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Ponte dei Pugni | Venipedia®

Venipedia®

It often happened that the rival factions of the Castellani and Nicolotti clashed for jealousy, envy and rivalry and that their struggles took place right on this bridge which, at that time, did not have the protective shoulders as now.

The Castellani were the inhabitants of eastern Venice at whose extremity there is Castello; they were distinguished by the use of a cap and a red scarf.

The Nicolotti represented the people living in the western part up to San Nicolò dei Mendicoli; they were distinguished by the black color of the cap and scarf.

The origins of the battles between these two factions are uncertain: some think they date back to the civil wars between Eraclea and Jesolo, others from the killing of a bishop of Castello by one of the San Nicolò area.

What is certain is that these disagreements were fine by the Republic, as they knew that, in this way, if one of the two sides had rebelled against the government, the other would have done the exact opposite, so at least at the beginning , he certainly did nothing to avoid the fights, indeed.

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The bridge of fists and the bell tower of the church of San Barnaba in the background.
Joseph Heintz the Younger, Competition at the bridge of fists in Venice, 1673, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg.

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