Curious remarks in Venice: Palazzo Grimani di San Luca
This palace was built in the mid-16th century for the procurator Gerolamo Grimani by the architect Nichele Sanmicheli and completed after his death by the architect Gian Giacomo de' Grigi, known as the Bergamasco.
A legend connects these large openings to an episode rekating to a young Grimani. The young man wanted to marry a young lady of the Tiepolo family, so he asked for her hand, receiving this reply from her father:
"It shall never be said true that I gave the hand of my daughter to a desperate man that has no palace on the (Grand) Canal".
At that, young Grimani promiused that he would have built a house with windows larger that the doorway of Ca' Tiepolo, and so it was.
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Where? San Marco, fondamenta della Chiesa 4041
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Discover Dorsoduro, Venice - The Pugni Bridge !
Departing from Campo San Barnaba, turn left. After a short walk along fondamenta Gerardini, you will come to the "barca", a floating fruits and vegetable shop.
But let's talk about the Pugni bridge. In the past, until 1705, the citizens of Venice were divided into two different factions, the Castellani (those who lived in the Castello, St. Mark - San Marco and Dorsoduro zones) and the Nicolotti (who lived in the Cannaregio, San Polo and Santa Croce areas).
Clashes were frequent and often took place on the city's bridge. These fights, which at times involved hundreds of people, were not repressed or punished by the government, who merely decided the rules. The congflicts could only take place between September and Christmas and they followed a precise set of rules. Once the challenge had been made, referees were chosen, as was the bridge where the fight would take place. On the chosen day, each faction would arrive to a roll of drums and the sounding of trumpets and would present its champion who either fought alone or in small groups.
The real war only began after this. It consisted of a gigantic free-for-all with hundreds of men battling to get to and claim the centre of the bridge.
Fisticuffs were allowed and, until 1574, sticks too. These were sharp people died. The picture you found on the bridge is the shape of a foot which marked teh contestant's startimg point.
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Let's discover Piazza San Marco - Saint Mark's square!
All the squares in Venice are called "campi" except the most important of all, Piazza San marco, Saint Mark's square.
This square was the centre of political life and all the buildings that surround it were connected to the governement of the Serenissima. It was here that all the most important feasts, celebrations and games in the city took place. In the IX century the doge decided to move his residence here and he had a kind of castle built, the Palazzo Ducale.
In those days the square was much smaller than it is now. In the centre there was a canal, the Batario rio, beyond which there was an orchard "brolo", with vines and fruit trees. Where thne Clock tower stands now there was a sanbuca tree, which the merchands used for tying up their horses. There was a bell tower too, but it was about half the size of the present one and it was mostrly used a watch tower.
The water of the lagoon went aroud the doge's palace-cum-castle, beside the bell tower and as far as a small church, which was the doge's private chapel. Over the centuries the square changed, Artist Gentile Bellini (1429-1507) painted a picture of the procession that took place in the square on April 25th (St. Mark's feast day) 1496.
It is like a photograph of the past. The Palazzo Ducale had by then lost its fortress look. The best defence of the city was the lagoon, which separated it from the enemy like a wall.
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