Details from Calle de la Bissa, San Marco

One of the streets leading from the Campo San Bartolomeo (where you’ll see a statue of the smiling Carlo Goldoni), is the Calle de la Bissa. When I sought the meaning of “bissa”  on this site: wordreference I found that it’s from the verb bissare, to repeat. That left me none the wiser as to why this calle gained this name! Bissa would be the 3rd person singular conjugation, so : he/she/it repeats.

There’s your grammar lesson for today, in fact for MMXVI.

Anyhow, here are a few of the things I saw on some of the walls/pillars as I walked along this calle.


Street sign complete with ubiquitous pigeon

The Lion of Saint Mark (1936). I wonder what the A and XV represent?


This one is from 16o9. (If we wrote 9 in Roman numerals today, it would more likely be IX, rather than VIIII.)


I wonder what was removed from here, and when that happened.


And a random pretty tree, which is no doubt laden with symbolism.




Filed under Venice

52 responses to “Details from Calle de la Bissa, San Marco

  1. I enjoy all the comments from your curious and knowledgable readers!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yvonne, blast this word press—I’ve sent you a couple of message but they aren’t posting–of which I’m certain this one won’t post either—I had lost you, and now found you but can’t tell you!!!
    Let me hear from you if you ever find my comments…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Julie. I don’t know what WP gets up to at times. I found your 3 comments in my Spam file, I’m sorry you were treated so badly! Maybe that’s what’s happening with Signor Pecora Nera! I’m glad we’ve reconnected. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Me to Yvonne—WP drives me crazy—love hate you know 🙂
        ciao ciao bella

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’ve just put a message on Peter’s blog, to see if you’re filed in his Spam folder.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thank Yvonne–I tried e-mailing but doubt it went through—he may or may not miss cookie’s ignorant observations–but I do so enjoy his banter… plus I had to explain what mint juleps were—
            I’ve lost several folks off my reader and I’ve had several folks tell me they’d lost me as well—all rather odd, but ode to the internet…
            I’m itching to head back to Italy…but with my dad, that won’t be any time soon as it is an act of congress just for me to dip out for a weekend away—such is my time in life right now—so I drink in my Italy fix from you and PN 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  3. All right Bun wins the prize for original answer. I was busy studying the detail until funny boy came along. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • His mind moves in mysterious ways, for sure, Sue. Wouldn’t you love to meet him one day? Hey, maybe you could combine that with one of your adventures.


  4. I was hoping that the true meaning of Bissa would be kiss. It is close to several languages biss, baiser, buss (Shakespeare) – never mind!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The missing one intrigues me – you don’t just use an eraser on stone, so what was so significant that it had to be chiseled away?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I checked the Lorenzetti guide for an explanation of the name’s origins. “Bissa” is undoubtedly the venetian word for “snake”, from the italian “biscia”. Lorenzetti reports of two possible derivations: the first one (which I find less convincing) is linked to the sinouos path of the streets in that place, which at his times still existed. As somebody already wrote, the area changed his appearance after that in modern times (I guess in 1936, remember the inscription over the lion?) the main street was enlarged and straightened.
    The second explanation links to the linen shops. This way, the right name should have been “calle del bisso”, but for the common mechanism of the so-called “lectio facilior” it was turned to “bissa”, which in popular language was a more commonly used word than “bisso”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much for your contribution, Winckelmann. It is appreciated. I’ve also had answers from Andrea Bizio Gradenigo (whom you probably know), and he says the same as you about Bissa=snake. I’m glad you came along and read this post, and gave us answers, Winckelmann.

      Andrea adds: (my translation) 1936 (with the emblem of the town) is related to expansion / renovation of the portico or calle.
      “A XV” means the fifteenth year from the event of fascism.

      The name “Calle della Bissa” is found for the first time in 1340.
      Sabellic: “vicus here in anguis speciem retortus, anguineus dicitur” (road, twisted like an eel, is called anguillinea adjective-eel).

