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A Garden in Venice

Garden art & lifestyle

RAI "Linea Verde" documentary on the Venice Lagoon

Every sunday noon, many Italian families for years have been tuning in to RAI 1 TV at 12:20am to watch yet another episode of Linea Verde, a RAI program dedicated to natural treasures of Italy, sustainable production of vegetables, agriculture in Italy, and preservation of the territory in general. 
Last Sunday, their visit to the Venice lagoon was broadcast. I would like to share their insights and conception of Venice, to my mind they elaborated on very interesting topics on how life is becoming ever more "sustainable" in Venice . They provided valuable insight on how progress is made in recapturing the essence of the Lagoon environment and which iniatives are being implemented in order to re-integrate the so-called isole minori into the life of the Lagoon.
So much water and marshland on 550 km², a lagoon ecosystem to preserve: Here you can see the barene e velme - mud islands in the lagon, and valli da pesca in the foreground for fish farming in the lagoon near Chioggia
The Linea Verde Venice program started by explaining of why the lagoon island had been abandoned or simply neglected in the first place, by telling the case of how the malaria-infested shallow waters around Torcello, that from the 6th century AD forced inhabitants to move farther away into the center of the lagoon, that is to say, towards the small group of the Rialto islands, where the water was deeper. Rialto means rivo alto, that is high water. But today, many islands are being "resuscitated" again, as is the case with Mazzorbo and of course with Sant'Erasmo where the vegetables are grown, such as the famous violet artichokes = carciofi violeti. From March, you can taste the exceptional castraure - the young artichokes with their full flavor owed to the special marshy and salty soil of the lagoon island. Linea Verde visits Carlo Finotello's grocery store and fields "I Sapori di Sant'Erasmo" (The Flavors of Sant'Erasmo), and then continues to Campo dei Felzi located in the centro storico of Venice, where the vegetable produce is sold, directly from the boat, to Venetians, who have ordered their produce beforehand, of course.
Elisabetta Tiveron, a well-know author of books on Venice gardens and gastronomy, then presents the bio orto comunale near the church Angelo Raffaele. In the midst of Venice, in this vegetable garden, peppers, basil, tomatoes, bietola, sage, cicory, zucchini, and more vegetable varieties are grown by the neighbors, including penisoners and pupils working together to get this garden lush and growing.
Afterwards, the fringes of the lagoon are viewed: Green plant barriers were created to preserve and clean the lagoon waters, such as the Bosco di Mestre (Wood of Mestre) and a canneto (reeds) near the harbor, Porto Marghera, and near Fusina. 
Finally, a real fusion kitchen is shown - on the edge of the lagoon, a Venetian farmer is growing Bangladesh vegetable varieties together with his immigrant friend. So, as it happened repeatedly in the history of Venice, new vegetables are being tested to see if they take well here, and then are integrated into daily food. Venice, at the times of the Serenissima Repubblica, had also been the town in Europe boasting the highest number of botanical gardens, and the curiosity and openness of many tradesmen ensued in introducing quite a few plant and vegetable varieties to Europe.  
To view this Linea Verde TV documentary on the Venice Lagoon (Italian), please click here for the link.


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