With the exhibition Water and food in Venice, the Doge’s Apartment in the Doge’s Palace opens its doors again and presents paintings, documents from the historical archive, maps, and scale models and in addition to this, videos and accurate virtual reconstructions, which will take us on a fascinating five- stop journey through the thousand-year old history of Venetian food.
The first section consisting of tri-dimensional scale models and historical maps, The Lagoon transforms itself, tells the story of the centuries-old fight of the Venetian civilisation against the unstable lagoon environment, a border where the earth and the sea compete for their supremacy.
In the second section, Water and food in the lagoon and on the mainland, the impressive painting by Tintoretto, The creation of the animals, dominates the entire room. The painting represents the incredible wildlife variety round the Venice lagoon and shows the characteristics of a food production that has to fight against the hostile presence of salt water, but at the same time pays homage to the lively characters of the retailers in Venice: the pescaori (fishermen and fishmongers), the frutaroli (greengrocers) and the pistori (bakers).
Street festivals (sagre), social events and occasions where food becomes an opportunity to socialise, are the main protagonists of the third section Banquets, parades, games and festivals, which is represented by a series of paintings. Among these paintings, we can see some by Pietro Longhi, the famous illustrator of social customs and painter of the rich Venetian bourgeoisie of the 18th century.
The fourth section Architecture and food, instead, focuses on the eating establishments. Thanks to various sources from the historical archive, it outlines the strong network of institutional, social and commercial relationships, which once made Venice one of the most prosperous cities in the world for a long time. You cannot miss the virtual reconstruction of the osteria (inn) “Cantina Do Spade”, which will enable the visitor to experience the life of a traveller asking for accommodation and food in 1754.
The fifth and last section In the middle of the water/without water describes the paradox of a city, which is surrounded by water but at the same time suffers from the lack of it and that over the years has worked out a system to transport it to the island from the mainland. Now you can go back to the Cantina Do Spade (an osteria, which by the way still exists near Rialto market) and after visiting Water and food in Venice, tell us the truth: do ombre e cicheti (wine and tapas) still taste the same?
Water and food in Venice
26 September 2015 > 14 February 2016
Appartamento del Doge? – Doge’s Apartment
Doge’s Palace, Venice