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Working-class Venice


Chioggia, the dusty, southernmost town on the Lagoon, is one of the most important fishing ports on the Adriatic, a kind of working-class Venice where the canals and streets are arrow-straight; where the sails of the fishing fleet are painted with brightly coloured pictures and symbols.

The morning fish market (open Tues–Sun 7–12) is one of the wonders of Italy. The Chioggians have a not entirely undeserved reputation for grumpiness, a temperament that is hardly improved when the uppity Venetians call their little lion up on its column in the Piazzetta Vigo (where the ferry deposits you) the ‘Cat of St Mark’.

Goldoni was amused enough by it all to make the town the setting of one of his comedies, Le Baruffe Chiozzotte.

Almost nothing remains of medieval Chioggia (except the incomprehensible dialect of the inhabitants), thanks to the blockade and siege of Genoa’s fleet in the 1380 War of Chioggia. But if you take the first bridge left from the port and continue straight, you will reach the church of San Domenico, which boasts Carpaccio’s last painting, St Paul.

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Lagoon and islands

Other places

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Image by c. gardner