Sant'Elena: a very different Venice...

Sant’Elena is a district of Venice located at the eastern end of Castello. In the past, this area was only an uninhabited lagoon. In the 1920s, however, it was decided to reclaim the land and to build a new residential area. The district architecture was mainly realized into  venetian style even if there are also buildings inspired by the architectural current of Italian rationalism then in vogue. The result is still amazing today...

The district is so called because once there was a small island with the church of Sant'Elena which used to preserve the relics of the saint brought from Constantinople. After a few years, an Augustinian convent was also built, thus encouraging the role of worship of the island. This situation lasted until 1810 when Napoleon decided to use the island as a warehouse after having moved the relics of the saint into the nearby church of San Pietro.

In 1920s, however, an area used for military training was reclaimed thus incorporating the island into the urban fabric of Venice. In order to give a name to this ‘new land’ it was decided to maintain the original toponym: Sant’Elena.  The restoration project was entrusted to the architects Duilio and Giuseppe Torres, Giulio Alessandri and the engineer Fausto Finzi. Thus, once the land was reclaimed, houses and buildings, avenues, gardens and parks were created in order to give birth to a neighborhood that, for all intents and purposes, can be defined as been arisen from nothing.

Walking around Sant’Elena is an exciting experience and it really feels like going back to the XIX century: imposing buildings with wall terraces and rigorous geometries which play with the rays of the sun. But also houses in a more Venetian style, colored and with the shutters at the windows, as tradition dictates. The island also includes the 'Pierluigi Penzo' stadium, the beautiful pine forest of Sant 'Elena which is almost an extension of the gardens of the Biennale and two docks, one of which is only for sailing boats. Here, there is also the famous military naval school "Francesco Morosini" whose tradition is famous all over the world.

Sant’Elena is predominantly inhabited by Venetians and therefore offers glimpses of real life that truly fill the eyes with splendid moments. To get away from the crowd, especially in summer, a visit to this wonderful place is more than recommended.

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