Venice Canals and Streets 101

2017/10/01 - Written by Rosanna Bonura
Ah, the beautiful sights of Venice! A city of hundreds of islands and endless canals where getting by on water is a daily routine. 

And soon, armchair travellers will able to explore Venice from the comfort of  their home, thanks to technology and Google. A Google Gondola project,  which is currently in the works, uses a device to photograph Venice from a  boat as it floats through canals. The 360 degree panoramic images will be added to  the current Street View option.                           

On dry land, Venice’s streets, squares and alleys were also mapped out back in  the spring using the Street View Trekker, which includes a camera device mounted on  a backpack. These photos are expected to appear online by the end of 2013. The much anticipated  Venetian canal images will follow.                    

In the meantime, those planning a trip to Venice could benefit from brushing up  on the local parlance associated with Venice’s canals and streets. 

Glossary of Venice main terms for streets and canals:

Calle: The term for “street” (calli in the plural form). 

Calle Stretta: A narrow street, which in Venice is pretty much every street. The term  calletta is also used to describe an even narrower street or alleyway. Some streets  stretch to only 65 centimeters wide! 

Calle Larga: A wide street. 

Calle Lunga: A long street. 

Sottoportego: A covered passageway between two buildings. 

Salizzada: A term with a bit of history associated with it; salizzada refers to a street  that in the olden days used to be paved, unlike the calli that were just compacted earth.  Although all streets in Venice today are paved, the term is still used. 

Lista: Another historic term, this refers to a street or area where there used to be an  embassy, such as Lista Dei Bari in Santa Croce and Lista Di Spagna in Cannaregio. 

Strada: This simply means street in Italian. However, in Venice the only street known  as strada is Strada Nova in Cannaregio. The long, shop-lined street is a must-see. 

Via: Another Italian term for street. Like strada, there are very few of these in Venice.  One example is Via Garibaldi in the Castello district. 

Rio Tera: A canal that has been filled in to make a street. If you look at the ground  closely when walking along one of these Venetian streets, you’ll note the original sides  of the canal, as different types of stones were used. 

Ruga: A street with numerous shops. 

Ramo: A small street leading off a larger calle. 

Canale: A large canal. Some include Canale Grande, Canale Cannaregio, and Canale  della Giudecca. 

Riello: A small canal. 

Ponte: A bridge. There are more than 400 bridges in Venice. Only 4 span the Grand  Canal. 

Fondamenta: A street that runs alongside a canal. 

Riva: A street that runs alongside a quay where boats are anchored.





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