Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ponte dei Pugni

Ponte dei Pugni (Bridge of Fists)
Rio di San Barnaba, Dorsoduro
Venice, October 2012

“There was one game, however, that more than any other symbolised the stability and strength of the Venetian state. It was known as la guerra dei pugni or the war of the fists, fought between the inhabitants of the various territories and neighbourhoods. There were the Rialtini and the Cannaruoli, the Bariotti and the Gnatti. But the largest division of all lay between the Castellani—in the western parishes of Cannaregio, Castello, S. Marco and Dorsoduro—and the Nicolotti in the eastern parishes of S. Croce and S. Polo. The dominant factions were the fishermen of the Nicolotti and the shipbuilders of the Castellani. Their internecine rivalries have already been described. A team from each of these territories met for battle on a chosen bridge, while thousands of spectators lined the streets and houses beside the canal. Dumplings and chestnuts were served to the crowds by street vendors. It was a glorified fist-fight in which the object was to hurl opponents into the water and to gain possession of the bridge.”
(Peter Ackroyd, Venice: Pure City)


Nantucket Daffodil said...

I love invention that bestowed freedom on so many!

tapirgal said...

History, literature, and and a lesser-known sight of Venice.

cieldequimper said...

Lovely little bridge, interesting caption. Fascinating actually!

Dina said...

Somehow that method sounds contemporary.