      The coat of arms with MDCVIIII (1609) are the initials A. T. it is the coat of arms of the Trevisa: A. T (Revisan)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. maristravels

    I like the lion – he looks quite human and approachable.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I always struggle with Roman numerals. Now you gone and complicated it even more 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The A stands for Anno or if a female was ever involved Anna. For English, Australian, or American tourists it is best explained that it stands for Apple and is related to the story of Eve.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aha! The biblical connection, Gerard. Thanks for adding to the confusion.


      • Hallo Yvonne. Look at the date: 1936. “A. XV” means Anno Quindicesimo dell’era fascista, fifteenth year of the fascist era. You can find it everywhere in documents and still somewhere in monuments, because it was mandatory to add it to the normal date. The “era fascista” started in 1922, so that 1936 was the #15.
        Unfortunately I have no idea of what the “A.T.” in the older inscription means.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Andrew Hall

    This is the route we take to the apartment we rent, Yvonne, so it has a special place in my heart. It also has the worst (imho) restaurant in Venice at its opening into S. Bartolomeo!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Jane

    Bissa : snake. Calle della Bissa in Campo San Bartolomeo has this name because it was crooked or perhaps because you overlooked shops selling silk fabric called “fine linen.” Before the opening of the arcades, executed in modern times, that cut the path to the Ponte di Sant’Antonio, the path was a series of short streets perpendicular one to the other. (Copied from someone else’s thoughts on street names in Venice.) Love from Florence!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well, now you’ve thrown another theory into the melting pot, Jane!

      I had read the connection with fine linen on the Word Reference site, but rejected it! They had a sentence in Italian that translates to: “Fine linen cloth, native to India and Egypt very fine embroidery fabric type”

      How much longer are you in Florence? Did you join the protest about the proposed McDonald’s near the Duomo?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jane

        Didn’t know there was one! Lots going on with the San Givanni ‘s day celebrations and the Calcio Storico…….and the Hari Krishnas. I have never seen it so crowded!

        Went to the new museum of the “innocenti ” this morning. We got there early and had to wait for them to open the “golden” doors before we could go in. Not sure the doors send the right message,but they are hard to miss when closed. Seeing them fold up on themselves is interesting . The museum is fascinating and worth a visit. They appear to have space to expand into. Not sure what age I would take kids in…..though the book store seems aimed at children. I think it might give thoughtful kids nightmares. As always thanks for making my visit a bit more special!

        Leaving for home Tuesday.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh, you got to see the Calcio Storico! Was it exciting? And the Hari Krishnas as a colourful addition …

          The new museum sounds worth a visit, for sure. It’s on my list for next year.


  12. And also have you noticed that on all clocks with Roman numerals the ‘four’ is always IIII and never IV as it should be. There is a reason.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I really want to know what the ‘A’ means with the XV and the other one with the ‘A’ and the ‘T”

    Liked by 1 person

  14. It’s all so fascinating isn’t it! I kind of thought along a less intelligible route than Cynthia – her response is so much more learned and sensible than mine would have been, so I’m sticking with her thoughts ………. and then I agreed with Lisa about the tree, so that’s been settled. And I love your response to Lisa too – ha ha!! Maria would be tickled 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Perhaps the other two carvings were also lions and their disappearance, an early sign of Brexit.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. In an old tour guide book in Italian, I have seen it written as “calle della biscia” which it might once have been and changed over time. In that case, since “biscia” is a snake, could it be “street of the snake?” I know it’s a major shopping thoroughfare now, but is some part of it serpentine and winding? There was also some bit about how nefarious types used to hide out there and assault people after dark.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. I think your tree is a tree of life. It’s interesting the A on one side and the numerals on the other, but in one picture it’s a T. In any event, I think your Bissa, since it’s preceded by La is a noun, more like encore, than repeat the verb. Street of Encores. That’s a bit poetic. Street of second chances…

    Liked by 3 people

    • As always, Venice provides little mysteries.

      I like your analysis of the name of the calle. It could have been where a famous opera singer lived, and folks kept calling for encores …

      Liked by 4 people

Now let's hear it from you, folks.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s