Hidden treasures

The Boteri and the art of wine in Venice

Historical Curiosities

The Boteri and the art of wine in Venice

Venice has always been a city of wine lovers: once the lack of water meant that rainwater had to be collected in wells - and thus, wine was often cheaper and healthier (rain water was not entirely pure or safe to drink).

Of course, there was a flourishing trade for wine, mainly concentrated in the Rialto market, where the place names help us to trace it once again. On the Grand Canal, close to the parish of San Salvador is the Riva del Vin, and the brotherhood of the sellers was exactly in this church.

Many crafts were related to wine, for example that of the Boteri, that is those who manufacture the barrels for storage and transport of the precious liquid. In the San Canciano parish there is in fact Calle dei Boteri, but there is more: in the Rialto Novo Square, opposite to that of San Giacometto, reliefs are carved in the pillars of the arches depicting the symbols of the various arts including a barrel, because that was warehouse used by the brotherhood of Boteri, whose headquarters were located in front of the church of the Jesuits (Fondamente Nove area), so called by the name of the small square.

Perhaps the most incredible trace that this ancient craft left behind in the area is located in Calle dell'arco, at number 456: the bottom of the door is slightly enlarged, so that the barrels could pass through.

Another curiosity: the Boteri were obliged to repair free of change the barrels of the court of the Doge.

If you would like to visit these fascinating places and learn about other ancient Venetian customs, Francesca, our brilliant guide will be happy to accompany you to discover a hidden Venice, where every little street and square holds traces of the ancient traditions of the city!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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