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December 2008

7 September – 4 December. After approximately three months the San Marcuola wellhead once again dominates one of the loveliest campi in all of Venice. The advanced deterioration that ate away at this well until some of its most significant ornamental reliefs and even its date of origins (1713) had all but disappeared was removed under the expert care of Venetian restorers Lares in collaboration with the Venice Architectural Authority (Dr. Ettore Merkel) and municipal offices (Engineer Ivano Turlon and Architect Silvia Caniglia).

“The intervention by the Venice and Lagoon Architectural and Landscape Authority,” says Dr. Merkel, "was of a strictly conservative nature, with the restoration of the original inscription found on this artistic work in stone from Istria. “Speaking on behalf of the Municipal Administration,” says Eng. Ivano Turlon, “we appreciate this newborn interest in restoring the ’little jewels' of Venice that are found throughout the city and Venetian businesses’ expression of esteem and recognition towards this extraordinary urban setting. The wellhead of Campo San Marcuola is another “tile” in the mosaic now being restored to their original beauty for the enjoyment of all. In addition to the commitment of the Rizzo family, the project enjoyed strong synergy among the various components involved (the municipal administration, the Venice Architectural Authority, the Museum Foundation, Businesses, and Restorers).” “It has truly been a wonderful experience on both a personal and professional level,” claim Guido and Nicola Rizzo. In this period, we have been contacted by some students who want to visit the work site. We have noticed that children are very attentive and interested, perhaps even more than adults, and so we should reflect on this fact and learn from it. We feel as though there is a need to renew a civic sense of duty for our splendid city." “We are please to see that our customers feel they are a part of this project. We have felt a lot of enthusiasm around us. In fact," continue the Rizzo’s, “many have expressed their admiration and appreciation. This has further encouraged us to dedicate ourselves in our daily work." “We liked the project that Fondaco proposed to us immediately, so we were eager to seize this opportunity to support Veneziani x Venezia. In just a short time we found the inspiration to produce Venetian bread and sweets to launch “Vivi la Città”, the competition that is so successful, and exploit this opportunity to renew our company image.” “Restoring the San Marcuola wellhead to its original beauty, in addition to marking a cultural comeback," conclude the Rizzo brothers, "was also an opportunity for us to thank our parents for the love for Venice that they instilled in us and that we intend to pass on to our children." “I think that 'Veneziani x Venezia’” says Enrico Bressan di Fondaco, the Venetian communications firm that launched the project in collaboration with the City of Venice, "is a winning formula through which it is possible to achieve tangible results by involving the city and demonstrating that, contrary to popular opinion, Venetians are concerned about the future of Venice.” “The winning element is the enthusiasm that these businessmen offer in becoming the protagonists of important projects. What is even better,” continues Bressan, is that each restoration encourages them go beyond their original commitment: I think about the Rizzo brothers with their Venetian bread and sweets, but also of the Sent sisters with the pin inspired by the statue of Strength, or the Ae Oche Pizzerias with the Venezia-style pizza, and now Luciano Marsilli with his cuisine inspired by 16th-century Venetian recipes.” “We are encouraged by the fact that some local businessmen contacted us and that those who already took part on the program are continuing to participate as promoters. Obviously, always with my feet on the ground," Bressan concludes, “but with a strong dose of optimism, I’m certain that we can expect other important surprises: positive signs are in the air, and it will be up to our good business sense to make them come true.” The next project is planned for this coming spring with the restoration of the wellhead of Santa Sofia in Strada Nuova. Historical Notes The wellhead of Campo san Marcuola, according to studies conducted by the art historian Alberto Rizzi (1976 and 1981), belongs to the public well-curbs of Venice: those reserved for supplying water exclusively for the poor. The wellhead was commissioned in 1713 by Agostino Gritti, quondam Alessandro, while he was working as the Municipal Treasurer of the Venetian Magistrature, which also dealt with the municipal water supply. The design of the wellhead was somewhat complex because its centre slightly convex and sculpted with the coat-of-arms of the Gritti family on the side facing the portal of the Church of San Marcuola, while the corners of the construction are ornamented with swirls and leonine figures. The Rizzi himself supposes that the complex Baroque design of the wellhead may be attributed to architect Domenico Rossi, who was very active in the city during that period.

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