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Monday, 29 June 2020 06:54

History of the Venetian "campo"

Venice was founded in the fifth century by people from the mainland who fled the Hun invasion from the north to take refuge in the lagoon’s marshy islands. The center of the original community, “Venetia” , moved from island to island , but by the ninth century was firmly established in its present location.

Originally, each island was semi-autonomous. Houses were built around the edge so that each house had direct access to the water for commerce and trasportation. The open space in the center, the campo, was used for community needs such as the graveyard, for grazing cattle, for the water cistern and well, and for the public events such as markets and festivals. Shops and businesses opened onto the campo.  All movement from island to island was conducted by boat; bridges linking the island communities were built centuries later. The city’s island structure created a strong sense of neighborhood identity and rivalry.

Originally, as their name implies, the campi were unpaved fields. In the eighteenth century , to protect ladies’ ankle-length gowns and elegant shoes, especially during the evening passeggiata , wide stone paths called listone were constructed across some campi. Tassini describes the passeggiata that took place on winter evenings along the paved listone on Campo Santo Stefano. Today, Campo San Pietro in Castello district is the only campo that is still grass crossed with stone paths.

Nowadays in the Campo, those living in the neighborhood shop, go for coffee and newspapers, while Venetians living elsewhere pass through on their way to work. In this setting, persons encounter each other many times a day and brief conversations ensue. Here, even casual acquaintances become familiar figures. Public life is visible and audible to all. No part of the campo is fenced off or inaccessible, and of course, there are no cars to impede social interaction!

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Monday, 04 May 2020 09:22

Chimneys in Venice!

If you have three full days to explore Venice, you encountered a delight you’d never read about in any of the many accounts of the city’s history you’d perused, a wonderful legacy of the craft workers who built the city!

Apparently the masons who built Venice brick by brick took special delight in adding a unique fillip to the designs of some of the greatest architects of the age, literally crowning their creations with an extravagant array of chimneys, each unique in its own way.

Venice has about 7,000 chimneys! The chimneys — from the funnel-shaped to those that resemble a twisted pasta noodle — come in 10 different styles. If you’re wondering why anyone would count them all, it’s because they’re part of Venice’s fascinating architectural heritage…could be possible to make a walking tour just to search them!

A distinct architectural characteristic of Venice is found in its chimneys. Try walking around Venice with your nose in the air and you will see an intriguing skyline, punctuated by chimneys of various strange sizes and shapes. These are the same chimneys that can be seen in paintings by Carpaccio and Canaletto among others, and form a vital element of this incredible city’s character, topping off the elegant palaces like so many party hats. There is a practical reason for their odd shapes, however. Their peculiar forms prevent the escape of sparks into the air by whirling them around their inner walls until they fall, spent, to a collecting space at the base of the chimney. A necessary measure in a city that uses abundant amounts of wood in its palazzi!

 

I will back as soon as possible, so far I must inform you that all my tours will be cancelled until the end of the pandemic situation of Covid - 19. For info please send me a private message! Keep in touch! This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Update: I am restarting ! Now you can book your Venice tour!

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My free walk in Venice tours:

Free Walk in Venice tours - Cannaregio and the Jewish Ghetto tour

Free Walk in Venice tours - The heart and soul of Venice: Carampane and Rialto tour 

Free Walk in Venice tours - the hidden secrets of Venice and Dorsoduro: Venice off the beaten tracks

***Please, keep in mind that this is not a daily walk, contact me leaving your email to have the updated calendar or for requesting a special date!*** This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Dear Friends, 
creating connections between people and cultures has always been my priority hovewer with the current COVID 19 outbreak I had to cancel all my tours until new disposals. 
I hope to meet you in the future !
Be safe!
 
Best regards, 
Lu​
 
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Looking at the columns of the first loggia of the Doge’s Palace, you can easily identify two of different colors where tradition has it that the capital remains were read. It is said, however, that one last hope was offered to the condemned: on the side of the building that overlooks the laguna there is still a column (the fourth starting from the corner) that appears slightly out of alignment with the others. Anyone who could walk around the column without falling off the base could have obtained grace. It seems easy, but even resting your back on the column and trying to crawl on its circumference, there is always a critical point where you lose your balance. Try it to believe it!

