Venice Streets Explained

Why is it that when you go to Rome or Florence, you stroll down a via or a strada, but in Venice you rarely see these words? Instead, you see things like calle, (which makes you think you’re in Spain or Mexico), ruga, ramo, and sotoportego (with various spellings). Dianne Hales unravels the mysteries in her article here:

Venice on Foot

As you may remember, I recently posted about Dianne’s book Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered. Though Dianne knows Florence and Rome best, she recently returned from a trip to Venice and wanted to share some of her new knowledge.

Casa Aretino

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Toast to the Birthday Boy!

Happy Birthday to our man Casanova!

Others are celebrating as well: (These posts aren’t archived, so if you don’t click on this today, you’ll miss it!)


To commemorate C’s birthday, here’s a Quattro Minuti con Casanova (okay, quattro e mezzo minuti) that tells the story of C’s birthplace. Was he born on the Calle Malipiero as the plaque on that street contends? Or around the corner at his grandmother’s house on Calle de le Muneghe? Watch this episode for some details, or read the fuller story in Seductive Venice: In Casanova’s Footsteps.

Quattro Minuti con Casanova: Marzia Farussi’s House

We are just a few years away from Casanova’s 300th birthday, in 2025. What will you do to celebrate? I think you should start planning now, and make it a really great party.

Thanks to my friend Adriano for filming this episode, on a particularly hot day.

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Terrorists in Venice!?


Just got this news from an Italian friend: Authorities arrested four men who were planning to bomb the Rialto Bridge.

The Telegraph article

I emailed with a Venetian friend who works near Campo Manin, where one of the men was arrested. He said that the arrest went smoothly, as far as he could tell. Any of my readers who live in Venice–what have you heard or seen? What’s the news… (wait for it)…on the Rialto?

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Redefining Beauty: Luisa Bergallii Gozzi

Luisa Bergalli Gozzi2

Women’s History Month is almost over, and I don’t want to miss the opportunity to tell you about a little-known remarkable Venetian woman. Labeled a shrew, when really she was the one supporting a crumbling noble family, Luisa Bergalli Gozzi gathered poems by other women poets into an anthology, saving their work for posterity. When women were seldom educated, women writers were seldom published, and women were seldom recognized for their minds, Luisa made sure that over 250 Venetian poets would be remembered.

Click here for the video link: Luisa Bergalli Gozzi

Besides editing the anthology, Luisa was also a translator and playwright. I read in one source that she introduced into plays everyday objects like brooms, aprons, and such. Most sources attribute this innovation to Carlo Goldoni, but Luisa was writing her plays a couple decades before him. Hmm. I’ll leave that to scholars who specialize in theater history to sort out, but certainly Luisa Bergalli Gozzi should be included in this conversation.

Here are some views of the Palazzo Gozzi in Campo Santa Maria Mater Domini.

Thanks to my friend Laura for filming on this day. Lots of children’s chatter in the background. What do you think: charming or annoying?

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What Does a Navel Have to Do with Casanova?


Here is a curious item related to Casanova. My friend Marco sent me photos of a small medal cast in silver. At his request, it was commissioned and then created in 1998 by a Dutch association to honor Casanova. Roberto Ruggió designed it. Only 107 of them were made.


One would expect to see Casanova’s portrait on the medal, but no, this is no ordinary creation! The flip side of the medal shows a girl’s navel. Marco asks, “Would a boy’s navel be different?” Maybe we should begin making an investigation into this question.

But why a bellybutton to represent Casanova? Marco did not explain this part to me. So I present the question to you: You may not know the correct answer, but perhaps you can provide a creative suggestion! I’ll share these ideas with Marco to see if any of you guess correctly.

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Where Am I?

Can you figure out where I am? (Or technically, where I was. I’m in California right now as I post this!)


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Bug Killler Gondola

As part of my occasional series of gondola-related stuff, here’s your latest peek into my collection. I got this at the fair trade shop by the Rialto Bridge. It’s made from used bug spray cans. Clever recycling, but whoever got the idea to make gondolas?? The ferro on the front is surprisingly accurate, with prongs for all six sestieri, and the fero da pope on the back is one of the more elaborate styles. Besides the usual loveseat, tt has a little lantern and side chairs. But the area where the gondolier would stand is not flat, so he or she would have a hard time balancing or rowing. The one missing element is the forcolaIMG_9674 IMG_9675 IMG_9676

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