No April fools’ joke

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Remember this horsey? He was Teaser number 10.
He is actually a marble rock carving, no kidding. I’ll show you where he belongs.

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Next to him is a carving of a little tower, a depiction very true to the original…

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…as we can establish just by raising our eyes a bit. The horse and the tower are inscriptions in the parapets of the Ponte di Marmo (Marble bridge) in the Venezia district.

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The tower and one of the saddest houses in Venezia, empty for years…

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The bridge was built in the early 17th century and this “graffiti” was made by Livornese boatmen.

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Many of the inscriptions are worn and difficult to interpret, others are still very clear.

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The marble bridge, one of many bridges in the 17th century Venezia neighbourhood.

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Torre della Meloria

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First things first: location. We’re looking for a tower here. A tower in the middle of the sea. And it is visible in this view over the Terrazza Mascagni, but just barely. The sun goes down right inbetween two tiny dots. These are the tower and the lighthouse which share the name of Meloria. See them?

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Having a zoom lens has its advantages. This is probably as close to the tower islet as I’ll ever come, unless some kind person offers me a boat trip (hint, hint ;-)). The foreground shows the Vegliaia breakwater, a late 19th century construction to protect the port. But the history of the Meloria tower stretches way further back.

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The first tower was built by the Pisans in the 12th century to mark dangerous shallows. It was destroyed by the Genovese in 1286, two years after the Battle of Meloria in which Genoa’s fleet defeated Pisa’s and Pisa was never to rise again as a naval power.
Tower number two was erected by the Grand Duke Ferdinando I in 1598, but was eventually demolished by the forces of the sea.
The current Torre della Meloria dates from 1709. Resting on high arches it is designed to better resist the waves. And how impressive it looks out there, 7 km from the shore.

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