Slightly jet lagged from the long flight, a group of my family met up with my niece and her husband who had sweetly arranged a private tour for us of Venice. Like a mama duck with her ducklings, we followed our guide as she lead us away from the crush of tourists through a maze of bridges and canals of this magically unique city that rises from the water. Its small water ways twisting off from the Grand Canal are unexpectedly soothing.
As a good guide should be, she was full of interesting tidbits and historical facts of her adopted (and beloved) city. My favorite was about the often overlooked knockers that are used to hold open the Venetian blinds. They blend into the city tapestry and are often unnoticed or relegated to solely utilitarian objects for the purpose of keeping the blinds open. However, closer inspection reveals a story. These knockers are either male or female depending on their usage.
While the blinds are closed, the knocker is down and a woman is featured in the design.
The male is to represent protection of the home. It is subtly telling passers-by that this home is being looked after and not to mess with the inhabitants, how incredibly fabulous! Chivalry is not dead but alive and well in the traditional Venetian blind knockers — awe, Italy, benisimmo!