Perhaps not everyone knows that during the days of the Serenissima Republic, the official language used for legal documents, administrative as well as for literary works was the Venetian dialect, still in use not only in Venice but also in the mainland. Also the toponymy Venice street appeared in dialect.
Many of the bizarre names that appear in the rectangles on every Calle or beginning of Rio are called “nisioeti” (small plaques with names on) white hand-painted on plaster and walls which appeared for the first time in the city after the fall of the Serenissima in the late eighteenth century, though earlier roads were named differently. Their names come from various professions that often are present in that area: calle del Pestrin (milkman), Calle del Pistor (baker), Calle del Fruttariol (greengrocer); calle del Caffettier (coffee), Calle dei Calegheri (shoemakers), Cariola (wheelbarrows) located at San Zulian – a porch and a courtyard bear that name of the carpenter who built them; Casselleria (where the boxes were built for the shipment of goods and the bride’s outfit) and so many other epithets.
For the presence of the majority of those venice street “nizioleti” of course, both Italian and foreign tourists are unable to provide adequate interpretation because it is essential to have at least a fair knowledge of the Venetian dialect.
Presence of Venice street
Between San Marco and the Rialto there are the Frezzerie (where the arrows were melted), the Mercerie (area of the textile merchant and now the area of location of multiple stores), the Spadaria (for the realization of swords), calle Fiubera (buckles for shoes). Also, the name of a place was identified as the function of a specific area, “riva del carbon and riva del vin” in the Venetian toponymy, these places are marked to identify some precise banks or basin used as a landing place for vessels.
The Ponte delle Tette or Sottoportego delle Tette (bridge or porch Tits) indicates a typical area where women were devoted to exhibit their wares to the merchants and the nobility of Venice.
Being the city of Venice rich in churches, still nowadays many names of streets represent various religious communities such as: the Calle dei Preti (priests) located at Castello or calle delle Muneghe (nuns) at San Marco.
A lot of foreigners have lived in different parts of the lagoon city, whose names were of easy reference to understand where they came from: Riva degli Schiavoni (the Dalmatians who came with their vessels from Dalmatia), the Calle dei Ragusei (from Ragusa in Dalmatia, now known as Dubrovnik in Croatia), Calle delle Turchette (small Turkish – the bridge, the calle and the fondamente delle Turchette would be named for a colony in which some Ottoman prisoners were confined), Calle del Fondaco dei Tedeschi (German shopping street).