The Fondamenta delle Zattere, a sunny promenade in Venice

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Last Updated on November 11, 2023 by Laura Teso

The Fondamenta delle Zattere [fohn-dah-MEHN-tah DEHL-leh TSAHT-teh-reh] is a long dock in the south area of Venice (in Dorsoduro). The pavement was completed in 1516. It goes from San Basilio (west) to Punta della Dogana (east). The whole path is about 1,7 km long and overlooks the Giudecca Canal.

Zattere literally means rafts. But what is the reason of this name? There are two theories:

1. One connects to a historical event, the naval battle occurred in the year 810 between the Frankish army of Pepin, son of Charlemagne, and Venice. Favoured by the knowledge of the area, the Venetians used flat boats, similar to rafts, and attracted the enemy in shallow water areas. The boats of the Franks got stuck and Venice could defeat them. The outcome of the battle definitively sanctioned the total independence of the Serenissima Republic. So the name would refer to this episode.

Fondamenta delle Zattere Venice
Fondamenta delle Zattere Venice

2. The second theory is less fascinating and relates to the use of this long coastline as the original point of arrival of loads of goods. Some say salt, others coal and still others wood. These goods were transported on rafts, hence the name.

The Fondamenta delle Zattere is now a beautiful promenade with many bars, restaurants and ice cream parlours. It is one of my favourite places in Venice because it’s usually peaceful, sunny, with a great view on the Giudecca Canal.

Bricole in the Giudecca Canal
Bricole in the Giudecca Canal

Fondamenta delle Zattere in conclusion

PLUS

  • Perfect to enjoy a nice relaxing walk
  • Provided with some benches, where to sit and admire the Giudecca Canal
  • Out from the crowd

MINUS

  • None in my opinion
Door along the way
Door along the way

Fondamenta delle Zattere Address

The Fondamenta consists of 4 parts (from west to east):

  • Fondamenta Zattere al Pontelungo (where I took the photos)
  • Zattere ai Gesuati
  • Allo Spirito Santo
  • And Ai Saloni