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Here you can find most of my works, all 100% handmade. I hope you like them!
Arianna 

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Venice place names: Calle, Calle Larga, Salizada, Rio terà, Ramo, Sotoportego

In Venice everything is different from the rest of the world, there’s no doubt. Even the streets are not simple ways to transport people and things, but they are opportunities to see magnificent places at every step.

If you are looking for a “Strada” (Street) in Venice, you’ll find only “Strada Nova(New Street), located in the Cannaregio district, a real city artery. Strada Nova commonly indicates the long route formed by a long series of spacious streets, from the railway station to Campo Ss. Apostoli- actually, only a part of it is the real Strada Nova.

Its construction began at the beginning of the 19th century and continued for almost the entire century, turning a long and winding road into a spacious and full of shops street.

Strada Nova

 

The other streets in Venice are called “Calli“, from the Latin callis, which means path.

The “calli” can be very narrow or wide, the “Calli larghe” (wide streets) can be dead end streets- in this case they are called “Rami” (branches), when they lead to a dead end “campo” (field) or directly to a house.

Calle

 

The “Salizade” are “calli”  which once were more important, and that’s why they were first paved with masegni (typical stone used just in Venice), while the others were paved with terracotta bricks (or clay) placed in a herringbone pattern (as you can see even today in front of the Church of Madonna dell’Orto).

 

 

Salizada

Madonna dell’Orto

The masegni are the classic gray stones that cover almost the entire Venetian public ground, from the first half of the 18th century. This paving is composed of slabs of trachyte, a volcanic stone extracted in the quarries of the Euganean Hills area, near Padua.

Masegni

 

Another type of street in Venice is the “Ruga” (from the French Rue): it is a street important for commercial business that have always been there since ancient times.

Ruga

 

Sometimes the need to create spaces on the streets led to bury the canals, turning them into “Rio Terà” (buried canal): the water of the canal often still flows under the road ground.

Rio Terà

The need to build houses forced the Venetians to widen the houses above the street: this is the case of “Sotoporteghi” (underpasses), a sort of “gallery” through the houses, often dark, where you can see the classic wooden beam ceiling that every Venetian house has.

Sotoportego

 

Even the  names of these different kind of “streets” are particular and different: they often refer to the ancient (or present) proximity to a convent or church or crafts that were practiced in a concentrated way, or they get their name from some famous person who used to live around there, but also by ordinary people who became famous for some reason.

And if all these names were not enough, keep in mind one thing: sometimes you can find the same name of a calle in different areas of the city, leading the distracted or superficial visitor to lose his way  (or go crazy at all!).

Sources

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strada_Nova

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calle

http://alloggibarbaria.blogspot.it/2009/11/masegni.html

https://www.innvenice.com/Toponomastica-Venezia.htm

The Venetian “Fondamenta”

Venice is a unique and special city, and the names of its “streets” are different from any other city in the world.

In Venice there is only one “Strada” (street), the “strada nova” and just one “Piazza” (square), Piazza San Marco.

The only road signs you can find walking around Venice are called “nizioleti” (Venetian term which means “sheets”).

The nizioleti are wall paintings painted on the plaster of the buildings and they show names, directions and street numbers.

The appearance of these atypical street signs is unmistakable: they appear as white squares (this is why there is the reference to the small sheet) bordered with black and they contain letters, numbers and arrows painted by hand in black thanks to the use of molds.

 

A recurring word you’ll find is Fondamenta or Fondamente.

“Fondamenta” means “foundation” in Italian, and it describes the walking bank along a canal. It was (and still is today) a popular area to load and unload boats, kind of like a dock.

The Fondamenta is the road that faces the water, just like the one I’m looking at now from my studio.

There may be different types of fondamenta, but they all will have some shore, the landing place for boats, with steps made of Istrian stone that descend into the canal and which are usually covered by slippery algae that capture unsuspecting tourists and sometimes take them to water.

Some fondamenta have wrought iron railings, interspersed with metal columns or Istrian stone, while others have masonry parapets covered with stone.

Some fondamenta have no parapets and have only a strip of Istrian stone along the edge that runs along the canal.

There are particularly large and long fondamenta, like the Zattere, which runs along the Giudecca Canal.

Other fondmaneta are not very large but they can be very long and you can find a lot of commercial activities, such as the Fondamenta della Misericordia which I wanted to portray in my engraving and which continues changing its name in Fondamenta dei Ormesini, where my studio is located.

