Zattere is the name given to the string of quaysides overlooking the Giudecca Canal on the southern side of Dorsoduro. The Fondamenta delle Zattere runs from the Punta della Dogana in the East, to the Stazione Maittima in the West. Its name comes from the rafts of timber floated down the river Piave from the forests of Cadore to Venice, where the wood was semi-submerged until sufficiently seasoned for use in the shipyards.
The Zattere’s chief charms are its sunny, sheltered position and wide sidewalk, making it one of the city’s most popular places for the passeggiata, the popular late afternoon stroll. There are benches, restaurants and cafes, and some of Venice’s best ice-creams at Nico’s which is near the churches of Santa Maria della Visitazione (Renaissance) and that of the Gesuati (Baroque).
Going East along the Zattere, you encounter the huge Magazzini del Sale (salt warehouses), now used as boathouses and occasional exhibition space. Further East, the Punta della Dogana is the only place in the Venetian port where pepper trading was allowed. This was under strict control by the Authority, at a time when pepper was considered a precious commodity. It was worth its weight in gold, and mainly exported to Northern European Countries where its food preservative qualities were much highly esteemed.