At the end of Cannaregio main canal (Fondamenta Cannaregio), there is a peculiar district, architecturally speaking. Although this neighbourhood’s real name is Sacca San Girolamo, everyone knows it as “Baia del re” (King’s bay): centuries ago, the houses here were poor and crumbling and the winters were pretty cold. At that time, the residents used to compare those freezing conditions to the ones Italian researchers suffered in their base camp in Svalbard’s King’s bay in Norway.
I like spending time in this relaxing area, quite outside main touristic paths and separated from the crowded areas nearby. The Baia del Re was a rough district until the 1980s, when several organised crime exponents lived here. New construction projects changed the aspect and the reputation of the district, and it has since been a quiet and cozy area, with nice squares and benches where you can read a book or simply gaze at the northern lagoon’s magic atmosphere.
The peaceful, hidden corners among the squared buildings often host young couples looking for some privacy and a unique view on the northern lagoon. I often sit under the characteristic arches connecting the blocks to the docks while looking at the setting sun with trains on the railway bridge in the background or just to observe traffic of coming and going boats.
Last but not least, this is the best spot to see the mountains surrounding Venice lagoon. Although they are quite far away from Venice, you can make them when there’s perfect visibility.