You can get a good view of the walls of the Arsenale along the Fondamenta Penini in front of San Martino by following the Rio delle Gorne (‘rain gutter’); at its end, Sottoportico d’Angelo is named after the statue of the angel on its low tiny archway, flanked by the only hedgehogs in Venice.
Also from Campo dell’Arsenale, take Calle della Pergola and Calle dei Forni to the Lagoon-front Riva Ca’di Dio. The building with the ornate frieze is the Forni Pubblici (1473) where the ships’ biscuit for Venice’s fleet and garrisons was baked to last (some Venetian hardtack discovered in Crete was still edible after 150 years).
Just before the next bridge is the Ca’ di Dio, a 13th-century pilgrims’ hostel used by the Crusaders, and later expanded by Sansovino. This is one of the busier parts of Venice’s shore, where tugboats and ferries dock and tired vaporetti rest for the night.
Image by Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls