Every day I receive trivia questions in my email. Here is a recent quiz from Trivia Genius – 10 questions and answers about Venice, La Serenissima.
Venice is well-known for its contributions to what artisanal industry?
Answer: Glassblowing has been prevalent in Venice and the neighboring island of Murano since at least the 1200s, when Venetian artisans revolutionized the field of glass-making by discovering new techniques to create colorless glass and perfectly smooth mirrors. Today, Venice’s beautiful glass creations are popular souvenirs for tourists.
Which of the following is NOT true about gondolas?
- They are often raced in regattas
- They are perfectly symmetrical
- They are rowed with a single oar
- They contain eight different types of wood
Answer: In fact, each gondola is asymmetrical, so it can be stabilized by the weight of its gondolier. Every gondola is custom-made for its specific gondolier, resulting in the maximum stability of each boat.
Which of the following is NOT true about the Piazza San Marco, Venice’s main public square?
- It is the lowest point in the city and floods easily
- It is home to Caffè Florian, one of Italy’s oldest bars
- It was originally constructed ca. 900 A.D.
- It is one of over 100 piazzas in Venice
Answer: Although Venice is home to many squares called “campos” or “piazzales,” the Piazza San Marco is technically the only piazza in all of Venice. It is so magnificent that Napoleon once called it “the world’s most beautiful drawing room.”
What material did early Venetians use to construct the foundations of their buildings?
Answer: Venice’s buildings were built on marshy mud and sand. They have foundations of timber, which are still strong because they have become petrified due to the lack of oxygen in the soft, marshy soil. The wood used in the construction of Venice was delivered by boat all the way from the forests of Slovenia.
Which famed explorer was born in Venice and now lends his name to Venice’s main airport?
- Marco Polo
- Amerigo Vespucci
- Christopher Columbus
- Ferdinand Magellan
Answer: Marco Polo’s writings about his travels to China (where he lived for 17 years) were enormously popular. Born in Venice in 1254, Polo returned to Venice after his travels were complete to compile his successful book, “ Il Milione.” He later died in Venice in 1324.
What is the name of the oldest bridge in Venice, which crosses the city’s famous Grand Canal?
- Constitution Bridge
- Scalzi Bridge
- Accademia Bridge
- Rialto Bridge
Answer: The Ponte di Rialto, or Rialto Bridge, was built between 1588 and 1591 to span the width of the Grand Canal. Made out of stone, it was designed and constructed to replace an unstable wooden bridge that had collapsed and been burnt.
Venice is home to the world’s oldest public what?
- Opera house
- Shoe store
Answer: The Theatre Saint Moses was a theatre that opened in 1638 and featured an area where patrons could gamble during intermission. The casino proved to be enormously popular and kick-started a new craze, with more than 120 casinos opening in Venice by 1744.
Venice’s famed Bridge of Sighs connects two what?
Answer: The Bridge of Sighs connects an old prison inside the Doge’s Palace to a newer one across the Rio di Palazzo. It was named after the fact that prisoners crossing the bridge would supposedly sigh upon enjoying their last glimpse of freedom.
What animal is considered to be symbolic of Venice?
Answer: The Lion of St. Mark is a popular symbol of Venice that appears throughout the city. The symbol honors St. Mark, who is the patron saint of Venice and can be found on Venice’s official flag.
Venice’s Contarini Fasan Palace is traditionally believed to be the home of which Shakespearean heroine?
Answer: Contarini Fasan Palace is traditionally believed to be the home of Desdemona, Othello’s doomed wife in Shakespeare’s play ”Othello.” Shakespeare wrote two plays that take place in Venice: ”Othello” and ”The Merchant of Venice.”