Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Italian (Venetian) sayings- se no ghe fosse el ponte

Despite having lived in the Veneto, the area of which Venice is the capital, for fifteen years, I had never heard this one. Probably because I lived in Vicenza and Padova, and not in Venice itself.

Se no ghe fosse el ponte, el mondo saria un'isoea (se non ci fosse il ponte il mondo sarebbe un'isola.) If it weren't for the bridge, the world would be an island. The bridge referred to is the Ponte della Liberta', built in the 30's to connect Venice to the mainland (or from their point of view, to connect us to Venice.) The railroad bridge already dated from the 19th century.

The saying reminds me of the famous headline (apocryphal?) in a British newspaper: "Fog over Channel , Continent isolated." Islanders do tend to have this mentality (my father was a native Key Wester.) Sicilians call Italy "the continent," as if they were not part of the same country. And Nantucketers used to call Massachusetts "America."

(in the photo, the bridge that was built to graciously connect us to Venice)