Venetian Words of the Day: Lovo / Vovo

ponte del lovo
The Bridge of the Wolf

Supposedly there is only one bridge in Venice from which you can see the Campaniel de San Marco. Situated in the parish of San Salvador, this is the Ponte del Lovo, which is on the main drag from the Teatro Goldoni to Campo San Salvador.

In old Venetian, the name of the bridge means ‘the bridge of the wolf’. This has led to all sorts of fanciful explanations for the name, including that wolves once lived on the islands of the Venetian lagoon. However, it seems simply to derive from the name of a family once resident in the area.

Giuseppe Tassini in Curiosità Veneziane points to three people with the name Lovo, known to have lived in the small parish of San Salvador in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. He points out that in another part of the city, there is a Corte del Lovo, where a certain Lorenzo Lovo lived, in the fourteenth century.

The Bridge of the Egg

I recently saw a map of Venice in which the name of the bridge was Ponte dell’Ovo. Obviously, the editor of the map, in which all the Venetian street names had been italianicized, knew little of the Venetian dialect. This would appear to say ‘Bridge of the Egg’ since ovo (from the latin ovum) means egg in some Italian dialects. (In standard Italian egg is uovo.) However, in Venetian egg is vovo, a small but important difference.

Anyway, if you want to know how to tell someone you ate five eggs for breakfast this morning, here it is:

Ancuo, mi go mangià sinque vovi a merenda.

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