Cannaregio 6-5000

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I’m beginning to understand the logic behind the Venetian system dei numeri civici, the addresses that only the postino knows for sure. Pity the poor traveler who arrives thinking that he can even get help on the street by asking, Can you tell me, where is San Polo 2825? Boh. Should he have a name of a calle or fondamenta that’s not too obscure, we can more likely point them in the right direction; perhaps they have a bad map that can give us a clue. Too often, though, they arrive without even a phone number…which means inevitable wandering, with luggage, sometimes in late evening, before finally, hopefully, locating their destination. Forza, su.

However, if you’re only moving (as I did, for the fourth time in less than four years, and more often than in the prior twenty), the numbering system comes in quite handy for updating folks with your new address, particularly if you don’t change sestiere. My last three homes have all been in Cannaregio, and indeed, each time I have moved, I have only had to change the sestiere number. There’s no street in the address, so that isn’t a concern; the zip was the same, and certainly the city. So…Cannaregio 4989 went to Cannaregio 2865 and then became finally (and this one should do it for some time to come) yet another number just around the corner from Tintoretto’s home. My U.S. folks are grateful for not having to learn how to spell yet another unfamiliar Italian word incorrectly (Miseri-who?).

I doubt that was any sort of consideration when the system was established secoli fa, but we have to look for some sort of silver lining, yes? All I can say is, thank heaven for VeniceExplorer and TuttoCittà. We’d never be able to find our way around otherwise, as even Google maps and ViaMichelin still haven’t quite gotten the whole Venetian picture.

The convenience of the numbering system notwithstanding, I praying to the Venetian dei that this lighter, loftier, appartamento recently ristaurato — that’s also one floor up with una porta sola, a highly-prized feature here — remains my home for some time to come.

2 thoughts on “Cannaregio 6-5000

  1. gaia

    It is more simple if you know that in Cannaregio numbers start at the train stations and grow until Rialto.
    So you probably have lived before near Santi Apostoli and then near Misericordia.
    But in all Venetian homes there is a useful book with the maps and numbers :-).

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  2. nan

    I have never lived near Santi Apostoli, although that would be a very convenient area. The first Cannaregio apartment was near the Fondamente Nove, straight up Calle della Racheta, and the second, in fact, up beyond the Misericordia on Fondamenta Ormesini.

    The numbers, for me, are only confirmation that I have managed to find the right address…never for how to find it. I wouldn’t have it any other way, however, I will admit.

    Too bad travelers don’t have that handy book. They probably need it more than the Venetians! 😉

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