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Venice Facts

Tired of museums, history and beautiful paintings? Here are some fun facts about Venice!

The city was founded by people who were escaping Attila’s invasion – the Huns despised going near water!

When two houses are linked by an arch – that’s a sign that the same family owned them both. You may also see beautiful marble arches with the family crest built on it, and those with pictures of saints or famous historical figures.

It is forbidden to ride a bike in any part of Venice – they give drastic fines to cyclists!

The HunchbVenice_-_Il_gobbo_di_Rialtoack of Rialto Bridge– News messengers would read about new laws or important news standing on this sculpture. But this sculpture also has another interesting significance. It was the finish line of a very particular “race”. Since sending criminals to prison was too boring back then, some convicts were sentenced to run from San Marco to Rialto. Doesn’t seem too bad, right? Well, actually the locals were allowed to strike these runners with sticks, whips and anything else along the way! It was a painful penalty to pay, where many arrived to the finish line with a hunchback of their own, but this was their only way to freedom. These convicts were so happy to finally reach the hunchback – and thus freedom – that they hugged and kissed this sculpture for hours!

Interestingly, Calle del Diavolo (Devil’s Street) corners with Calle dei Preti (Priests’ Street). Calle del Diavolo, however, was named this way because at the beginning of the street it has a bridge known for its very steep and slippery steps where people would stumble, fall and often end up cursing!

The real streets of Venice were the canals – that’s why the “Calle”, or alleyways, are so narrow. The main entrances of palaces and normal houses were on the canal-side. Today, Venice also has a parking problem of its own, (Funny, isn’it?) due to too many boats and too few docking spaces. Hence, people are more often choosing to walk than taking a boat to do chores.

clock

The clock tower in Piazza San Marco is just so beautiful – So georgeous, in fact, that legend says that the Doge made the artisans who made it go blind on purpose, so that they would never make a better one.

Masks were not just a Carnival thing. Venetians loved to wear the masks for any possible occassion, and many laws had to be made to specify when, where and who was allowed to walk around masked, especially for security reasons.

Nowadays, Venice has less than 60,000 inhabitants when they were at 140,000 in the golden days!

Nobody believed the it was possible to build the Rialto bridge out of stone. It was a common phrase for a man to say “It will be constructed when I have 3 legs” or a woman to say that she would set herself on fire if the construction were ever completed. From these two proverbs, today you can see these two characters carved in the arches of the building besides the bridge: a man with 3 legs and a woman sitting on a flaming brazier!

The “ghetto” of Venice was the first ghetto in the world. The word, ghetto, derives from the word “getto” in Italian which means “casting”. The ghetto was the area that was near a foundry where metal castings were made.

The lions outside the Arsenale entrance all come from different places. The largest one was raided from Piraeus Port in Athens, and it has Viking letters carved in it since the Viking mercenaries fought in Greece.

Venice onlNaya,_Carlo_(1816-1882)_-_n._10_-_Venezia_-_Arsenaley has two official canals, Canal Grande and Canale della Giudecca. It also has only one true “Piazza”, or square, known as Piazza san Marco, and 2 streets. The small canals are named “rio” (plural, rii), the streets are called calle, salizzada, campo, ruga, fondamenta, or riva. A “campo” is considered to be a larger square while a small square is called “campiello”. “Salizzada” literally means paved. Streets with this name were the first ones to be covered with stones. Ruga was considered to be a street with houses and shops both built on one side, while the “calle” used to only have homes on one side. A street alongside a canal is called “riva” (meaning shore) or fondamenta. A Rio Terà was a canal that has been filled and turned into a “calle”. Just to make things more complicated, Venice’s street addresses are categorized by the building number and the borough, so a typical address might be “San Polo 123 Venice, Italy”, but as you can see there is no street name, and no one has yet to understand why it is still this way.

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Ostello Venezia
Fondamenta Zitelle 86 30100 Venezia +39 041 877 8288
info@ostellovenezia.it
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