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Origin of place names in the Lagoon

Find out more about Venice toponymy.

Calle – name used for narrow and long streets inside Venice. Originating from Latin ‘callis-is’ could be translated like ‘path’. Totalling more than 3000, some are called ‘calletta’ or ‘callesella’ (smaller ones), but also long or wide path.

– abbreviation used by Venetian inhabitants to name the houses, mainly the aristocrats’ ones. Cà Foscari, to give an example, one of the lagoon universities.

Campo – in toponymy has the meaning of ‘square’. In ancient times the grass fields were used to graze livestock. Ages after they were cobbled turning into the present result. Campiello stands for a smaller ‘campo’ and is exactly where the well-known literary award of the city originates from.

Corte – name originating from ‘cortile’, that is yard. It is indeed a small square surrounded by buildings, with an opening as entry/exit. ‘Cortesele’ are even smaller ones.

Fondamenta – name for the banks along the city canals. The name originates from their real function of base (fundament) of the buildings. They are still used for vessels docking.

Briccole – what about our ‘briccole’? The etymology is still uncertain, yet the word probably originates from breeze (the wind), in maritime vocabulary they are called ‘duc d’albe’, ‘dalben’ or ‘dolphin’.