led to the crea­tion of the world’s largest concentration of Libertv style villas.

villa asta

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