Fior di Levante

By: | Post date: June 11, 2023 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Culture, Greece

The Venetians called Zante the Fior di Levante, the flower of the Levant, because of how beautiful the landscape is.

Greeks still do. At least in telephone directory ads. I am rather taken by the recent 11880 ads, featuring the Zante ferryboat, and/or the female narrator rattling off a list of Greek towns, and merrily trilling Fiorrrro di Levante! instead of Zakynthos.

(Yes, I know it’s fiore in Standard Italian. We don’t have nouns ending in –e in Greek; fjoro is the Greek nativisation.)

I didn’t find the recent ad, but I found the identical ad from 9 years ago, with a male narrator reading it.  He just didn’t have the same enthusiasm:

I also found this much older ad, featuring a brief four-part harmony choir, and someone confusing mandolin and mandolato (nougat).

Cosmote phone company and Levante Ferries seem to have a cosy business relationship. So enjoy this extended nature porn from them, because you’re not going to get that kind of thing from me:

You don’t just find Fioro di Levante in telephone directories and ferryboats; you’ll also find it in murals here:
I’m not much of one to even notice nature exists, but yes, it is pretty. Although there was no way I was going to lounge around a beach bar enjoying it.
May be an image of lake and ocean
May be an image of Camogli and lake
May be an image of 1 person
Levant is a funny old word, by the way, and one that translators lurched at temporarily when trying to render the name of ISIS. 20th century geopolitics mean people no longer think of Greece or even Turkey as being “the East”: the Middle East starts in Syria.
The Near East, when it was still being used, was where 19th century English people thought the East started, Ottoman Europe. And the Levant was originally where Renaissance Italians thought the East started.
Which was here. Not least because here was the flower of it.
May be an image of 1 person, segway, road and street

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