Work and political turmoil breathed in the nineteenth century in Campo Santa Margherita, the beating heart of that purest and most genuine Venetian style.
Today it continues to be a focal point for the Venetians and for the many university students who populate it, with its taverns, bars, ice cream parlor, bakery and fish market. Also excellent as an area for games for young people, where the presence of the fountain allows you to cool off even on the hottest days.
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Almost rectangular in shape, Campo Santa Margherita takes its name from the church of the same name, now deconsecrated and used as the Auditorium of the Ca 'Foscari University, which closes the north-eastern end of the area. In the mid-nineteenth century, for hygienic reasons, it underwent the burial of two streams (today referable to the word terà - buried in Italian): Rio Terà de la Scoassera which runs alongside the Scrovegni Hospice and Rio Terà Canal which leads to San Barnaba.
The field was a lively place of lived life and work ferment: not surprisingly, along its extension, there were two artisan schools, that of Varoteri and that of Caldereri and several calli are entitled to professional activities. Furthermore, in the camp there existed the devotional school of Santa Margherita and the Scuola Grande dei Carmini, which still exists.
In the nineteenth century, with the explosion of industrial activities in the historic center, the district of Dorsoduro was transformed from an area inhabited almost exclusively by fishermen to a working-class neighborhood, in particular of female workers, between the Tobacco Factory and the Venetian Cotton Mill; to these new professions were added also the dockers with the proximity to Porto Marghera. Campo Santa Margherita was soon chosen as the center of political and social life in Venice with connotations of a socialist, worker and subversive nature. An important confirmation comes from the choice to celebrate May 1st on the pitch as well as the election of the former Church of Santa Margherita to host the Camera del Lavoro (from 1907 to 1910).
Campo Santa Margherita was the depository center of that truest and most genuine Venetian style, where the most disheveled artists used to sit in cafes to find out from the locals what it meant to live in the lagoon city. As today, there was no lack of inns and meeting places with the expanses of tables on the pitch and some complaints about the noise of those who lived nearby. For a limited period it hosted the carnival in the field "for the common people", used as a relief valve and a moment of light-heartedness; during the fascist period, the place was distorted in its social nature as every type of political demonstration and not in the square was banned.
The Corte del Fontego, which is met by passing a subportego, recalls the establishment in 1704 of Fontego della Farina while Calle del Caffettier remembers the existence of a dealer of this substance of black color and much loved by man, probably coming from the Turkey, initially used as a medicinal plant and then transformed into one of the most popular drinks still today. The Calle delle Carrozze instead brings to mind one of the many artisan works carried out in the lagoon for the mainland, for the nobles who spent their holidays in the countryside while the Calle dei Caldereri confirms the presence in the field of manufacturers of boilers for polenta, braziers for heat the rooms but also the workers who melted the bells and created bronze and copper vessels. Finally, Calle Renier or del Pistor refers to the pistori, those artisans who kneaded and shaped the bread, during the Serenissima: the Art of the Pistori could be started at an early age, from 12 years old, and the period of practice lasted from 5 to 7 years. Although apparently it does not seem, the activity was subjected to strict controls since the bread had to conform to certain parameters established by the government, in terms of shape and weight, and in the event of a defect the bread was thrown and the craftsman fined.
The large church was built in the 9th century and was consecrated to Santa Margherita in 853. Little or nothing is known of the original structure of the place of worship which was then completely rebuilt in 1687 on a project by the architect Giambattista Lambranzi. With the Napoleonic decrees of the early nineteenth century, during the whole nineteenth century the temple was destined for a tobacco factory, then in 1839 in the deposit of marble, then in the study of the sculptor Luigi Borro and finally in the Evangelical Temple in 1882. 900 becomes the seat of the Camera Del Lavoro, to be transformed in 1921 into the "Cinema Santa Margherita", also known as El vecio; today it serves as the seat available to the Ca 'Foscari University for musical events, presentations and any other cultural event.
In addition to the church, in the field there is the devotional school dedicated to Santa Margherita, established in 1555 and today identifiable by a niche positioned between the windows on the top floor containing a late 15th century statue depicting the patron saint of the association. The Dolfin family certainly lived in the area, as evidenced by a coat of arms of the dynasty which has now almost disappeared.
Once reached and passed the two wells, it certainly fascinates and intrigues the construction positioned almost in the middle of the field: it was the seat of the Scuola dei Varoteri, that is, the Venetians who tanned and sold skins and furs.