 

My website: www.freewalkinvenicetours.com

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My free walk in Venice tours:

Free Walk in Venice tours - Cannaregio and the Jewish Ghetto tour

Free Walk in Venice tours - The heart and soul of Venice: Carampane and Rialto tour 

Free Walk in Venice tours - the hidden secrets of Venice and Dorsoduro: Venice off the beaten tracks

***Please, keep in mind that this is not a daily walk, contact me leaving your email to have the updated calendar!*** This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Monday, 06 January 2020 12:19

The mascaron of Venice

The mascaron of Venice

Do you know what is that ? Is it scaring ? Is it funny ? ?? #ig_venezia#lovewhatyoudo#discovering#ig_venice#symbols#mascaron#castello#lovesymbol#picoftheday#mystery#lovemyjob#freewalkinvenice#freewalkingtouritalia ?book your spot here: www.freewalkinvenicetours.com

 

free walk in venice tour mascaron venice www.freewalkinvenicetours.com1

My website: www.freewalkinvenicetours.com

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My free walk in Venice tours:

Free Walk in Venice tours - Cannaregio and the Jewish Ghetto tour

Free Walk in Venice tours - The heart and soul of Venice: Carampane and Rialto tour 

Free Walk in Venice tours - the hidden secrets of Venice and Dorsoduro: Venice off the beaten tracks

***Please, keep in mind that this is not a daily walk, contact me leaving your email to have the updated calendar!*** This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The stunning Clock tower of Venice has been watching over the city for over five hundred years, marking the time with absolute precision from a corner of our beautiful Saint Mark’s Square. This is, of course, one of the most famous architectural landmarks in Venice: it overlooks the triumphal arch of the city’s neuralgic shopping street, the ancient "Merceria"connecting Saint Mark's square to Rialto.

Until 1998, the 5 floors of the tower were occupied, as well as by the clock mechanism, also by a guardian, who divided his rooms with the tolling of the Two Moors. Nowadays not anymore. Imagine to be the guardian there? :)

The Moors are two statues which dominate the Clocl tower of Venice and which  are not strictly moors after all, but were thus defined by the dark bronze patina that covers them, strike a blow, each one, every five minutes.

What does it mean for the poor guardian ? This means that the poor guardian suffered 24 hourly strokes that in a day make 264 deafening shots

At noon and midnight, the sundial also accompanies the two noisy and indefatigable moors. To make sure the passage of time is well marked, the sundial re-enacts the 132 shots made by each moor in the previous 11 hours.

Which means that the poor guardian and family listened to 528 chimes a day multiplied by 365 days, that is 192,720 strokes.

The mechanism

The mechanism of the clock tower of Venice has not remained the same since 1499, but has undergone several restorations commissioned to maintain its operation unchanged. The last one was completed in 2006. It is very interesting to look at the cogwheels, the counterweights system and the large 80 cm drums indicating the Roman numerals for the days.

Walking up the stairs, you arrive on the terrace where the Moors and the bell stand out, and from which you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the lagoon.

Venice Clock Tower offer an amazing wonderful view from the terrace, overlooking the Venetian bell towers and streets. There are more than 178, built as rudimentary headlights to send warning messages to ships in the lagoon in wartime.

Venice Clock Tower: the statues of the Magi Kings

If you are in Venice on the day of the Epiphany ( or on the day of Festa Della Sensa) you cannot miss this short but unmissable event, that every year comes to life in Piazza San Marco, observing the Clock Tower.

From midday you can admire the Three Wise Men, the Magi King, in procession in front of the Virgin Mary and the Little Jesus. At the stroke of every hour, from the panel next to the clock, comes out this procession of wooden figures, representing the Nativity, just like a giant carillon.

They come out of a side door preceded by an Angel with a trumpet, bow before Jesus and Mary and fall into the ancient Tower. The statues are not the originals ones of 1499. but a faithful copy made in the 18th century.

The building of the Clock Tower of Venice

The architect Mauro Codussi built the Clock Tower between 1496 and 1499, while the two side wings were added in the eighteenth century. 

The complex system of the clock, which marks hour, day, lunar phases and zodiac, was created by the Emilia-based watchmaker Giancarlo Ranieri starting from 1493; according to legend, when the watchmaker had finished his masterpiece, the Inquisitors of State made him blind, so that he could never again build an equal one.

