Friday, December 25, 2009

Venice : Veneto (Italy)

The Veneti were an ancient people who inhabited north-eastern Italy, in an area corresponding to the modern-day region of the Veneto. The ancient Veneti spoke Venetic, an extinct Indo-European language which is attested in approximately 300 short inscriptions dating from the 6th to 1st centuries BC. While there are no historical records that deal directly with the origins of Venice (Venezia in Italian), the available evidence has led several historians to agree that the original population of Venice comprised refugees from neighbouring Roman cities fleeing Germanic invasions. However late Roman sources reveal the existence of fishermen on the islands in the original marshy lagoons. They were referred to as incolae lacunae (lagoon dwellers).

  • Sample :
Full scale

  • Brief anthropological analysis :

- Type 1 :
Light pigmentation, light eyes (green or "aqua blue"), more or less leptomorphic, straight nose, large jaws
~ Nordid

This type is quite abundant in North Italy. Livid blue eyes seem to be an Italian trademark.

- Type 2 :
Light pigmentation, brachymorphic, wide-set eyes, little and low-rooted nose, high cheekbones
~ Alpinoid

Dark variants :

- Type 3 : Dark complexion, leptomorphic, brachycephalic (?), arched and high-rooted nose, pointy chin, high cheekbones
~ Dinarid

In comparison with the remainder of Veneto, this type - quite specific to the Adriatic - appears to be quite pigmented and more "Mediterranean"-looking in Venice.

  • Final morphotypes :


  1. I have family from that area (1/4 of ancestry) and I find the second "Nordid" woman to be almost identical to some in that branch, specially my cousin Patxi. The second "Nordid" guy also has that same family air...

    The third one, instead, no matter his eye color, looks typical Etruscan to me, hence Mediterranid. He could also pass as Basque anyhow, specially from the area of Markina.

    The look of the third "Nordid" woman I have seen in other people from Romagna, just to the south. I wouldn't say it's clearly Nordic either, even if it has light pigment features (but reddish, rather than whitish, probably with a decent tanning ability, that my Italian Nordid relatives often lack). If you ignore the pigment, the features are more Mediterranid in a very Italian sense - I could imagine Etruscans looking like that too.

    1. To me he doesn't look Etruskan at all and, trust me, I'm from Veneto.
      Romagna is part of North Italy, is not in the South.

    2. Well, I was judging on some ancient Etruscan art like this one, this one or this one. There are others that are not the same kind of look, but these show a type characterized by big almond-shaped eyes and black curly hair, that I always tend to associate to Etruscans.

      Also notice that there was important Etruscan colonization of Emilia-Romagna and even north of the Po. Mantua (Mantova) for instance is an Etruscan foundation.

      "Romagna is part of North Italy, is not in the South."

      Tuscany is not in the South either. Anyhow, while there are some differences among North and South Italians, there is no clear cut divide either nor the differences are as extreme as some may wish to imagine. The most distinct of all Italians are Sardinians, the rest form a cline and cluster together vs Sardinia.

      See for example this entry at my blog on Italian autosomal genetics, or also this one on Y-DNA.

  2. Many Thanks.

    Indeed one just need to brows old Venetian portraits to find the same types and colours.


  3. In my opinion, the type 1 and 2 are subnordids and the dark variants are alpin/med. (the guy is look-alike Cristiano Ronaldo)

  4. Maju, can you tell us what the hell an etruscan phenotype is please?
    Have you the time machine by any chance?

  5. We have excellent Etruscan frescos, very suggestive in this matter: almost invariably ancient Etruscans had black curly hair, for instance.

    The big almond-shaped eyes are also so Etruscan/Eteocretan that well...

    Sure, I base my impressions on ancient frescoes largely. Some Egyptians also look like ancient Egyptians, believe me.

  6. Hi,
    I'm from Rovigo, I like your blog, thank you :)
    I'd like to say that it's very difficult that someone in Veneto looks the original Veneti or looks Etruskans...we were part of the Roman Empire and later we've been invaded and conquered by a lot of German tribes, by Spain, French and Austria... :)

  7. Hi,
    It's a very goog job congratulations !
    I think that Venice is realy, in the middle of the influence of 2 cultural and anthropogical areas : Central Europe and the mediterranean world.
    For exemple, we have here the 2 extreme phenotypes :
    The first man and the second woman "alpinoid" looks very Northern or central Europe. The blond man could pass as Austrian, or german Swiss, even Bavarian. The woman as something "Irish" in her visage. I would classify them more "subnordic" than clearly alpine, even if brachycephaly is evident here.
    On the other extreme of the sample, the first man of the "type 3", is very "mediterranean", with black frizzy hair, olive skin. He could be the perfect stereotype of a Napolitan ! Southern italian look, he could also be Sardinian or Greek.
    For what I see, my analysis :
    subnordic or noric : A2, A3 B8, C2, C3, D6 and D8 Perhaps more than 20 % of the sample
    alpine and alpinoid-mediterranean mix : A4, B6, C4 and others...
    Dinaric : C5 D3 D4,perhaps
    Mediterranean : C8, A6 , perhaps B7 not sure...

    about 25 % of blue eyes, very high
    Venice is a mix, because it is situated in the middle of commercial road from mediterranean sea to the alps and central Europe


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