Venice has 'captured' the heart, mind and imagination of so many writers, poets, artists and historians. Venice is one of my favourite subjects in art, literature and history, and I am always eager to learn more and look more at this unique and special place. This Venice blog is my way of collecting the wealth of images, poems, prose and impressions of Venice.

Wednesday 18 June 2014

On the bridge like this (Diego Valeri)

I've been thinking about Diego Valeri's wonderful poem about a bridge...and wondering if he had a particular bridge in mind when he wrote the poem?

Here is a photo of the elegant iron bridge, the Ponte dei Conzafelzi, over the Rio della Tetta near the Palazzo Tetta in Castello.  It was built in 1852 by the Collalto foundry at Mestre. 

I'd love to know the meaning of the word 'Conzafelzi' - can anyone assist? 

A bridge in Venice capturingvenice.blogspot.com
Venetian bridge
On the bridge...like this...by Diego Valeri

E così mi son fermato
ai piedi del ponte.
E così ti sei fermata anche tu
un gradino più su.
Non sapevo ch’era un addio.
L’ho saputo un attimo dopo
sentendo le tue labbra sfiorare le mie.
Era la prima, era l’ultima volta.

And so I stopped
at the foot of the bridge.
And so you stopped too
a step up.
I did not know that it was a goodbye.
I knew a moment later
feeling your lips touch mine.
It was the first, it was the last time.
Just like that.


  1. Hmm, "felzi" might refer to those little cabins they used to have on gondolas, felze was the singular, I think. But, don't quote me! Do you have any friends who speak Venetian? (I looked in el galpin, but couldn't find it there.) http://www.elgalepin.com/

    Cheers, Yvonne

    1. Hello Yvonne! Thanks for your suggestion...that does sound familiar. And I've never looked el galpin,,,I'll have to check it out! Cheers, Karen

  2. According to Charl Durand (100 Bridges Challenge): The bridge name has an interesting origin: In the olden days, when gondolas were the standard means of travel in Venice and not simply a tourist pastime, the buildings in the vicinity of the bridge manufactured and repaired 'felzi' - the red material used in the seating area of a gondola.
    Tassini, however, agrees with Yvonne: "Curiosità veneziane" (1887): ... Varie delle nostre vie hanno questo nome dai felzi, o coperti delle gondole, che in esse si lavoravano, o si lavorano tuttora. I felzi voglionsi così detti perché nell'estate vi si stendevano sopra, in cambio del panno, le felci, od altre erbe alle felci somiglianti. ...Essendo il 3 marzo 1605 caduta una casa sulla Fondamenta dei Felzi ai SS. Giovanni e Paolo, But he doesn't mention the bridge, so 'conza-' is unexplained.
    The bridge featured in "Death in Venice", early on.

    1. Hello Bert, thanks for your detailed reply and research. I don't have a copy of Curiosita Veneziane...but I'm hearing about it more and more so I'll see if I can track down a copy to order online. Thanks again!

  3. Oops! It wasn't "Death in Venice", it was "Don't Look Now". The police were dusting for prints on the railing of the fondamenta at the entrance to the Corte Botera. Its about 18:40 from the start of the DVD.

  4. Got it - thanks for your edit, Bert. Note to self: search for a copy of the movie. I think it was originally a novel by Daphne du Maurier?