One day you might be lucky enough to meet a non-Italian who dreamily says “Venezia…” rather than Venice, thereby irritatingly implying his intimate and exclusive connection to the city. You can shoot him down very quickly by saying “Ah yes, dear old Vinegia…” (pronounced vee-nedge-ya). This archaic form still has considerable weight and you’ll often hear it as an alternative to the the more prevalent colloquial form “Venessia”. Having shot down your man, let’s hope you have an audience, ideally composed of people who relish rather than reject a spot of instant erudition. If you do, you can lyricize about the beauties of early Venetian printing, in which “Vinegia” frequently appears on title pages near the publisher’s colophon (do not say “logo”). Below are some splendid examples of the early Vinegian colophon – the celebrated dolphin and anchor of the Aldine Press; the triumphant phoenix of Giolito de Ferrari; Domenico de Farri’s Sun in Splendour. Returning to names, people will often come out with that mouldy old chestnut, La Serenissima. If they do, shut them down with the less abused historical nickname, La Dominante (doh-mee-nan-tay), a nice and vigorous echo of the high days of the Republic.