A place where time seems to stop. Here a very rich brotherhood settled, which developed a complex infrastructure at the service of the confreres, including a school, a hotel, a hospital and what to eat thanks to the luxuriant vegetable gardens. Here Reyer (a national basketball team) trained for years and today there are high-level workshops for restoration and other museum activities.
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The Campo dell'Abbazia (or as written in the Campo de l'Abazia nizioleto) can be reached by following different routes, one of these starts from Strada Nova, makes a short detour near the Church of San Felice, runs alongside the Fondamenta della Misericordia and arrives in the field in question.
Built on an island called Val Verde, Campo dell'Abbazia owes its foundation to a religious settlement that settled in the area from the 10th century. The moment of greatest splendor of the entire area began with the arrival of the Confraternita della Misericordia, which settled in the fourteenth century and gradually took care of building infrastructures dedicated to the confreres, from the school to the hospital, from the hotel to the green areas and vegetable gardens. The immeasurable wealth of the Confraternity at the time, is indisputable and can be easily understood also through some known events: for example the usual release on Easter day of prisoners imprisoned for debts (maximum 40 ducats), or the numerous possessions of the confreres scattered around the city and marked with the SMV emblem - Santa Maria di Valverde - with the crowned letter "emme", or even the famous processions during which the participants did not hesitate in any way to show off the numerous possessions and precious objects in their possession.
The first building to be erected in the area was, in 936, the Church of Santa Maria della Misericordia which was initially named after Santa Maria di Val Verde, taking its name from the island on which it was built. The facade of the church owes its current beauty to the architect and sculptor Clemente Moli, a follower of Bernini, in particular for having dealt with the rich entrance portal on which the statue of Senator Gaspare Moro is positioned, who financed the restoration in Six hundred.
Next to the Church, there is the Old School of San Maria della Misericordia, flanked by a magnificent subportego, today home to some laboratories of the Polo Museale del Veneto (former Special Superintendency for the historical, artistic and ethno-anthropological Heritage and for the Polo Museale della the city of Venice and the municipalities of the lagoon eaves); the cloister and garden of the school are of considerable importance, now open to the public only on certain occasions. The School was in vogue, as the seat of the Brotherhood's activities, from the fourteenth century until its transfer in the sixteenth century, the century in which they decided to build a new school due to space requirements.
The painter Italico Brass, grandfather of the famous Tinto, managed to tear the place from a progressive deterioration, buying the building in 1920 and taking on the renovation works.
The Scuola Grande di Santa Maria della Misericordia, the new Confraternity School, is located along the Fondamenta della Misericordia, in connection with the ancient School and the Church of Santa Maria Valverde thanks to a small wooden bridge (note that in the past the bridge was in stone). The new school hosted the confreres until 1806 and in the twentieth century the huge hall on the first floor, adorned with frescoes on the walls, became the basketball court and home to the training and official games of the glorious Venetian basketball team Reyer. Over time this venue will be remembered as one of the temples of Italian basketball because of its particularity and uniqueness.
In the middle of the field there is a well from the XIV century and three of the four sides are decorated with bas-reliefs representing two confreres of the School kneeling with the emblem of the Confraternity in their hands; the fourth face, being stripped, suggests that the well well in the past was leaning against the wall.
In front of the long portico - opened in 1508 to facilitate travel between Campo and Fondamenta and next to the Old School, you can see a low building - Palazzo Lezze - with a large entrance door and refined windows, which was once a Casino , a place of pleasure, managed by the Lezze family of Apulian origins while in front of the New School you will find Palazzo Pesaro Papafava, today a hotel structure.