Zaletto — seller of sweet maize cakes with butter — Zompini — Arti #6

Gaetano Zompini - Arti che vanno per via - plate 06 - Zaletto - seller of sweet, yellow cakes with butter

Zaletto — plate 6

The Arti che vanno per via nella città di Venezia (1753, 1770, 1785, etc.), by Gaetano Zompini (1700–1778), contains sixty engravings of common, mostly poor people, peddling their trades on the streets of Venice in the mid-1700s.

Text

Appena è dì, che crio: caldo el zaletto,
Caldo che ‘l brova, caldo col zebibo:
E ghe n’ho da dò soldi, e da un marchetto.

Translation

Already at dawn, I cry: hot sweet cakes
So hot they burn, hot with raisins:
And I have those for two soldi, and those for a dime

Notes

The zaleto were sweet cakes made of maize flour, so they were yellow (zaleto literally means yellowish). The zaletin were slightly better quality (less vulgar, according to Boerio), with butter. The street vendors of zaleti and zaletini were the zaletér — the person depicted.

I facitori di questo pane sono per lo più contadini friulani, che girano per la Città gridando ZALETINI COL BUTIRO CALDI.

The makers of this bread are mostly farmers from Friuli, who circulate in the City shouting HOT ZALETINI WITH BUTTER.

Boerio (1829), entry ZALETİN.

The word broa or brova means to burn at the touch, so it hurts.

Zibibbo is a kind of grape, but here it probably refers to zaleti with sweet raisins.

A soldo was a pure copper coin worth a twentieth of a lira (a pound), while a marcheto was a lower denomination copper coin. The essence of the line is that the zaletér had several qualities of cakes at different prices.

See Boerio (1829), entries ZALĖTO, ZALETİN, ZALETÈR, BROA, SOLDO, and MARCHÈTO.

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Bibliography

Boerio, Giuseppe. Dizionario del dialetto veneziano. Venezia : coi tipi di Andrea Santini e figlio, 1829.

Zompini, Gaetano. Le arti che vanno per via nella città di Venezia inventate ed incise da Gaetano Zompini, Aggiuntavi una memoria di detto autore. Venezia, 1785.

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