I am often asked which is my favourite spot in Venice. While confessing that I couldn't possibly say (there are just too many contenders for the title), I have no hesitation in declaring which is the spot I hate the most.
That honour belongs to the route leading from the railway station to Campo Santi Apostoli, an insufferably overcrowded tourist drag, an area to be avoided whenever possible!
Following the arrival of the railway, in 1846, a sizeable chunk of Venice was slowly, but ruthlessly, reshaped in order to create a clear thoroughfare between the railway station and the Ponte di Rialto. The final stage in this act of urban vandalism was the creation of the Strada Nuova (originally named after King Vittorio Emanuele II), which was built between 1866 and 1871.
The Strada Nova (the only strada in Venice) is the location of the ancient church of Santa Sofia. However, I doubt if many people ever notice its existence, as the poor little church seems to have been almost swallowed up by the surrounding buildings.
Santa Sofia has, thankfully, improved since the days of the English writer, Frederick Wolfe (aka Baron Corvo, 1860-1913), a querulous, eccentric and one-time resident of Venice, who mentions the church in his novel The Desire and Pursuit of the Whole (1909):
'It's a miserable old place, though well enough formed..., but it's piteously neglected and tawdry; and being in a populous slum and overshadowed by its neighbours Santapostol and Sanfelice, no one seems to care a pajanca about it.'
Anybody know what a pajanca is?