The symbol of Venice is the winged lion with a book open under a paw. The inscription in Latin written on the book is as follows: “Pax tibi Marce Evangelista Meus”, and it means “Peace to you Mark my evangelist”. If the winged lion was represented in paintings or sculptures with a sword it meant that Venice was facing a period of war. Most of the “lions” were destroyed by Napoleonic troops in 1797, what we see now are almost all faithful copies of the originals. Even today in St. Mark’s Square are visible 13 “lions”.
In Venice the most popular alcoholic beverage is called “Spritz”: it’s comprised of one part of white wine, one part of mineral water (carbonated), and a third part of moderated alcoholic liqueur (sweet or bitter). Also a lemon rind and/or an olive should be added. For those not accustomed to this drink even a glass can go to one’s head. The origin of the name of this alcoholic drink comes from the age of Austrian dominion in Venice, the verb in German language “spritzen” means “to sprinkle”. Actually this alcoholic beverage is well known in the entire Veneto region but the Spritz has been created specifically in Venice. Up until the 1980’s it was hard to find the drink outside of province borderline (believe us!). The easiest places to find this drink are Santa Margherita Square and San Giacometto Square (near the Rialto Bridge), where there are many bars attended mostly by young people.
The Arsenale of Venice has a surface of more than 320,000 square meters (about a fifth of the whole city). It was visited by the celebrated Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1321). At the age of its best development in the Arsenale there were 18.000 ship-yard workers, the “Arsenalotti”. From this shipyard was launched the majority of the navy commanded by Sebastiano Venier that fought and defeated the Turkish in Lèpanto (on the 7th of October 1751).
St. Mark’s Bell Tower is 98.6 meters high. On top is located a golden angel, its turning wings show the direction of the wind at that altitude. The Bell Tower collapsed on the 14th of July 1902, (luckily there were no victims). It was rebuilt in the same place in less than 10 years and unveiled on the 25th of April 1912, St.Mark’s Day (the city patron). The admittance to the Bell Tower, from which is possible to see an incomparable view of Venice, is allowed only by elevator.
The most narrow alley in the City is Calletta Varisco. It’s located near San Canciano Square: it has a width of only 53 centimeters (about 21 inches)