Mezzo — Curiosità Veneziane

Tassini - Curiosità Veneziane - Filippi Editore

Mezzo (Calle di) in Ruga Giuffa, at S. Maria Formosa.

Curiosità Veneziane by Giuseppe Tassini is the go-to book for information on Venetian toponyms, and a treasure trove of curious historical titbits. First published in 1863, it is still being reprinted regularly.

There is no English translation of the book, so I will translate selected entries on this site, whenever they’re used as sources for articles.

Mezzo (Calle di) in Ruga Giuffa, at S. Maria Formosa. From the patrician Da Mezzo family. A Chiara da Mezzo notified the X Savii in 1566 that she owned some buildings in the district of S. Maria Formosa, in Ruga Giuffa, in Calle de Ca’ da Mezzo.1 It belonged to a patrician family who came from Jesolo, who found themselves excluded from the Greater Council when it closed, but was then reinstated at the time of the War of Chioggia2 by a Francesco, who also lived in S. Maria Formosa. We read in the memoirs of this family that a Giacomo Da Mezzo was elected ambassador to Uzun Hasan,3 king of Persia in 1470, but then, having obtained his dispensation, he went ambassador to Rome, and in 1484 he was field commander against the duke of Ferrara; that another Giacomo died gloriously fighting at Curzolari4 in 1571; that a Nicolò, nicknamed Palmeto, from the colony of Candia,5 also sacrificed his life by being hit by a cannonball in 1656 on the galley of general Marcello; that finally Francesco, son of Nicolò, and Giorgio Da Mezzo were no less successful in quelling the pride of the infidels. This patrician family became extinct in 1797 in a Francesco Maria, son of Sebastiano, son of Giorgio, who on the night between the 12th and 13th of April of that year fell in the water at the mouth of the Arsenale canal and who, having been pulled out of the water thanks to the urban night guard of the S. Biagio district, shortly afterwards died in the cabin of the same guard. See Cicogna, Inscr. Fri., VI.6


  1. The Ca’ da Mezzo is the palace with the famous blue door; ↩︎
  2. The War of Chioggia between the Republic of Venice and the Republic of Genoa, fought 1378-81 inside the Venetian lagoon (see Poveglia); ↩︎
  3. Uzun Hasan (1423-78) ruled the Aq Qoyunlu state 1452-78; ↩︎
  4. Curzolari refers to the Battle of Lepanto between a coalition of Venice, the Papal State, Genoa and Spain against an Ottoman Turkish navy; ↩︎
  5. Candia is the Venetian name for Crete; ↩︎
  6. Emmanuele Antonio Cigogna, Delle inscrizioni veneziane raccolte ed illustrate, Venice, 1830, 6 voll. – this reference is to vol. VI, pp. 608-9. ↩︎

Related articles


Original Italian text

Mezzo (Calle di) in Curiosità Veneziane.

One response to “Mezzo — Curiosità Veneziane”

  1. René Seindal avatar
    René Seindal

    @info A while ago I wrote about the Insta-famous blue door in Venice, and this is where I found the first clues.The "Curiosità Veneziane" by Giuseppe Tassini is a treasure trove of information about Venice before the 1900s. The first editions, from 1863 and 1872, are digitised and online.The Italian is a bit archaic but perfectly understandable.I've put the entire fourth edition online here, searchable and geo-tagged: @venice #Venice #Venezia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *