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Venetian idioms: ancient sayings in modern times
for our rendez-vous after the summer holidays, we have been inspired by a very popular subject, which has branded the Venetian idiom with a lot of “ pills of wisdom “ and idiomatic expressions that we still use today.
There are really a lot with regards to everyday life in all its points of view, but we picked out only a few of them among the most significant and understandable.
Owing to the fact that “ La Serenissima “ Republic of Venice was a strong force of the seas,
most of them have historical provenance. During the centuries “ La Serenissima “ expanded its supremacy as far as the islands and the territories of the Adriatic and Mediterranean seas, including almost all the east coasts of the Adriatic (entirely known as the Gulf of Venice) and also the large islands of Crete (“ Candia ” for the Venetians), Cyprus and a very big number of the Peloponnese’s islands (“ Morea “ for the Venetians ). Its influence expanded as far as the Bosphorus.
Let us begin with the way of saying “ andar o mandar a Patraso co tuto “ which means either “ to launch into eternity “ or “ to go to one’s last home “. The different interpretations take reference from two historical events: the first from the defeat of the Venetian Admiral Vettor Cappello in 1467 at the island of Negroponte, very near to Patras. He died of a broken heart shortly after this defeat. The latter from the defeat of ship-chandler Giacomo Barbarigo in 1446 against the Turkish in Patras.
A very poor, thin fellow is said to be “ seco incandio “ which means “ as thin as a lath “. This expression is derived from Candia, well known for the war against the Turkish which went on 25 years, for which in 1668, the Venetians had to pay out four million and three hundred ninety two thousand ducats (4.392.000). This enormous sum of money left the Venetians’ pockets empty and ruined the finances of the city. Due to this never-ending war, the Venetians remained “ incandii “ (very very poor).
A very typical expression is also “ andemo bever un’ombra “ (come with us for a glass of wine). It is used to invite someone for a drink. Its meaning comes from the XIV century when different businesses proliferated around the bell tower in St. Mark’s Square: second-hand dealers, bakers, spice sellers, inns. After some time, only the inns remained and the wine was served at the tables, which changed place during the day, according to the shade of the bell tower. This is the reason why they said “ andemo bever all’ombra “ (let’s have a glass of wine in the shadow) which in turn became “ andemo bever un’ombra “. This expression has become of common usage and it is the one preferred by the Venetians.
A soft subject to make your transition from the summer holidays easier and a reminder we are always at your disposal, waiting for your next stay. You can get in touch with us or you can easily reserve as usual through our website, where you will find our best rates and proposals.
Many thanks and kind regards,
The Serandrei Family
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