 

Many thanks to Monica Cesarato blog for details :)

 

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My free walk in Venice tours:

Free Walk in Venice tours - Cannaregio and the Jewish Ghetto tour

Free Walk in Venice tours - The heart and soul of Venice: Carampane and Rialto tour 

Free Walk in Venice tours - the hidden secrets of Venice and Dorsoduro: Venice off the beaten tracks

***Please, keep in mind that this is not a daily walk, contact me leaving your email to have the updated calendar!*** This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Everyone knows the history of Marco Polo, but do you know this legend ?

Legend says that when Marco Polo lived  in China, he fell in love with one of the Great Khan's daughters and after marrying her, they came back to Venice together. The young and beautiful oriental princess was very sweet and polite, but didn't feel comfortable in the lagoon city and unfortunately she became victim of jealousy on the part of the Marco's sisters.

In 1298, when Marco Polo was captured in battle against the rival Italian city state of Genova (Genoa).  So, the envious sisters in law told the chinese girl that her husband was dead; reeling from pain the girl set fire to her clothes and jumped from the windows of Marco Polo's house into the underlying canal (the rio that you can see nowadays on front of the Malibran Theater).

The legend says that, sometimes, if at night you walk through the Milion courtyard (where Polo's houses stood) you can see a white figure floating in the air or you can hear a sweet song of Eastern origin.

There are no certain documents about this story , but a few years ago, during excavations in the foundations of the Malibran Theatre (built on Polo's old houses), human remains belonging to an Asian woman buried with objects of clear Chinese origins and a tiara with the imperial coat were found.

Who was this oriental woman?

 

 

My website: www.freewalkinvenicetours.com

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My free walk in Venice tours:

Free Walk in Venice tours - Cannaregio and the Jewish Ghetto tour

Free Walk in Venice tours - The heart and soul of Venice: Carampane and Rialto tour 

Free Walk in Venice tours - the hidden secrets of Venice and Dorsoduro: Venice off the beaten tracks

***Please, keep in mind that this is not a daily walk, contact me leaving your email to have the updated calendar!*** This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Thursday, 02 November 2017 16:11

Horses of Saint Mark - Free Walk in Venice tous

Free Walk in Venice tours are glad to present you: Saint Mark Horses

The horses you can see on the pic are the copy created in 1982, the original are inside the beautiful Sain Mark museum.

The original four horses at St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice, can only be described with one word: beauty. They are called the bronze horses, but they are actually pure copper. If you have the opportunity to stare at them long enough, they almost seem real. The two horses pictured above are looking at each other like they are sharing a secret, and we are left in the dark. It’s a miracle of history, time, and circumstance that these horses exist today. We are able to stand and admire their craftsmanship because of a long history of looting, theft, and historic preservation. Do you want when have they been created?

It seems they may have been created by a very famous sculptor, Lyssippos, in the fourth century BCE. However, we must tell you that recent studies suggest that the horses have a Roman and not greek origin. If the antiquity of the horses is not enough to produce a feeling of awe, then the story of how they made their way from Constantinople to Venice will surely amaze. From at least the ninth century CE, and possibly much earlier, the horses stood on top of the Hippodrome in Constantinople. In 1204 CE, Constantinople was totally sacked by Crusaders, and many of the treasures, including the four horses, were shipped to western Europe. This is part of the history.

From 1204 CE, these four beautiful horses grace the terrace at St. Mark’s Basilica. In 1797 CE, Napoleon and the French troop decided that he wanted horses and carried them off to Paris (and not only them). They were returned to Venice a short time later in 1815 CE. There they stood on the terrace until the 1980s, when they were moved inside to save them from pollution. Today on the terrace you can view the replicas, but the real treasure is located inside. The horses stand guard just inside the entrance and look like they are in motion, prancing towards the visitors to greet them. There they will stand for future generations to admire their beauty and realism. Photography is not allowed and the cost of the ticket is 5 euro, totally worth it!

 

 

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CAMPO SAN POLO FREE WALK IN VENICE meeting point on November and December

Free Walk in Venice, free tours. This is one of our meeting points: Campo San Polo. Quiet, elegant and simple, the biggest campo (not square!) of your beloved Venice. Redbenches make the campo a perfect places for relax, in each season of the year!

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