Sunday, January 17, 2010


My first most recent adventure was spent yesterday in my Sestiere. Venice is divided into six sestiere, and we've been divided into teams to research and get to know our part like experts. I chose Cannareggio, the northernmost part and most populated by actual Venetians, because it's furthest from the most touristy stuff. It's also really cool because that's where some of the more famous and infamous immigrant communities lived. The Jewish Ghetto- the oldest in Europe and where the word ghetto comes from- is there, along protestant refugee communities who arrived there in the 16th, century. Next week I'll hopefully go to the Lutheran Evangelical church there, although services are in German and Italian only I believe. Venice, being a city that has always been populated by refugees, has had an interesting history of diversity and consistency. People could come from anywhere in the world, and were for the most part tolerated fairly. What everyone had to have in common was that they all wanted to make money. Venice, unlike the rest of Europe, never had a landed nobility- for the simple reason that there is no land in Venice. Instead, Venice was ruled by a wealthy merchant class. You you helped them make money, then you were welcomed. Printers from germany, Jewish bankers, professionals and traders from the rest of Italy and pilgrims from all of europe were welcomed to a greater degree than many other countries- Turkish and Slavic pirates, Jesuits, and invading Austrians, French, or Milanese were not.
The only street (i.e. strada in Italian) in all of venice is there too. Venice has a completely different way of labeling streets than the rest of italy. Instead of via, strada, and piazza, Venitians use the words like sottoporteggo (streets that buildings are on top of), campo (like piazza, but only St. Mark's has the honor of being a piazza), fondamente (meaning it's a street next to a canal), or calle (streets without water on either side). However, when Napoleon invaded Venice, he decided he wanted a nice street that he could march down, so he had a canal filled in a paved over. Thus strada nuova was born. It's kind of nice to walk along a street and not have to think about watching out for where the road ends and the canal begins.

The image was from

No comments:

Post a Comment