Although it lies along a main, signed route from both Strada Nova and the Rialto to Zanipaolo, Campo Santa Maria Novo maintains a relatively relaxed ambiance in eastern Cannaregio.
A tree (!), a rio (Rio di San Lio – Miracoli — hmmm, a “jonnie come lately” hidden in that name! ), Ponte Santa Maria Nova leading to a little campiello, a couple of small cafes, sun, umbrellas and awnings on the north side, an intriguing bookstore that spills out into the campo on sunny days, and a line of houses help define this small place.
The rio lies on the eastern side of the campo, but seems virtually invisible, outstaged by the primary actress just across it, Santa Maria dei Miracoli in all of its exquisitely detailed marble beauty!
The Campo name, Santa Maria Novo confuses most people also faced with Santa Maria dei Miracoli now starring at center stage for denizens of the campo. The long demolished Chiesa Santa Maria Novo once formed the south side of its namesake campo. Its site is now filled with four to six story residential structures, yet the campo possesses a satisfyingly intimate scale. Novo had its apse up against the rio as if turning its back on Miracoli, which turned its apse toward its sister. However, Miracoli came later, the younger sister…
The painted lady usurped the matron’s place in the sun!