Between calli and campielli… mysterious words from Venice

In Venice “streets” don’t exist and there’s only one square and two avenues!

Finding your own way in Venice isn’t child’s play. Just having a great sense of direction isn’t enough; in Venice the moment will come when you have to ask for information.

In these moments you will have to pay attention to some fundamental words: calle, campo, rio, ruga, and nizioleto.

In this marvellous floating city, what Italians normally call vie or strade (translated as streets in English) here are called calli. There are campi instead of piazze (squares in the rest of Italy). There’s only one place in Venice deemed beautiful enough to have been given the title “square” which is San Marco square.

So, when you are looking for a canal you have to ask for a rio and if you’ve heard about a ruga you should remember that it is a street surrounded by palaces (not by water). Finally, if you are lost, you can look upwards at the nizioeti: the signs painted on the palaces’ walls which tell you the calli and campi’s names.

Discovering the city and its secrets is one of Istituto Venezia’s favourite activities! Learning Italian goes hand in hand with learning about Italy’s culture and traditions; so we like to organise tours around Venice, taste Italian cuisine and visit museums and palaces.

Look this photo! We are in a wine bar with one of our teachers, Ivan.

So, to get around the city… look to language!



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