All of us think about Venice as a city full of bridges and narrow calle, in which running can be difficult, even more if during an international Marathon race as the Venice Marathon. Well, we are wrong! There is a place in the southern part of the Venetian island that is the preferred spot to work out for runners and Venicemarathon does know it: the Zattere area. It is a wide and paved strip – in Venice called fondamenta - built between the year 1519 and 1531 along the Giudecca channel that is the final part of the marathon race.
In ancient time the area was named Carbonaria recalling the commercial activity related to coal (carbone) loads delivered in the area, then its name followed the new business of wood trading. The logs of the Dolomites where delivered to Venice on big rafts of timber, the so called zattere, via the rivers that flow into the lagoon. In Venice, as all the rest of the city, the business terminals too were designed to be beautiful and the Zattere area makes no exception being pointed by remarkable buildings.
One of them is the majestic Ospedale degli Incurabili, a big building founded in 1517 by San Gaetano of Thiene to give hospitality to men and women suffering from what was then called the French disease: syphilis, whose patients at that time were considered incurable hence the name of the building. After some years the Ospedale extended its activities to a shelter for abandoned children promoting music education to them. Later a church was built in the middle of the present courtyard to host the weekly concerts of these girls and boys, but in 1819 was knocked down after the Napoleonic edicts to make more room to the artillery barracks that occupied it.
Today the building, after careful restoration, houses the Academy of Fine Arts and signals you the finish line is 2 km only away!