Today we officially begin the publication of some selected contents of “Detourism: Venice newsletter” (see previous post: “Detourism for the Up and Down the Bridges“). This is the newsletter prepared by the Tourism Office of the Town of Venice which is sent free of charge to hundreds of subscribers every week, providing valuable food for thought and insights on the history, art and culture of Venice. On our website, in several episodes, we will only present some samples of the newsletter, but the invitation addressed to all the friends of the Up and Down the Bridges is to fill in the online form proposed by the Town of Venice to receive it directly in their email box every week.
Special thanks to the Councillor for Tourism for having enthusiastically welcomed this new important collaboration between TGS Eurogroup and the Tourism Office of the Town of Venice and for giving us the precious opportunity to publish on the pages of this blog some extracts from this newsletter, both in Italian and in English.
To celebrate this link between the City of Venice and the Up and Down the Bridges, we could only start publishing today by talking about the bridges of Venice! Enjoy the reading!
Venice has literally hundreds of bridges, more than 400: over the centuries, many bridges have taken on special names, such as the famous Bridge of Sighs, which links the Doge’s Palace to the structure intended to house the New Prisons. Although nowadays we are used to seeing bridges almost all made of stone and brick, it has not always been so in the history of the Serenissima. In fact, originally and through much part of the sixteenth century, bridges were built of flat wooden planks, which made it easy even for horses or carriages to get from one side to the other. The Rialto Bridge, which crosses the Grand Canal, was built in stone only towards the end of the sixteenth century.
Over the centuries, the wooden bridges have been converted to structures of brick and stone or iron which, originally, had no railings. Today only one bridge in the city still maintains the ancient construction without railings: it’s the Ponte Chiodo at Rio San Felice. Across the lagoon, there is only one other bridge like this, the Ponte del Diavolo (Devil’s Bridge), on the island of Torcello.
The Ponte dei Pugni (Bridge of Fists), at Rio San Barnaba in the Dorsoduro district, has an incredible history. You can easily recognize it because there is a greengrocer’s boat moored beneath the bridge. It owes its name to a Venice’s centuries-old tradition, the rivalry between the members of the city’s two great geographical factions, known as the Castellani and the Nicolotti. They fought with fists (even with stones or sticks, before the regulations) to take possession of a bridge, with the aim of plunging their opponents into the water. The Ponte dei Pugni (which, at the time, had no railings) was one of the most famous fighting sites in the city: four Istrian stone footprints, still visible on the bridge’s floor, marked the starting point for fighters.
Today bridges in Venice are essential for pedestrian traffic and under their pavement run the water and gas pipes, the electrical power and telephone lines.
How does Venice work? Find it out more in this video!
[source: La newsletter di Venezia, no. 17/2020, 18.05.2020]
[picture by Didier Descouens – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0]
To receive the newsletter “Detourism” directly in your email box every week fill in the online form proposed by the Town of Venice.
Discover all the itineraries of #Detourism to explore a different Venice, promoted as part of the #EnjoyRespectVenezia awareness campaign of the Town of Venice.
Adopt conscious and respectful behaviors of the cultural and natural heritage of Venice and its lagoon, a site protected by UNESCO.
Sustainable Tourism Service of the Town of Venice: