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Penholder – San Servolo 1


A small pen holder made from wood recovered from the waters of Venice and dedicated to an ancient well, that of the Island of San Servolo, a historic place that from so much suffering today wishes to bestow Beauty.

A Piece of Venice on your desk that will always remind you of this magical city.


Pier oak 

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  4 days estimated delivery time

10 in stock


Venetian ‘vere da pozzo’ are an iconic and silent presence. These decorative puteal, or wellhead covers, are stone jewels – discreet and yet irresistible to the eye and ever-present in the center of courtyards and squares of the city and the islands. There are thousands of them, each one different: they bear witness to how, over the centuries, Venice – a city on water but without water – survived, thanks to the ingenuity and adaptability of its inhabitants, who devised an extraordinary water supply system, ensuring that not a single drop was lost. Most of the wells belonged to private individuals or convents: the one in San Servolo quenched the thirst of monks and nuns for a millennium: from the first Benedictines who withdrew to what was a much more cramped island in the 7th century, to the Jesuits who succeeded them, to the 142 nuns who arrived from Candia in 1647 when Venice lost the island of Crete.

After going through periods of neglect, San Servolo was used as a hospital, entrusted in 1716 to the Hospitaller Order of the Brothers of Saint John of God, for the purpose of treating those who, after being injured in clashes with the Turks, came to Venice. Within a few years, the ‘Fatebenefratelli’ (or do-good-brothers) transformed the island and the convent into a center for the production and compounding of medicines for the Serenissima’s Army and Navy. The quality of these medicines was confirmed by the Padua’s College of Philosophers and Physicians. By the end of the 18th century, the island had refined its vocation as a hospital, progressively becoming a major treatment center (but also a detention center) for men suffering from mental and psychiatric illnesses, the women being sent to the other island-mental-hospital, San Clemente.

Today, San Servolo is a place of hospitality; a conference center in the historic heart of the lagoon, with an ancient library, pharmacy, church, and a museum dedicated to its madness-related past. All situated in one of the islands’ largest parks. And, thanks to Pieces of Venice, that ancient well, in the city on the water but without water, is now designed to store other liquids: inks.

Alberto Toso Fei, Venezia 21 giugno 2022


Isola di San Servolo 1

mappa Venezia - San Servolo

Design by  Giancarlo Porti

Giancarlo Porti


Weight 1 kg
Dimensions 16 × 19 × 8 cm

Larice di pontile, Rovere di bricola

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