With the Most Serene Republic of Venice in the background, Cantina Do Spade is one of the most ancient osterie of the Calle delle Spade area, near the S. Matteo di Rialto church, one of the emblems of a city which is so full of history and stories that sometimes they become poetic legends which perfectly merge with reality, as it happened, for example, with the habit of andar a ombre (go from one osteria to the other to drink some wine).
The origins of the bacari
Even if not all historians agree on this version, it is thought that the term used to define the typical glass of wine derives from the wine-makers’ habit of selling wine in the shadow of the San Marco church bell, on itinerant stalls that they moved in order to follow the shadow and keep the wine cool. Those sellers were called Bacari (a relatively recent term which dates back to the end of the nineteenth century and after which the osterie were named), which is thought to derive from and ancient dialectal expression used in Venice, far bàcara, which means to celebrate in the name of Bacchus. This is the origin of this representative gathering places which, with the passing of time, underwent inevitable changes that left behind the ancient appeal of a simple and authentic place, where aristocrats and gondoliers met to far do ciacole (chat), drink an ombra (glass of wine), eat a canocia (mantis shrimp) and maybe engage in a card duel.
Our osteria, however, despite the new trends, tries to maintain the strong bond with its origins, which date back to the fifteenth century, when the “Do Spade” sign was created as the symbol of the wine-makers brotherhood, which used to gather in the S. Matteo church.