Hidden treasures

Ashes of today and the ashes of yesterday in Venice

Historical Curiosities
ceneri-venezia

Ashes of today and the ashes of yesterday in Venice

When speaking of ash, we immediately think of Venice at the end of Carnival and the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday. In fact it is the last day of the Carnival (Mardi Gras) and the day when believers go to church to receive ash on their head and to remember, after the fun and joy of the carnival, that ‘we were ash and we will become ash'.

Today, Ash Wednesday is therefore a time for reflection and repentance in preparation for Easter.

Not long ago, however, the ash had a very different and practical use... It was lye, a mixture of water and ash that was used to do the laundry and clean raw wool, as it has an incredible whitening effect.

In the Sant'Alvise district in Venice there Ash street, where the deposits of ash were located. We know that trade in this product was very important for the city. In 1579 the wool merchants asked the government that the ash coming from Istria and Dalmatia (then territories of Venice) was not sold outside of Venice, in order not to damage the Saponeri of the city, who were in this way able to maintain the  monopoly of this important product.

If you want to know more about or know other ancient customs and traditions of Venice, you can book online a private guided tour of Venice with our local guide: the route is fully adaptable according to your needs and requirements, including the departure time and the meeting point!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

Latest posts

Treviso: The curious legends about the origin of Treviso Red Chicory

radicchio_CC.Mon CEil
Did you know that...

Did you know that, according to an ancient popular saying, red chicory (radicchio as it is known in Italy) seems to have been born as a...

View

Venice: Acqua Alta: when a normal phenomenon becomes tragic

Acqua-alta-a-Venezia
Did you know that...

Did you know that ‘Acqua Alta’ is an expression of Venetian dialect used by its inhabitants to describe the high tides that occur p...

View

Venice: Mars, Adam and Eve: the Doge's Palace celebrates their return

restauro-adamo-eva-ducale
Unknown places & works

After four years of delicate restoration work, the three fifteenth-century statues by the great artist Antonio Rizzo will be exceptiona...

View

Romano D' Ezzellino: Why do they say ‘If you can't sleep, count sheep’?

contare-le-pecore
Figures of speech

It all started in Romano d’Ezzelino in the province of Vicenza when Ezzelino da Romano, who suffered from insomnia, hired a storytell...

View

Top posts

Venice: The red lights of St Mark’s Basilica in memory of the poor ‘fornareto’

il_fornareto
Mysteries & Legends

If you find yourself wandering around St Mark’s Basilica in the evening, take a look at its southern façade ... you will notice two ...

View

Treviso: Why is Prosecco wine called precisely Prosecco?

colline-del-prosecco
Did you know that...

On 7 July 2019, Veneto and the whole of Italy toasted to the Prosecco Hills, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site! The World Heritage Commi...

View

Venice: The origins of the Spritz cocktail

spritz-veneziano
Local Traditions

Spritz, the typical Venetian aperitif, has nowadays become the iconic cocktail of Happy hour not only in Italy, but all over the world....

View

Belluno: The mystery of the Pietrificatore from Sospirolo

pietrificatore
Mysteries & Legends

Nestled inside the Dolomiti National Park, in the province of Belluno lies the small village of Sospirolo. A peculiar man was born here...

View