The hidden initials of King Vittorio Emanuele on the Borgoloco bridgeHistorical Curiosities
The hidden initials of King Vittorio Emanuele on the Borgoloco bridge
During the first half of the 1800s, Venice was one of the protagonists of the Italian Risorgimento against the Austrian domination.
The Austrian empire had a very centralized government and exerted heavy control over the population. What’s more, the police made every effort to stop the Carbonari and the patriots who tried to foment the inhabitants against the Habsburgs.
Despite this, secret societies prospered, finding increasingly ingenious means to disseminate their ideas and send cryptic messages to the population. One of the most interesting examples of these hidden political messages is on the Borgoloco Bridge, which links the island of Santa Marina with that of Santa Maria Formosa in the Castello district.
If you look carefully at the elegant volutes of the iron balustrade of this bridge, you will see that they are not hearts, but three letters: W E V, corresponding to the motto Viva Vittorio Emanuele (King of Italy).
Another way to praise Vittorio Emanuele without risking being arrest by the Austrian authorities, was to yell 'Viva Verdi' during the performances of the famous composer at the Fenice Theatre. Verdi, in fact, was considered an acronym to say 'Viva Vittorio Emanuele King of Italy', as can be seen in the opening scenes of the famous movie 'Senso' shot in the famous theater by the director Luchino Visconti.
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