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Ashes of today and the ashes of yesterday in Venice

Historical Curiosities

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

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