Iveser: keeping memory alive in Venice

  • Monica 

iveser anima veneziana


Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

(George Santayana  )


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Is it possible for history to be recorded in different ways even if you are observing the same event?

The answer is yes. But we must distinguish between the past and historical memory.

Let’s take an example: Have you ever remembered defeating your friend in a game when you were little, while he remembers defeating you? Well, we’ll come back to this example in a second.

First let’s understand the difference between history and the past. This will help us understand historical memory a little better.


Iveser anima Veneziana


The past is the whole collection of absolutely everything that has ever happened anywhere in the universe before this time. It could be wars, peace treaties, weddings, funerals, football matches or what Casanova ate for breakfast the day he escaped from the prisons of the Doge’s Palace in Venice. All this is the past.

History is often used as a synonym for the past, but it’s not really the same thing. History is the study, interpretation and recording of past events and their memories in a way that gives meaning to the reader.

Let’s go back to our example: that game you played with your friend is in the past. It is part of the past. Your interpretation of who won is part of history.


anima veneziana


Historical memory refers to how groups of people create and then identify with specific narratives about historical periods or events. Historical memory is sometimes called collective memory or social memory and it depends on things like:

– Family memory, the memories of the experiences that the family creates and then passes on.

– Religious Memory, if a religious entity is an important entity when it comes to narrating a group of people and thus creating memories.

– National Memory, which is like the official memory recognized by a nation.

Historical memories help shape the social and political identities of groups of people.


From https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-historical-memory-biases-examples.html


iveser anima veneziana

And in Venice who has been dealing with this with such passion for years is Iveser, the Venetian Institute for the history of the Resistance and contemporary society. When we mentioned the Anima Veneziana project to Iveser members, they immediately joined and offered their support!

And here they tell you why: the words of Marco Borghi from Iveser!

Who is Iveser?

The Venetian Institute for the History of the Resistance and Contemporary Society (Iveser) was born in 1992: its exclusive aim is the pursuit of purposes of social and cultural promotion and usefulness through the development of its documentary heritage, the promotion of historical research, didactic activity, cultural study of contemporary history and the memory of Venetians and Venetian society.

It carries out historical documentary consultancy and scientific dissemination, promotes research and debates, conferences, seminars, meetings, organizes exhibitions and shows, publishes books and documentaries, collaborating with universities and local institutions; Iveser also offers guided tours and educational itineraries to places of memory in the city. In the field of teaching, it is a service center – recognized by the Miur – for the training of teachers and students, promoting internships, refresher courses. It has a specialized library and an important historical-documentary archive on the Venetian twentieth century. It has been operating since 2003 at Villa Hériot, on the Giudecca Island, where it established the Venetian House of Memory and History of the twentieth century.


iveser anima veneziana



Why did you decide to support the project Anima Veneziana?

For some time, Iveser has been very attentive and sensitive to all the initiatives that are developed in the territory in order to consolidate the community fabric of the city. Therefore, the idea of describing the city, through the particular lens of the work and activity of its inhabitants, seemed to us really good, to be shared and supported. We are convinced that there is still energy and resources for Venice to continue to be “civitas” and “polis” and not just “urbs” and the short film can be a useful and very effective means to achieve this goal.

How do you dream your Venice?

The Venice we dream of has actually very little of the traditional “dream”: for us it is the complete and concrete return to “daily” functions and activities, made by real people, capable of restoring added value to the city community, today in great suffering.


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A Venice where the needs and requirements of its inhabitants are put back at the center of attention, new lines of economic action are planned, the protection and enhancement of its artisan and productive knowledge is guaranteed, forms of welcoming, sustainable and quality tourism are experimented, the value of associations and volunteering is recognized, precious resource to support. A “normal” city, therefore, for which Iveser will continue to give his support and contribution.


Thanks to all Iveser members for the kind words and your support!



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