Venetian pioneers – re-building Venice after WW2. A bit of Venetian history that is unknown – and perhaps underestimated. In a way, this is also the story of our grandparents’ life.
This virtual walk takes us back to the Venice between 1945 and 2000. The situation had been marred, but it was resolved. Venice came back to an unstable balance, and is now building her identity. Much knowledge, accumulated forever in the Veneto, was used to sustain the families during those times. Urban gardening and self-sufficient life – autosufficienza – was no modern trend but the key to survival.
Venice owes her recovery to the spirit of a generation I would like to present to you in this upcoming book. It’s also about my Venetian Grandmother’s life. With her family, she came back to Venice after they had to leave during WW1. For some years, they were refugees (!) in less war-exposed places in southern Italy. The video below gives you some insights. Muddled beginnings …
In fall 2014, an exhibition on life in Venice during WW1 was shown at Casa Tre Oci (Giudecca). I discussed it with my Grandmother, and she invited me to include these facts into our upcoming book series. You can also capture these difficult times and see how Venice was boarded up to save her monuments. Art works taken out of town, like the quadriga, the famous bronze horses of the Basilica.
Life was also beautiful on the way to recovery. I showed the video below to my grandmother, and she said, yes, it does convey the spirit and joy of life of those days. When many children were living in Venice…
You could call these times decrescita first, for in many ways, Venice had to be built from below (!) scratch. Venice had to learn how to “grow” in the sense “growth” is used in the economic language today – I’ m referring to sensible growth. The deep-sitting problem of Venice wasn’t just the ravages of war. The fate of Venice was she seemed to be losing her identity.
What was to be done with a town, badly hurt during the wars, in the middle of a Lagoon? A Lagoon some considered secondary and even a nuisance. The inhabitants of Venice succeeded in instilling an old identity of life surrounded by water – with a vague memory of the grand past at the back of their mind.
To retrace history, we went through hundreds of private photographs and newspaper clippings. My Grandmother subscribed to famous books and cooking magazines in the 1950s and 1960s, helping people to build up a cozy life, even in the midst of a frugal environment.
Our book, available from fall 2016, will give you a glimpse into that window of time. Venice is still alive, though not free from issues as we all know. Here’s preview of this booklet, which will also include recipes from the early 1950s until the year 2000. Excerpts from my grandmother’s private cooking journals. Pictures on how houses were re-built – to the foundations. We learnt much about archeologia in laguna, by the way!! Click on this picture for the book preview: