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La Bussola - Free Tours of Venice

11 Feb

Calle del Forno

Streets in Venice are not called ‘via’ like in the rest of Italy, but ‘calle’ for example Calle del Forno.

Sign with the address Calle del Forno

Calle del Forno

Street names repeat themselves throughout the city: there are 17  Calle del Magazen, 16 Calle dei Preti, 15 Calle de Mezo and 31 Calle del Forno.

Calle del Forno means street of the oven so you can imagine why there are so many. Even though baking bread sounds pretty simple, in Venice, very much like everything else, it was complicated. All ingredients had to be imported: flour or wheat from Balkans or from Eastern Mediterranean, fresh water form the Venetian mainland, even wood for fire was imported from the Dolomites. So you can see how this was a question of international politics for Venetians.

Entrance of the restaurant Do Forni

Entrance of the restaurant Do Forni

The Restaurant ‘Do Forni’ which is one of the most famous historic restaurants in Venice, takes its name from two ovens that used to provide with backed goods the nuns living in the nearby convent of San Zaccaria. This convent was one of the most important of Venice, because it was next to Saint Mark’s Square, it was protected by the Doge and noble families used to send their daughters there to be educated and to open an opportunity for them to become nuns. The demand for bread and pastries from the convent was very high, as a result the two ovens were only able to bake just for it. This wasn’t just for nuns needs but also to provide food during elegant gatherings frequently organized for noble relatives, in spite of the fact that nuns were not supposed to have contacts with the external world. Of course, that was possible just because they were all coming form upper nobility. One of this social occasions is represented in a famous painting by an 18th century master, Francesco Guardi, that is nowadays part of beautiful collection held in Ca’ Rezzonico.

Painting by Francesco Guardi, The Nuns Parlor at San Zaccaria, painted between 1745 and 1750. Now at Ca' Rezzonico Museum in Venice.

Francesco Guardi, The Nuns Parlor at San Zaccaria, 1745 – 1750, Ca’ Rezzonico, Venice

Want to learn more about Do Forni or San Zaccaria convent  or maybe want to plan a visit to Ca’ Rezzonico?

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