MERMAIDS: & Myths of Venice!

Hi everyone Ethel the Mermaid here.

Guest posting for Julie again who is busy cleaning up the mess from Sydney's 'Red Wednesday'. [actually she doesn’t know I am here… so I won’t break the rules and will stick to the scheduled Venice posts although SHE broke the rules with that ugly red post!]. Well I am so glad to be back here with you again!! I really wanted to introduce myself last time I posted [here], but Julie said I shouldn’t. You see my name in mermaid speak is ’~~eeeEEEEeee~~’. I know, it’s hard to read, believe me it is even harder to pronounce & if I did, there would be danger of permanent hearing damage. So just call me Ethel.


Today… I want to take you on a tour of the mermaid’s favourite vacation spot, and dispel some ‘Old Wives TAILS’ about Venice [huh .. like old wives have tails, mermaids don’t marry!!]

Mermaids in Venice

Myth #1. Humans designed Venice. You may or may not know this, but the wonder that is called Venice, was originally planned by mermaids as a summer vacation resort.. many many centuries ago when I was just a wee thing with with only a flutter of a tail. We mermaids needed somewhere quiet and beautiful to relax, have fun and be sheltered from the stormy seas [even mermaids get sick of all that rocking motion], so a committee was formed, plans were formulated and a task force went to work, resulting in the masterpiece of town planning known as Venice. You see it just made logical sense not to build roads as the main form of traffic flow.

Roads are not really a priority for us mermaids and Venice is purpose built to accommodate OUR needs. Right, you can see that can’t you? Being able to get to your front door, shop at the fisher’s market or even just buying a simple spray of flowers was always an enormous burden to a mermaid. But in Venice, all these little luxuries are conveniently accessed via miles of winding canals filled with that wonderful miracle called the Sea! Alternate locations were suggested but none were viable, as you can see below.

Entrance-to-the-Grand-Canal--Looking-West,-c_1738-42-(detail-3)-large jss gallery-ord


VE015 - paperweight

Mermaids in Venice

Myth #2. Humans invented Gondolas. Why do you think they are the shape you see here? Long shapely curved body forming a stylish pointed tail! You think it is for manoeuvrability right? Of course it is! … and that is exactly why it was modelled on a mermaids tail! Not to mention it really is just so comfortable to lie back and know there is going to be ample leg room! I mean really, finally 1st class! We designed them and that is why to this day… a mermaid can be seen riding on the bow of all the better know Gondolas. And the serrated shaped blade on the stern.. handy for cutting & preparing fish!

Mermaids have always been known for their flirtatious nature, so I’m sure you won’t be shocked when I tell you that.. whilst a young lady is adoring the gorgeous architecture, her beau might be adoring a flirtatious kiss by a mermaid! It’s true… we are playful little things and like to sneak up to the side of the Gondolas and steal a kiss when no one is watching… always catches them by surprise! Even that cheeky boy Casanova couldn’t resist our charms!

gondolieri-it - 6

visualize us - 1


Mermaids in Venice

Myth #3. The Bridge of Sighs was named for human angst. OK this you won’t know.. but the famous Bridge of Sighs, was named for the fact that during Acqua Alta mermaids could gain access to the crossing point and visit the human realm. Once they discovered things such as hand-blown glass, venetian jewels and gold leafed interiors, their sighs could be heard as far as the outer lagoons. [you thought it was going to be something else didn’t you?]. Back to low tide, these treasures would escape them once again, and they would have to resort to adorning themselves with seaweed & cockle shells.. Nice I admit.. but not quite the same.

Bridge-of-Sighs,-Venice-(La-Riva-degli-Schiavoni)-c_1740 0 canalettogallery-org

bow. jpg

Mermaids in Venice 2

Myth #4. Carnevali was invented by humans. Again this was invented by the mermaid. Back in the old days when we first built Venice, hiding our true nature wasn’t really an issue. People accepted the mermaid then. But now, sadly, we need to keep a low profile, so when we yearn to return to the plazas of Venice, the cloak of fanciful costumes and disguise, allows us this pleasure. The Doge here also knows a thing about fanciful costumes. He looks a bit fishlike to me too.. maybe he is a relative!


portale di venezia -4 bw

bellin5 - jss gallery


So there you have it! Some myths debunked. I’d love to stay and rattle on about more of the glorious antics of the mermaid but I can hear Julie returning

Mermaids in Venice 2

This post is linked to Waterside Wednesday hosted by Barbara @ TheBookBlog . Pop over via the link above to see more Waterside Wednesday participants


IMAGE SOURCES: Mermaid – John William Waterhouse via, JSS & Forgotten,, JSS, Portale di Venezia, JSS

Previous Posts in Venice Week:


Jacqueline @ HOME said...

