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It is true, Venice is more about stones than trees and plants, but there are some lovely little oasis of peace and green even here. The BEST WESTERN PREMIER Hotel Sant’Elena is located in one of the most verdant are of the city where you can enjoy a pleasant stroll looking on the beautiful Saint Mark Basin.
Before her amazing economical growth and rise to power, Venice used to be surrounded by green. The street weren’t all cobbled and lastricated with stones, but where simple soil streets. The large Campi (square) where exactly what the name stands for: fields (in Italian Campo means field). Slowly through the centuries though these areas where covered with masegni, large square tiles of trachite . Today the green area of Venice Historic Centre is only 120.000 mq divided in six public gardens spread all over the city and they are: the Pineta di S.Elena, the Giradini Napoleonici, the Giardini Groggia, the Giardini Papadopoli, the Giardini Savorgnan and the Giardini Reali.
Giardini Napoleonici (Napoleon Gardens) Situated among Riva dei Sette Martiri, Viale Trieste and Via Garibaldi, in the Sestiere di Castello, they are the most extended green area of Venice. They locally known as Giardini di Castello and were created in 1807 under the order of Napoleon and after knocking down many old churches and convents. The debris were used to build a small hill which now hosts the Biennale pavilion. Very recently a large part has been given to the Biennale and it can be visited only when the Biennale is open. But around 18.000mq still remain of public domain and can be visited for free. Many statues and monuments are situated inside these gardens.
Pineta di Sant’Elena This is the green area on the island of Sant’Elena and it is called pineta since all the trees are pines trees. It is an open space, without gates or fences and it is an amazing glimpse of truly Venetian life. There you can see children playing traditional games as football, hula-hoop, hide-and-seek or grandmothers chatting on the several benches along the area.
Giardini Reali There are south of Saint marks’ square, after the Palazzo della Zecca, along the beautiful quay that runs along San Marco. These gardens, as the Giardini Napoleonici, were built for order of Napoleon and they are particular beautiful, filled with little walkways and lovely shadowy trees.
Giardini Papadopoli They are situated by Piazzale Roma and it is the first park you encounter as you enter the city from the bus terminal. These garden is usually the meeting place for students before going to college or high school and thousands of people cross it every day. Its best-finished and most enchanting area, completely surrounded by greenery, in the shade of high trees, is the one beyond Rio Novo.
Giardini Savorgnan these beautiful gardens are in S. Geremia, in the Sestiere of Cannaregio and they are an integral part of Palazzo Savorgnan, which houses the Institute for Tourism Algarotti. They are one of the largest green areas of the city, originally a botanical garden and now in the shade of plane trees and horse chestnuts. They are shaped like two rectangles staggered from each other.
Giardini Groggia They are situated in Sant’Alvise (Cannaregio) and they are more like classical romantic gardens with quadrangular nineteenth-century style and an enchanting view across the lagoon. It is a less known and less visited green are, which deserves a visit because it is also defined as one of the quietest areas of the city: a place where you can relax, equipped with benches, in green and quite surroundings.