The Goldsmiths of Venice

Oreficeria, Sotoportego di Rialto, Venice
On March 23rd 1331, the Grand Council decreed that goldsmiths (orefici, or oresi in Venetian) were not allowed to have shops or trade gold and silver anywhere in the city except on the island of the Rialto. Even after this law was repealed, the goldsmiths continued to live and work in this area. 

Their memory, if not their presence, lives on in the name of the Ruga dei Oresi, which leads up to the Ponte di RialtoToday, there isn't a single goldsmith left in the street that bears their name.  
Scuola degli Oresi, Campo Rialto Novo, Venice
In the 13th century, the goldsmiths formed a guild with the jewellers (zogielieri) and diamond cutters (diamanteri) under the patronage of Saint Anthony Abbot. They had an altar in the church of San Giacometto and their scuola was situated in the nearby Campo Rialto Novo (554). You can still see the letters 'SO' in the wrought-ironwork above the door. 


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