The district occupies the north west part of the main islands and can be divided into two areas: the older eastern area and the western part, including the main port and the Tronchetto; mostly lying on land reclaimed in the 10th Century. The area was once part of the Luprio swamp, but has been steadily reclaimed over time.
The district includes the Piazzale Roma, home to Venice’s bus station and car parks and is the only area of the city in which cars and buses can travel. There are convenient bus links to both Venice Marco Polo and Treviso Airports. It is a square at at the entrance of the city located at the end of the Ponte della Libertà road bridge, linking Venice to the mainland.
Next to the Piazza Roma is the Tronchetto (Isola nuova), an artificial island created in the 1960’s and used as a car parking facility. The Venice “People Mover” a mono-rail cable car transport system, started operating in 2010 connecting Piazzale Roma with the city’s Tronchetto island; via a stop above the Marittima cruise terminal. The whole 870-metre-long journey takes three minutes.
The Ponte della Costituzione (Constitution Bridge), commonly referred to as the Calatrava Bridge is the fourth bridge over the Grand Canal. It was designed by Santiago Calatrava and opened to the public in 2008. This connects connecting Stazione di Santa Lucia railway station to Piazzale Roma bus terminal.
San Croce is the smallest of the six districts of Venice and derives its name from the original church and annexed monastery, that was demolished at the beginning of the 9th Century. They were replaced by the Giardino Papadopoli, a terraced garden filled with shade trees opposite the Venice Santa Lucia train station, which is in the most western part of Cannaregio. A bridge over the Grand Canal, the Ponte degli Scalzi (Bridge of the Discalced or Barefoot), links the concourse in front of the railway station with the district of Santa Croce.
The tourist attractions lie mostly in the eastern part of the quarter and include the churches of San Simeone Piccolo, San Nicolo da Tolentino, San Giacomo dell’Orio, San Zan Degola and the Fondaco dei Turchi.
Also, opposite the railway station is the striking church of San Simeone Piccolo, which was one of the last churches built in Venice.
Built in 1718-38 by Giovanni Antonio Scalfarotto in the emerging Neoclassical style. San Simeone is modeled on the Pantheon with a temple-front pronaos, but with a peaked dome recalling Longhena’s more embellished and prominent Santa Maria della Salute church. The centralized circular church design and the metal dome recalls Byzantine models and San Marco, though the numerous centrifugal chapels are characteristic of Post-Tridentine churches.
The pediment of the entrance has a marble relief depicting “The Martyrization of the Saints” by Francesco Penso, known as “il Cabianca”. Saint Simon was apparently the martyred cousin of Christ, martyred as a Jew by the Romans. The mass is celebrated according to the 1962 Roman Missal by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter.
The Tronchetto (also known as Isola nuova) is an artificial island, located at the Piazzale Roma, a square at the entrance of the city, is at the end of the Ponte della Libertà. The square acts as the main bus station for Venice. There are bus links to Venice Marco Polo Airport and Treviso Airport. The square is close to the main Santa Lucia railway station for Venice, linked by the Ponte della Costituzione, a modern footbridge over the western end of the Grand Canal, installed in 2008. The Venice People Mover, a public transit system, connects Tronchetto island and Piazzale Roma. It started operating in 2010.
The Chiesa di San Nicolò da Tolentino, commonly known as the Tolentini, lies in a campo of the same name and along the Rio dei Tolentini, close to the Giardino Papadopoli.
Venice had been the home of the Order of the Theatines who arrived in Venice in 1527 after the Sack of Rome. The church dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Tolentino was begun in 1590 by Vincenzo Scamozzi. The relationship between Scamozzi and his patrons was stormy and the church was finally only completed in 1714. It is a large church with a huge freestanding Corinthian portico, the only one in Venice designed by Andrea Tirali.
The church contains the tomb of Doge Giovanni I Corner, Francesco Corner, Giovanni II Corner, and Paolo Renier. The funereal monument of the Patriarch of Venice, Giovan Francesco Morosini (d.1678) in the chancel, was completed by the Genovese sculptor Filippo Parodi. The baroque organ was constructed by Pietro Nacchini in 1754.
To the north-east of San Croce can be found the Chiesa di San Giacomo dall’Orio, also known as San Giacomo Apostolo (St James the Apostle).
The origin of the church’s name is unknown. Several possibilities include being named after a laurel (lauro) that once stood nearby, a version of dal Rio (“of the river”), or once standing on an area of dried-up swamp (luprio). It was founded in the 9th century and rebuilt in 1225. The campanile dates from this period. There have been a number of revisions since that time (including a major renovation in 1532) and the ship’s keel roof dates from the 14th century. Two of the columns were brought back from the Fourth Crusade, after the sacking of Constantinople.
San Giacomo dall’Orio is a parish church of the Vicariate of San Polo-Santa Croce-Dorsoduro. It was also the parish church of the painter Giambattista Pittoni who was buried there in 1767. The other churches in the parish are the churches of San Stae and San Zan Degolà. Significant artworks to be seen are Francesco Bassano’s “Madonna in Glory and St John the Baptist preaching” in the new sacristy, the latter including portraits of Bassano’s family and Titian. Lorenzo Lotto’s “Madonna and Four Saints”. the altarpiece of the high altar and Paolo Veneziano’s painted “Crucifix hanging in front of the high altar”, Veronese’s “Allegory of Faith” and “The Doctors of the Church”, on the ceiling of the new sacristy (or possibly by Veronese’s workshop).
The Fondaco dei Turchi (Turks Inn), is a Veneto-Byzantine style palazzo on the Grand Canal, opposite the San Marcuola water-bus stop. The palace was constructed in the first half of the 13th Century by Giacomo Palmier, an exile from Pesaro. The Venetian Republic purchased it in 1381 for Niccolò II d’Este, the Marquess of Ferrara.
From the early 17th century through to 1838, it served as a ghetto for Venice’s Ottoman Turkish population. The fondaco (Arab: fonduk) served as a combination home, warehouse and market for the Turkish traders, just as the Fondaco dei Tedeschi served as headquarters and restricted living quarters for German foreigners.
Restrictions were placed on its residents, including certain times one was able to enter and leave the ghetto; as well as on trading. Venetian Turk’s imports included wax, crude oil, and wool.
After the Venetian Republic was conquered and abolished by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1797, the Turkish traders continued to live in the palazzo until 1838.
The building was in a very bad state by the mid-19th century, and was completely restored between 1860-1880. Innovations added to the original Veneto-Byzantine design, include a grand tower on either side of the building.