Think you really know everything about Venice and its history? Here are ten funny and weird facts we think you don’t know yet. Try reading, then tell us if you know more so we can expand our list. Then you can decide to go on a trip and plan some activities.
1. Venice and its ghosts
Of course, it’s hard to leave Venice and its magic after a weekend visit or an extended vacation. But not only for tourists or for its inhabitants who suffer from nostalgia as soon as they leave the islands of the lagoon. Even the spirits of those who once kicked a leg in these calli and crossed its stone and marble bridges seem to have a hard time leaving the Serenissima.
What can be said, for example, of the wandering spirit of Luzzo, a sixteenth-century painter who committed suicide because of the unrequited love of Cecilia, former lover of the painter Giorgione? His soul still seems to wander in the “Casino degli Spiriti” or the Palazzo Contarini dal Zaffo.
Not to mention the island of Poveglia where, according to some rumors, the spirits of the patients of the psychiatric hospital still hover. And who doesn’t know the bad luck that seems to accompany the owners of “Ca’ Dario”? Overlooking its marble splendor on the Canalgrande, the palace has bewitched many people and many have bought it despite the sad name of bringing bad luck to those who lived there.
All of them, however, had to face more or less serious setbacks, ranging from illness to financial collapse and even death in some cases. Coincidences or the spirits of “Ca’ Dario” do not admit any intrusion?
2. The secret gardens of Venice
How many gardens are there in Venice city? About five hundred. A very high number, especially because in Venice city we are usually taken to admire the canals, the bridges, the gondolas, but we rarely notice the gardens.
Behind the high walls that flank the calli and the foundations are often hidden gardens as majestic and lush as they are inaccessible. So are we destined to never set foot in one of these gardens? Of course not!
One of the most beautiful gardens in Venice unusual, and public, you can find nothing less than St. Mark’s along the Fondamenta Giardini ex Reali and it is definitely worth a visit.
3. Calli, campi and salizade: the topography of Venice
If you were to ask where Piazza San Bartolomeo is in Venice, for example, you’d probably get nothing but blank stares and questions of reference. Not because Venetians aren’t friendly or don’t want to help you, but because there is no place outside of St. Mark’s Square in Venice.
In Venice there are fields and campielli and you don’t walk along the course or the road but along the calli and the fondamenta. Lost in the Venetian toponymy? No problem, we will help you with a little manual:
Small curiosity: the narrowest street in Venice is the “calle Varisco” which is only 53 cm wide.
4. The bridges of Venice
How many bridges does Venice city have? Four hundred and seventeen! Besides the Rialto Bridge and the Bridge of Sighs that connects the Doge’s Palace to the prisons, there are other bridges with unusual and remarkable names. The Ponte delle tette marked the access area to the “red light” district of unusual Venice. The Ponte dei Pugni, on the other hand, seems to have been the favorite place for fights between two Venetian groups, Castellotti and Nicolotti.
5. Venice and the islands
Venice is a somewhat strange city because it is located on islands, one hundred and twenty-four islands connected by bridges. There was a time when there were far fewer bridges and the only means of transportation, especially for the wealthy, was by gondola.
6. Venice and the tides
Water enters and leaves Venice twice a day through three entrances: the Lido, Malamocco and Pellestrina.
An incessant activity of high and low tide that raises and lowers the water level in the canals and takes place seven hundred and thirty times a year. A magic within the magic of the city that ensures its life.
7. Cichetti and shadows along the canals of Venice
Do you want to live like real Venetians? Then, from 6 pm, you must start the ritual of “cichetti” and “shadow”.
Cichetti are small snacks, canapés and various meatballs that serve as an invigorating and tasty accompaniment to the glass of wine, called “ombra de vin”.
Among the best and most characteristic are the “sarde in saor” (sweet and sour sardines), the “baccalà mantecato” on polenta or bread, and tuna or meatballs. The wine of Venice: raboso (red) and tocai (white).
8. The dinosaur of Venice
A dinosaur lives in Venice. The verb “to live” may not be correct, but we are not so far from reality, because in the beautiful Palazzo del Fondaco dei Turchi, which houses the “Museum of Natural History” of Venice, is the entire skeleton of Ouranosaurus Nigeriensis, a seven-meter long herbivore found in Niger and who lived nearly 112 million years ago. Scared? Not at all, the dinosaur is a favorite of every little (and big) person who ventures into the museum’s fascinating halls.
9. Venice and the mummy
How far is Venice city from ancient Egypt? Thousands of years and a thousand kilometers and more, you say. And yet, in Venice, to be more precise, in its lagoon, there is a mummy, that of Nehmeket, given by the ambassador Bolos Bei Iusuf to the Armenian monastery on the island of San Lazzaro degli Armeni. Curiosity? The mummy is in such good condition that it is one of the most admired mummies in Europe.
10. Impiraresse, squeraroli and gondoliers… only in Venice.
There are works that, unfortunately or fortunately, are only the heritage of Venice. For example, being a gondolier in any other place than the canals of the Serenissima Republic would be really hard (if you exclude Las Vegas, but I would say it’s quite different to do it there).
But it doesn’t stop there, on the contrary, the list could go on and on, and we’re just listing a few examples for now. The “impiraresses”, for example, were the women who “impirassivano”, that is to say, they put in long rows the colored glass balls of different sizes and different works to make necklaces, bracelets and others. These activities have almost completely disappeared, today in Venice unusual there are still some “impiraresses”.
What about the “squeraroli” or “master choppers” who were at the head of the carpenters responsible for the fleet of Venice, when it was a maritime power with territories in the entire Mediterranean. The term “squerarolo” comes from “squero” or “laboratory” in which the ships were worked. Today, there are very few left, both the “squeri” and the “squeraroli”.
Our suggestions for your green stay in Venice
Would you like to discover everything about Venice and retrace our ten curious steps with a visit? We suggest two structures where you can combine the hospitality of Venice with attention to environmental impact to give you a dream stay, without nightmares!
In the heart of Venice, Ca’ Giustino is an ecological apartment located in a historic building in the Cannaregio district. The owners support the fight to make tourism in Venice more sustainable by getting cruise ships out of the lagoon. Here you will find a comfortable 50 square meter complete house, accessible only by public transport, which offers organic products and natural detergents, water flow reducers and a special attention to selective waste collection.
In the Venetian countryside, in Favaro, there is BB Venice, with 100% renewable electricity, ecological cleaning products and solar panels for hot water production.
If you prefer the retro atmosphere of the unusual Venice Lido, you can stay in a vacation home on the Lido.