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A Garden in Venice

Garden art & lifestyle

A green courtyard: San Giorgio dei Greci, Castello

In Venice you can find all kinds of gardens, public, private, roof gardens (le Altane), balconies, gardens located in corti (courtyards) and along the calli (alleys), and also cloister, convent and monastery gardens, including vegetable gardens and orchards. Last week I took a stroll through Castello brought me to the courtyard of the Church of San Giorgio dei Greci. This jewel is located not far away from our house, and at 09:30 am not many people were yet around. It was rather hot in the morning, and the first guests were enjoying their cappuccino and cornetto in the bar on the Fondamenta de l'Osmarin
A very refreshing morning walk in Venice is like heaven - do you notice the lights dancing under the bridge and reflections in the water? This is a bridge crossing Rio di San Provolo which runs along the Fondamenta de l'Osmarin.
This is Fondamenta de l''Osmarin as it looked last week on a very hot August morning. Here you can see quite a lot of roof gardens = altane in venexian.
The Greek heritage and church have always fascinated me, and often as a child I slipped away to curiously look into the secret courtyards along a canal shielded from the outside and passers-by by thick shrubbery.
Just to prepare, the Hellenic Institute of Byzantine Studies is also hosted here, and on their Website you can find an interactive tool that prepares you perfectly for a visit to the Church, the Museum and the Library - just click here (in Italian). There is also an English Site available.
In 1498 the Greek community living in Venice was allowed to set up a confraternity to assist members of that
communty, including tradesmen. Finally, their church was finished, including its campanile, in 1592.
Back to the present, these are some of the pictures I made of the courtyard last week. I hope these pictures can convey just a little bit the calm atmosphere of this charming and restful hidden treasure which is certainly part of the sometimes well-hidden patrimonio verde (green heritage) of Venice.
Standing on the bridge aptly named "Ponte dei Greci", you have a first view of the complex, museum, library, church and campanile, and the huge vines hiding the courtyard from view. You can also see a small approdo (landig stage) outside 
Here I am looking back from the Ponte dei Greci towards Fondamenta de l'Osmarin, still in the shade, to the left, and the bar where guests enjoy their first cappuccino of this morning
Ponte dei Greci, a Greek icon makes passers-by conscious that by turing right, they would be about to enter the premises of San Giorgio dei Greci
Entrance into the Courtyard
The church, its entrance framed by two oleanders, the courtyard is embellished by laurel, fig and olive trees and shrubs, among others
Climbers in the first courtyard, a pozzo under an olive tree
Church and Campanile 
Looking back towards the entrance gate, pot plants and green facades with strikingly blue sun shades
Main entrance to the church
Green facades

Laurel bushes and oleanders make this courtyard a peaceful garden surrounded by white marmor banks
Finally, in the last courtyard, a drowsy dove is taking the sun
Still, I notice that people usually do not take in the peace and quiet of this place, but immediately rush towards and into the church. But I think it is worth taking a closer look also to the outside part of these breezy and green premises situated just about 10 minutes from Piazza San Marco.
Blinding sun rays in a laurel tree
The small landing stage een from the courtyard, the Rio dei Greci is just behind these grey and red brick walls
Flowering plant detail
Church and Campanile
A last look up the green facade


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