Spice Secrets


Online from mid-October 2017

L’arte degli spezieri a Venezia

With the loads of spices coming to Venice from the 7th century AD, amongst the Venetian arti e mestieri, one profession dedicated itself to food and cooking and to health at the same time. Lo spezièr – which we could translate as “the spice expert”. During the times of the Republic, they worked in their laboratorio, whose front part was at the same time the spice store and apothecary – called la spezeria.

They don’t just mix the sachéti venexiáni – Venetian spice creations, made from spices, herbs and blossoms from the Indian Ocean fringe countries, India, China, Persia, Syria and Egypt. They were responsible to keep the Venetian – and European (!!!) population healthy until well into the 18th century.

The Venetian spezieri were the source of expertise taken up in the Middle Ages in German-speaking Europe by Paracelsus and Hildegard von Bingen. Venetian spice bags were traded all over Europe by the Venetian spice merchants – mercanti di spezie.

The spezieri, from the 15th century, onwards started specializing in their respective field of expertise and interest.

Some spezieri went into producing little pills and powders containing ground herbs and spices for their patients. Others, as spezieri da conféti created little artworks made from sugar, nuts, blossoms and spices.

Finally, in Venice the first farmacie (pharmacies) opened, and sold products from both, given that both ranges of products bore health benefits

The Venetian Coffee Story – When coffee was considered spice


What the works of art of the Venetian spezieri da confeti looked like ..