Campo de la Bragora (now Campo Bandiera e Moro) in Venice’s Sestiere di Castello is physically very close to the broad, busy Riva degli Schiavonni, between Rio de la Pieta and Rio Ca’ di Oro, but separated just far enough to maintain an atmosphere of relative peace and tranquility.
The Campo was originally named after its parish church, San Giovanni Battista en Bragora, founded in around 640 on one of the islands Gemelle (The Twins) or “en bragora”, perhaps a reclaimed brushy marshy area just adjacent to the Twins. It was one of the “Magnus” Churches of eight authorized by Saint Magnus, the first Bishop of Venice.
For a while, the campo was known as Piazza Bandiera e Moro until the early 20th Century, when it was demoted to a mere “campo”!
Perhaps San Marco became jealous!
A brief stroll up Calle del Dose (street of the Doge) leads you into the large space, lined with a few shops and a cafe on the west side and hotels in palazzi on the north side. Antonio Vivaldi, composer, director and girls’ chorale teacher supreme, reportedly was born in a house adjacent to the Calle and baptised in the church on the campo, San Giovanni Battista en Bragora. Since he spent almost all of his professional life as a musician-priest around the corner at La Pieta, this is…
Three Martyred Patriots
Brothers Attilo and Emilio Bandiera and their friend Domenico Moro, Venetian patriots, were betrayed, captured in a raid against the Austrian Navy far south of Venice in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, and executed in 1844. Campo de la Bragora was renamed Campo Bandiera e Moro in the honor of this national martyrs after Venice and the Veneto were freed from the Austrian yoke and became part of the unified Italy.
Chiesa San Giovanni Battista en Bragora
The church has been rebuilt several times since its founding, in the first instance to house relics of St. John the Baptist, and the last – the Gothic edifice that you see today – completed in around 1475. A renovation in the early 1700’s added some Baroque details.
The interior is well worth a leisurely visit, and is where Antonio Vivaldi was baptised on March 4, 1678.
The alterpiece painting is “The Baptism of Christ”, with Christ and John the Baptist, by Cima da Conegliano.
You will notice the lack of a campanile outside – it either fell or was knocked down hundreds of years ago and replaced with the graceful wall-style belfry that you see today.
Life on the Campo
The Palazzo Gritti Badoer, now occupied by Hotel La Residenza, towers over the north side of the Campo, remarkably intact since Jacopo di’Barberi illustrated it in 1500 as part of his famous “View of Venice”. The Fifteenth Century facade has Byzantine detailing still visible despite a heavy-handed restoration in the 18th Century.
A copse of trees mid-campo contrasts with the rather austere southeast corner in front of the church. Yet, that spare corner serves well for children’s pick-up ball games.
Whether coming from Piazza San Marco along the broad Riva, or down Salizzada Antonin from il Greci or Salizzada del Pignator from la Vigna, stroll into Campo Bandiera e Moro and stay a while. This a wonderful place to enjoy civilized living in, paradoxically,…