Rubbish in Venice, a story.


Aug 16th, 2018, 01:59 AM
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Rubbish in Venice, a story.

As you exit the Ai Archivo bar in Santa Croce, you will see over the canal, beside the Frari, the door to the State Archives. There are some 75,000 linear metres of shelf space, that’s about 48 miles, full of archive boxes. The First Rule of running an archive is to never discard anything, so there are documents from about 1200.

And if you turn right after leaving the Ai Archivo, cross one bridge and you’ll see some rubbish bins. Big deal, you might think, a magnet for rats and seagulls. But those bins are where the Archive dumps its rubbish, should they choose to discard anything, contravening the above First Rule.

A couple of years ago, there must have been a housekeeping blitz in the Archive, rubbish piled up around the bins. Toner cartridges, CRT screens, cardboard boxes, paper, whatever. And a wooden archive box.

We instantly grabbed it.

It is a little smaller than A3, would hold a pile of paper three inches thick, has a hinged wooden lid, and is labelled “Busto No 4, Console Russo, Lettere, 1781. On another defaced label, the numbers 1386 – 1394 can be made out. I think it is probably 250 years old, maybe older, and the marking out for the for the dovetailed joints is still visible. We call it the Venice Box, and keep our maps, passports, left over euros and Venezia Unica cards in it.

It is worth keeping an eye on those rubbish bins. You might just get lucky.
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
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Aug 16th, 2018, 02:07 AM
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What a find!
Sassafrass is offline  
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Aug 16th, 2018, 03:20 PM
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That's a special souvenir, Peter and you can't fault the price! You should bring that along to a GTG one of these days. Would love to see it.
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Aug 16th, 2018, 03:51 PM
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We love things like this, and keep our eye out for them all the time. In addition to the 20,000-year-old silexes we found when planting rose bushes here on our property, I once dug up an ancient iron tool in a far corner of the garden. I had no idea what it was until our gardener grabbed a thin log and started shaving pieces off it with the tool. We have several such pieces now, all gleaned from excavating in the garden, and plan to make a sort of collage of them and hang them over the principal fireplace. We also find antique wine crates from time to time and shellac them and make them into shelving.
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Aug 16th, 2018, 04:27 PM
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One man's trash another man's treasure- pretty incredible thing - they could sell that stuff at a garage sale or such.
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Aug 16th, 2018, 05:55 PM
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Other than finding some amphorae sitting on the bottom of a cove near Kastelorizo, while diving while at anchor, ( I left them strictly alone, BTW), the only find I made in Europe was a submachine gun. We were moored to the sea wall in the old harbor of Rhodes in 1974, and I took my two sons for a walk along the breakwater. We got to the end at the ruined Fort St. Nicholas, and while my boys were looking for "treasure" in one of the old bunkers the oldest shouted, "Daddy, what is this?". It was a rusty old sub machine gun he had found under some rubble.

It was too rusty to be a useful useful weapon, and had no magazine, but I didn't want to just leave it there, so I took it along to the local police station. When I dropped it on the duty desk it was as if I had plopped down an infectious turd on an anthill. Someone shouted "GUN", in Greek, and people began shouting and running around with their hands on their holstered pistols and screaming down telephones. The kids and I spent a couple of really uncomfortable hours in that station before being sent off without even a cursory thank you. I should have just dropped the damned thing off the sea wall into the ocean.
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Aug 19th, 2018, 03:01 AM
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Great stories, I would love to find something like the Venice Box! In a country like Australia, a box that old would probably be in a museum.

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