Venice – Madonna dell’Orto and Campo dei Mori

Are you planning your trip to Venice? Would you like to visit some hidden spots? I have some tips!

Venice is divided in six parts, and one of them is the sestiere of Cannaregio, on the northern part of the main island. It is famous for the ancient history of the Jewish ghetto and the several sinagogues, along with the nightlife on the Fondamenta della Misericordia.
As for the rest of the island, here it’s planty of beautiful spots to discover and visit.
I chose one for its interesting story and the curiosity that everyone showed on instagram.
In this post, I will tell you some things about the church of Madonna dell’Orto and the nearby Campo dei Mori, while you get ready for you next walk in Venice!

Only a few minutes from the train station Santa Lucia, you can easily reach the area known as Fondamenta della Misericordia. The fondamenta are always filled with people throughout the whole day, thanks to the several bars, ice-cream shops, small businesses, and restaurants
In the further eastern part, there is Calle Larga, and crossing the bridge, you will get to Campo dei Mori.
Campo dei Mori is characterised by the statues that in the square (in Venetian, “campo“) represent the “Mori“.
The legend tells that a curse turned those brothers into statues. The brothers with dark skin – reason for which they were called Mori – were retailers and probably owned a bank, too. Their way of doing business was not fair, and a rich woman, according to the story, was misled. She praid to saint Magdalene, asking for the curse.
The statues of the brothers are now part of the urban architecture, and only one of them is placed on a corner. This position, being more dangerous, caused the statue of brother Rioba to be damaged. Its nose has therefore been replaced not with the same material, but with iron.
Another legend says that touching its nose will bring you luck.

Continuing towards the northern side, at the end of the campo, you will see the church over the bridge – chiesa della Madonna dell’Orto.
The church was originally dedicated to saint Christopher, patron saint of travellers and merchants. It is however now popularly known for the story of the statue still showed in the church.


A Venetian sculptor, Giovanni de Santi, had started realizing the statue of the Virgin Mary with the baby for another church, Church of Santa Maria Formosa. The statue wasn’t liked by the commissioner and was therefore rejected. The choice of the sculptor was then to locate it in its garden (orto means vegetable garden), not far away from where the church is.
The story passed on tells that at night, the statue released flashes and lights, and because of this, it had become destination for pilgrimage. The pilgrims were asking for miracles, that increased in number rapidly. The bishop of the time felt forced to ask for the statue to be settled in a more adequate Christian position. It was then moved to the church of saint Christopher, later known with the name of Madonna dell’Orto.
The statue is still in the church, in a little chapel on the right aisle.

The church and the campo dei Mori, however, are also artistically famous for being related to Jacopo Robusti, known as Tintoretto. He used to live in the surrounding area and went to the church. He worked on some restoration and several of his paitings are conserved in the church itself.
The peculiarity of their relation is that the artist, along with some of his family members, has been buried in this gothic church.

The visit to the church costs 3€
opens from Monday to Saturday
from 10am to 5pm


The fondamenta, on the eastern side, have a beautiful view over the northern lagoon with the island of saint Micheal, entirely designated as cemetery, and the island of Murano, known for the glass works.

10 pensieri su “Venice – Madonna dell’Orto and Campo dei Mori

  1. catherineandtroy

    Wow, what a fascinating legend and history. I missed these details in my brief visit to Venice and look forward to returning with more time so I can appreciate all these details and soak in more history.

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