Wonderful, wonderful post Julie and so lovely to meet and chat with Ethel had me laughing out loud..... and how lovely to find out the truth about Venice and all its nuances !!!!...I always thought when I visited Venice that there was more to it than meets the eye, ....and how very interesting about the Bridge of Sighs..and there I was, thinking it was all about the prisoners and their reaction to their fate!!!!! ...I will now go away with renewed knowledge and, when I visit Venice again, I will look at it in a new light !! It will never be the same to me again.
When I'm travelling on a gondola, I will think of all those Ethels, swimming around underneath me and trying to steal a kiss from my husband!!!Just loved it, Julie, and think that the text and photographs are brilliant. XXXX

Samy said...

Oh how do you do it Julie? simply to read it again :)

Mammabellarte Rita Reade said...

What do I know! Serene e Venezia?= Mermaid and Venice? Thank you for sharing, very interesting.

Sahildeki Ev said...

Thanks for this lovely post Ethel the mermaid :))

Sue said...

Well that was certainly wonderful, entertaining and educational at the same time. I love mermaids, so I believe everything I read.


Courtney said...

Such an enlightening post! Many thanks to Ethel for this behind-the-scenes look at Venice.

Maya @ Completely Coastal said...

You're so creative, girl!

un abril encantado said...

...¿en que rincón de tu alma se aloja ese sentido extremo de una Venice tan impresionantemente hermosa?...FELICIDADES, Lourdes.

Greet Lefèvre said...

Hi Julie,
First of all thank you for your comments on my post the other days!
I love your posts of Venice!
This weekend I was reading again about Axel Vervoordt's appartment in Venice, looking out to the Canal Grande! Amazing!
I love the images you showed here!
It does remind me of the Italian painters as Caneletto about I had to study durong my studies of Antiques.


Jane said...

How divine. Glad Ethel the mermaid is back. Even though I though the Red Post was Quite Justified. Of course you are right about Venice. Such an ethereal place how could it not be partly created by mermaid. And my goodness that Doge looks scary. I guess they had to be pretty ruthless however, to retain power in their council of 10 thingy (forgotten the name momentarily).

Kathy @ Sweet Up-North Mornings... said...

Hi Julie...What an amazing blog and post...Glad I happened by. enjoyed checking you out and running through your blog, I'll be back ...xoxo~Kathy @ Sweet Up-North Mornings... Drive by anytime!

simon said...

My 11 year old son did the bridge of Sighs as a school project. I was amazed and asked him why. he said " becasue I love Venice"

Brabourne Farm said...

So lovely to read a real life mermaid's thoughts on beautiful Venice - she certainly has a fabulous story telling ability. Love it! Leigh

Les Cotrions said...

Ciao Julie! Grazie for your so lovely and kind words! Of course if you decide to come to Italy you're very welcome in Lucca! I loved so much to meet Laura and I'd be very happy to meet you too! Your post on Venice is faboulous! You make so beautiful're very talented!
Wish you a very nice week end!

Drawn to The Sea said...

There is definitely a book in the head of Mermaid Ethel... one I'd really, really like to read!


Luiza said...

Thank You for giving us the truth about myths...

And amazing photos, as usual.

Thank You for visiting me, and always leving beautiful comments, that makes me happy.

I wish You a very relaxing weekend.


JennyMac said... are fabulous. Love your photos too.

Carole said...

Ethel....I never knew that mermaids were city planners but you obviously knew what you were doing. It does seem to all make sense now. The city of Mermaids !!!
Such a romantic story!!!
Say hi to Julie!

Lee said...

Dearest Ethel, Venice makes perfect sense to me now & it's no wonder you mermaids love it so since it's your most divine creation. Lee :)

Roberta said...

I agree, Ethel can spin a wonderful 'tale' and I can see a book in the making here...beautiful and engaging! Don't let Julie stop you from having fun Ms. Ethel, we know how she can be!

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

what a great post.....very interesting...I had just a few minutes to blog hop tonight....
Hope you will stop by my Christmas blog. I have a great giveaway that I will draw for on
Oct 1 and a comment is all it takes to enter....

Liz.Photo said...

Fantastic post! A great tour of photographs through Venice history.