Campo San Paternian

Try to find Campo San Paternian on your map of Venice!  I’ll provide a clue.  It is in Sestiere San Marco (No hints from Venetian history students, please!).

San Paternian Campanile & Campo (19th-C Photo)

San Paternian Campanile & Campo (19th-C Photo)

Perhaps if you consider that the octagonal campanile might be easily spotted.  It was built prior to the year 1000 for Chiesa San Paternian, and is thought to be the first campanile in Venice, as well as the only octagonal one ever built in the City.

If you still have not found the place, look for little Campiello della Chiesa and then look around for the church…San Paternian…an octagonal campanile certainly stands out anywhere, even in Venice with its scores of them.  Alas, abused, neglected, cast off and forgotten!

In reality, the “3rd Edition” of the original late 10th-Century church was shut down during the Napoleonic era, used for less than edifying secular purposes for decades, offered up for auction and when no one expressed interest, it was torn down.  I wonder who wandered off with the four marble columns from Constantinople?

Today, the parish campo is not known as Campo San Paternian (and is not on the map), but leads a new life as Campo Manin!  In addition to Campiello della Chiesa, Rio Terra San Paternian give lasting evidence of its past reality here – perhaps until another Hero of Venice of the stature of Daniele Manin serves Venice with equal distinction.

Daniele Manin, born Foscari, took the Manin name when he converted to Christianity and was sponsored by Pietro Manin, brother of the 120th and last Doge, Lodovico Manin (forced to abdicate by Napoleon).

Manin was a leader in the putative revolution of Venice against Austrian rule in 1848, and ended up being the first, last and only President of the Republic of San Marco.  The new republic lasted for about one year before an Austrian blockade and bombardment brought it to an end.  After surrender, the surviving leaders were all granted amnesty by the Austrians, except that Manin was sent into exile to Paris, and died in 1857.

Campo Manin - Giovanni Dall'Orto 080607

Campo Manin - Giovanni Dall'Orto 080607

Since the mid-1960’s, the east side of the Campo has been overwhelmed by the very modern and cold Cassa di Risparmio di Venezia, designed by famed architects Luigi Nervi and Angelo Scattolin.  The best viewpoint of the Campo and its church-less environment is found by placing your back to this unfortunate intrusion and looking in the other direction!

Consider stopping for a while on your journeys from the Accademia Bridge via Campo San Stefano and Campo Sant’Angelo toward the Rialto, or in the opposite direction – Campo Manin is on the main route – to enjoy this otherwise fine public space and to imagine its past.

No one asked me, but I wholeheartedly agree that Daniel Manin’s noble work at great personal risk and expense is certainly worth at least…

 A statue and a Campo name, but not that bank!


About randysrules

From a professional background in architecture, community and regional planning, urban design, leadership, and fine arts, this blog provides insights on ethics, leadership, architecture/planning/urban design, Venice, and whatever intrigues me at the time. Enjoy!
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