The Fontego Megio (Depot of the millet) on the Grand Canal in VeniceHistorical Curiosities
The Fontego Megio (Depot of the millet) on the Grand Canal in Venice
Food has always been a very important issue for every government and even the ancient Republic of Venice had to deal with it on a constant basis.
The Venetian State was always concerned with supplying the population with bread, even during time of famine, and this created the need for special deposits, called Fonteghi, to store foodstuffs.
On the Grand Canal, for example, in front of the Casino of Venice, there is the Fontego Megio; it was built in the 1400s for storing grains (mainly millet) and served as a reserve for any food crises that could also lead to social unrest. Documents show that in 1559 there was a terrible shortage of flour and the population, hungry and angry, began to assault the bakers. Fortunately the government of the Republic of Venice, having carefully stowed the grain in the warehouse, opened its doors to avoid the worst!
The building, given its practical function, is rather simple in brickwork, with three portals, slightly backward to make it easy to load and unload the grain. Nowadays it is no longer used to store grain, but instead it is used as a primary school.
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By Insidecom Editorial Staff
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