A wine shadow in VeniceLocal Traditions
A wine shadow in Venice
One of the traditional activities in Venice is drinking wine, and often with something tasty to eat, the famous cicchetti.
If you go to one of the many taverns that are located in the city, the so-called bacari, you can hear authentic Venetians ask the bar tender for a ‘shadow.' But ... what is it? Just a glass of wine, usually red.
This curious way of calling it has its roots in the symbol of Venice: St Mark's Square. As can be seen in various prints and paintings, in the past the square was full of stalls, usually arranged around the base of St Mark's bell tower: junk shops, bakers, spice sellers, wine shops, etc....
The square was therefore the ideal place to meet and talk, usually accompanied by a good glass of wine. The wine merchants were very busy and in order not to spoil the precious liquid and keep it cool despite the heat that sometimes choked the city, they moved their stall around the Bell Tower chasing its shadow as the sun turned around. The wine had to maintain its quality, by being kept in the shade and the glass of wine remained forever... the shadow.
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