One day, I happened to cross this bridge in Cannaregio.
You’ll see Venetians touch this hook for good luck.
At the foot of the bridge, I noticed this sotoportego:
And, because the sun was shining at just the right angle, I started to notice some details on the columns adjacent to the canal.
There were words inscribed into some of the columns, but many of them were too indistinct to make out properly. I remembered someone telling me about doing brass rubbings, and I wondered if that method might work in this situation, also.
So, I began the search for some paper that would be large enough, and thin enough, to achieve my aim. I finally found some in a tiny shop on campo San Giacomo dell’Orio (with the help of the people in the School of Graphic Art which is across the canal from me).
My rubbing kit looked like this:
The experiment didn’t work. The incisions were too shallow, and the surface of the columns was too bumpy.
Here are the words I could make out:
Eterna memoria dell anno 1864 del il ciaggio veduto venezia
(Eternal memory of the year 1864 of the ice seen (in) Venice)
che se sta sule e fondamente nove andava la gente ….
(the meaning seems to be that people could walk out from Fondamente Nove)
and, more words I couldn’t make out , then
vicenzo bianchi a 1838
When I spoke to Fausto (http://http://alloggibarbaria.blogspot.com/ ) about this, he confirmed that the northern lagoon had frozen in 1864, and so it seems that someone had made this effort to record the event, to be read down the centuries.
There are many other things scratched into the columns, so if you find yourself in this area of Cannaregio, take the time to go and see what you make out on this long ago version of the Daily News.