In Venice, a Young Boatman Steers a Course of His Own
The Venetians are a people who can find their own way back to the past, to their traditions, to their culture, to their identity. For some of us, living in the United States of America, it is hard to see this. To see how the past, the traditions, the culture, of the Venetians, is alive and well within us.
Here, in San Francisco, California, I was able to experience for myself the essence of this unique way of living. I was lucky enough get the opportunity to live in a historic Venice neighborhood, San Marco, which was previously the home of one of the most notorious pirates of the Mediterranean.
The residents here are passionate about history and it is the history of Venice, the history of the area and the history of themselves that makes them feel at home here.
A little history on where this place is: San Marco is a tiny neighborhood surrounded by the canal, about 3 blocks long.
In the past, San Marco was the home to a powerful pirate fleet, consisting of many ships that sailed and were controlled by one man, Francesco Mazzara. From the 16th century to the 18th century, Mazzara’s ship and crew would have made short and risky raids across the Mediterranean, from Italy to Spain to France. But when he was arrested during a raid in the harbor of the Port of Venice, the city’s authorities caught on to his plan. He quickly realized that while he was only a minor player in the Venetian court, he could use his crew and his ships to do more than just harass the city with raids.
In 1608, Mazzara and his crew set sail for the Canary Islands, where they would be able to live in absolute luxury. He would make his fortune here, as he did in every part of the world.