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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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Sunday, 05 April 2020 06:00

Alchemy in Venice: Palazzo Lezze

In cannaregio, you will find a special Palace, palazzo Lezze: The name comes from the onwer’s name , Giovanni da Lezze, whose family was from Lecce and they are involved in trades and shipbuilding. Giovanni was a soldier and then became an importat politician in Venice ( Procurator of S. Marco) and in 1611 he began to building the palace that afterwards was completed by the architect Baldassarre Longhena. This Architect had jewish origins and also he had a good knowledge of Cabala and was keen on with esoteric and alchemical studies. He designed the palace and also put some decorations with alchemical meaning. The Alchemy was a doctrine whose followers can find out an equilibrium between brain and heart, culture and moral qualities, penitence and humility and only following this doctrine a man could become a true philosopher. The alchemy foreseens one ‘spiritual’ aspect and a‘ laboratory’ one, that had to join together in the practice. Unfortunately, beside the popular authentic alchemists there were also many charlatans that threatened the reputation. The most popular magic used by the alchemists with laboratory skills, was the transformation of impure materials into gold and silver. The impostors used a hoax with their customers, in fact they used a wooden box with a hid botton where they put some pieces of gold, at the time of the so called "trasformation" they simply pulled out the gold hid in the box. In order to limit the hoaxes, in 1530 the authorities imposed the death penalty for each alchemist. Starting from that moment the spiritual alchemists had to hid theyselves and became to widespead a symbolic language that was understood only but the followers. Among the marble or stone inlays, the most visible and representative is placed in a corner behind the faced of this building.There is a king with a flaming crown with two man at his side and over them are placed two pellicans. On this figures there are the sun and the moon that in the alchemical language the sun represents the phisophical gold and the solar knowledge, the side figures under the sun and the moon are recpectively the Mercury and the salt, materials that transform, meanwhile the pellican is another alchemical picture. The philosopher and the alchemist ‘’Fulcanelli’ called this palace "the phisophical palace of Venice".

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.

 

My website: www.freewalkinvenicetours.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/freewalkinvenicetour/

Facebook: Free walk in Venice tours

Our Italian net: www.freewalkingtouritalia.com

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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#PEOPLEFIRST ? ? I am proud to ve part of an italian network  made by people that connect constantly to share good practices and ideas on how to further develop and improve tourism itineraries. This weekend Free Walking Tour Italia people met in Turin ? ?last week end.  La nostra rete è fatta di persone che si connettono costantemente per scambiare buone pratiche ed idee per sviluppare e migliorare percorsi turistici alternativi. Questo weekend la rete si è incontrata a #Torino ?

? this is me:  www.freewalkinvenicetours.com

? here where you can find all the other independent free walking tour in Italy: www.freewalkingtouritalia.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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Curious remarks in Venice: Palazzo Grimani di San Luca

 

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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.

 

Did you like this curiosity? Join Free Walk in Venice and our tours will help you to discover more and more !

 

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Where? San Marco, fondamenta della Chiesa 4041

Vaporetto waterbus stop: 1-2-N  RIALTO

 

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Tuesday, 08 November 2016 23:18

Fondaco dei Tedeschi - what do you mean?

T Fondaco dei tedeschi is a endless source of surprise. The terrace suspended over the Rialto roofs and dominating the city is a breathtaking viewpoint. From here is possible to see far across the Venetian lagoon even to the peaks of the nearby Italian Alps. This unique panoramic view will win the hearts of all those who love Venice !

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The building, renovated by Rem Koolhaas, celebrates the traditional elements, textures and shapes of Venice where in the past we had the historical Fondaco dei Tedeschi. Nowadays this is a new luxury department store and a cultural hub for Venice, promoting events and exhibitions.

 

 

 

This and many other suggestions during our Free Walk in Venice tours. Join us !

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Tuesday, 08 November 2016 20:48

The clock of San Geremia

In Venice the life of the city found in the clock an irreplaceable controller of the hundreds of activities taking place.

The Venetian Governament's decision to assign to the clock of San Geremia, alongside that of San marco (construction of which was completed in 911), that of the Frari (erected from 1361 to 1396) and that of San Francesco della Vigna (completely rebuilt, ending in 1581), the task od advising with strokes of their bells when the Maggior Consiglio, that is to say the highest political body of the Republic of Venice was going to meet was of enormous importance. Gradually the citizens (about one hundred thousand people) learnt to appreciate how handy it was to associate the division of time as tolled by the bells with the rhythm of their working day.

 

Do you want to learn more? Join our Magnificent northern side of Venice and Jewish Ghetto tour! :)

 

 

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Wednesday, 02 November 2016 19:07

Coffee in Venice!

Do you like the Italian coffee "espresso"?

Europeans got their first taste of coffee in 1615 when Venetian merchants who had become acquainted with the drink in Istanbul carried it back with them to Venice. Venetian merchants followed the sea routes that linked the far east with Venice and Naples, bringing the first bags of coffee in their city. At first, the beverage was sold on the street by lemonade vendors, but in 1645 the first coffeehouse opened in Italy. Coffeehouse soon sprang up all over the country and they become a platform for people, especially artists and students to come together and chat…then it is certain that Venice was the first place in Italy where people experienced the delicious aroma of coffee! Historical documents revealed that the ambassador in Costantinople Gianfrancesco Morosini was the first to mention the coffee in a report to the senate of Venice in 1585. Some ancient papers testify that in Venice the coffee was very expensive and considered a valuable medicine (prepared as infusion with powder of roasted coffee beans). Towards the end of the century, the infusion of coffee became so popular and required by the people, and the senate issued a special order and it procured and imported larger quantities of coffee for the city of Venice.

 

The first coffee shop was opened by Turkish traders in Saint Mark’s square under the Procuratie Nuove.  Given the success in a short time it opened more than 200 coffee shop throughout the city. In 1720 was opened the CAFÉ’ FLORIAN , which boasted a long line of illustrious clients, such as: Giacomo Casanova, Carlo Goldoni and Lord Byron. Equally important are two other historic coffee in Saint Mark’s square: CAFFE’ QUADRI and CAFFE’ LAVENA , the first opened in 1775 and the second in 1750.

 

 

If you want to discover more about the daily life in Venice book your free tour by Isola Tour , the original Free Walk in Venice! :)

 

Enjoy a hot cup of coffee!

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