They run towards those who are crossing the lagoon of Venice. Alone or in groups, the “bricole”, quiet and aligned, set the pace of the journey and show the way. It is their task, the secret they have been guarded forever, since history led the first humans to colonize the unstable lands on the edge of the sea that the breath of the tides and the seasons constantly changed and change.
It was important to mark the safe canals so as the boats would not get stuck.
In 1439, the Republic of Venice enforced some regulations about navigation in its waters using this wooden signs, which was crucial for it economic growth, but also for its defence. In fact, in case of attack, the Venetians removed the poles that marked the waterways, leaving the enemy to deal with treacherous marshes, shoals, and mud and making them easy prey for those who knew that territory well.
The first “bricole” originated from the forests that, a long time ago, reached the lagoon; the logs came from far Cadore transported by the waters of the Piave. They are large oak logs, a portion of which is planted in the swamp, while another part remains in the brackish water and a third part is exposed to the sun, the wind, the vagaries of the weather, and the shipworm, small parasitic organisms that feed on wood and settle in the part of the log subjected to the rhythm of the tide. These organisms declare the lifespan of the “bricole”. Their incessant work of excavation creates exquisite decor, like sophisticated lace from Burano, but it thins the logs until they break, making a steady and regular replacement work necessary. To create its floors full of charm, Opera Veneta uses the logs that have aged in this area for years. The micro-environments of the earth, water, and air, season the wood with various shades of colours that give floors a distinctive flavour, while the fact they are laid irregularly in width and length gives them a more natural rhythmic cadence, which allows to use every part of the “bricole” and not waste even a sliver of their great history.