Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Never the Same Bridge Twice

At sunset yesterday
The pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus famously stated that "one can never step into the same river twice", but in Venice this might be reasonably altered to "one can never cross the same rio twice."

Nor, for that matter, as the sky and its light are changing just as ceaselessly as any river, can one ever really see the same bridge twice. Something I only just realized about the particular bridge in these two photos, though I see it (or don't really see it) pretty much every day.


  1. Sorry, it's not about the bridge, but...Can you get a venetian's opinion what is the Italian variant of the Venetian female name Zanetta? I'd appreciate that greatly.
    I rread a book about Casanova, and the author's saying that Zanetta is "the Venetian female form of Italian name Giacomo".

    I doubt that.

    If it's not too much trouble and when a chance presents itsels...

    1. But considering Iacopo is the Venetian version of Giacomo--just as Iago is another variant of the English name James--I don't know how Zanetta would come into it. But I emailed a Venetian with the question.

    2. Sasha: Haven't heard back from my Venetian friend, but it occurs to me that based upon the fact that SS Giovanni e Paolo is known as Zanipolo in Venetian, one can assume that Zanetta is related to the Italian name Giovanni; I'd guess a diminutive female version of Giovanni. How does this sound to you? Like you, I do not believe it has anything to do w/ Giacomo.

    3. Thank you, I hope your friend comes through.

      Yes, Giovanni=Zani, so there is no way Zanetta is a female form of Giacomo. Or there is? I think I can find a native Venetian to clarify this with a final authority.

      The book that offers such a misleading info is Ian Kelly's Casanova, it's covered in blurds extolling it's greatness, but there are so many weird assumptions there. For example, the author makes a guess that the trees boy Casanova saw from a boat on his first trip to Padova were probably the first trees he was seeing in his life - since "there are no trees in Venice". Or that the witch that was treating his nosebleeds in Murano was "probably some peasant from Burano". Well, there is no agriculture in Burano so there are no peasants either, and why "a peasant from Burano" should relocate to Murano and be a witch there - beats me. Kelly had no base for this assumption, he is just...speaking, these are not educated guesses but just instances of verbal flatulence.

  2. Rien n'est jamais la même chose à Venise, c'est pour cela qu'après plus de trente années, je ne me suis pas lassée d'elle.
    Parfois avant de la retrouver j'ai peur de ne plus l'aimer comme les autres fois, mais il y aura comme toujours un cadeau qu'elle me fera à un moment et je serai là !
    bonne soirée

    1. Danielle, you're reminding me of a lecture I attended by the French intellectual Hélène Cixous in which she spoke of Shakespeare's Cleopatra, who's described as a 1,000 women in one, as endlessly new & intriguing, as the greatest female character in literature. The same can be said of certain cities and, as you say, any fear that you may grow tired of them turns out to be unfounded.

  3. Replies
    1. Sometimes I'm struck not just by how much I overlook, but how much I willfully overlook: in a city like Venice w/ so many old things I often find myself dismissing something with "Oh, I know that bridge is only 100 years old so I won't even look at it." Of course even in a rather old US city like NYC, 100 yrs old is considered venerable. Well, I guess there's only so much anyone can take in...