 

 

The fondamenta has the particular charm to represent the union between land and water, in a city that lives in balance between these two elements and which can take the best from both, transforming them into a unique magic.

 

Sources

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fondamenta_(Venezia)

http://www.venezia.travel/blog-eventi/curiosita/le-fondamente-o-fondamenta-di-venezia-cosa-sono.html

https://www.magicoveneto.it/Venezia/Venezia/Conoscere-Venezia-Salizada-Calle-Ramo-Ruga-Piscina-Fondamenta-Riva.htm

http://www.myveniceapartment.com/it/venezia-calle-fondamenta-rio-e-salizada/

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nizioleto

2 years and still going strong: happy birthday Plum Plum Creations!

SAVE THE DATE: APRIL 7th

It seems like only yesterday when I opened my studio, among problems and hitches… and now this is the second birthday we’re going to celebrate together!!

The second birthday of Plum Plum Creations, as usual, an opportunity to meet old and new friends at the studio in Fondamenta dei Ormesini n. 2681.

We will celebrate together according to tradition: drinking and having fun!

I wait for you all at the studio on April 7th, from 6pm
Arianna

PS: You can confirm your participation also on the “Event” on my Facebook page clicking here

The Bicentenary of Gallerie dell’Accademia – Canova, Hayez, Cicognara

The year just passed saw the celebration of the bicentennial of the Gallerie dell’Academia, one of the most important Venetian museums, where you can find the best collection of art from Venice and  the whole Veneto, especially paintings from 14th to 17th century.

The Gallerie were born in 1817, a special moment in the artistic history of Venice: there was a cultural awakening of the city, together with a rediscovery of the ancient glory, arresting the decline followed by the fall of the Serenissima.

Among the major artists represented at the Accademia there are Tintoretto, Tiziano, Canaletto, Giorgione, Giovanni Bellini, Vittore Carpaccio and Veronese.

Besides the paintings, in the Gallerie you can also find sculptures and drawings, including the famous Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci, which is only exhibited on special occasions.

The exhibition, open until April 2nd 2018, celebrates the crucial years of the cultural revival which begun in 1815 with the return from Paris of the four horses of San Marco and the lion of the column on the pier of San Marco, symbolic works of Venice stolen in 1798 by Napoleon’s army, and ended with Canova’s death in 1822 in Venice.

The exhibition revolves around three key figures: Cicognara, Canova and Hayez.

 

Count Leopoldo Cicognara, (Ferrara 1767 – Venice 1834) intellectual, art historian and biographer, engaged in the preservation and enhancement of the past and at the same time in supporting contemporary art of those years.

He was president of the Academy of Fine Arts since 1808, where he had important results in the increase of the number of professors, in the establishment of awards for students and in the improvement of the courses of studies.

He was also the creator of the Galleria for the exhibition of Venetian paintings that now celebrates 200 years of life.

 

 

 

Antonio Canova, (Possagno 1757 – Venice 1822) famous sculptor, is considered the greatest exponent of European Neoclassicism in sculpture and he was in charge of the recovery of the works of art stolen by Napoleon during the occupation.

He was also highly appreciated during Romanticism, especially in Italy, where he was able to ignite national pride during the Risorgimento, to the point of being considered the tutelary genius of the nation.

 

 

 

 

Francesco Hayez, (Venice 1791 – Milan 1882) an innovative and multifaceted Venetian painter, one of the greatest exponent in Italy of the Romantic movement, left an indelible mark on the history of Italian art thanks to his works, many of which contain a hidden Risorgimento political message.

Cicognara, in an epistle sent to his friend Canova in 1812, wrote of his ambition to see Hayez becoming the interpreter of national inspirations, capable of giving new life to the great Italian painting.

 

 

 

The current exhibition is divided into ten thematic sections, among which stands out the meeting of the series of artifacts sent in 1818 to the court of Vienna for the wedding of Emperor Francis I, known as the “Homage of the Venetian Provinces”, which return to Venice for the first time in 200 years.

Inside the exhibition there are also paintings, sculptural groups, two ares and two large marble vases, a table made of bronze and wood with the top covered with precious Murano glass and precious bindings representing the highest artistic production of the Venetian Neoclassicism.

The visiting path also features the Musa Polimnia by Canova, completed in 1816, which has a troubled story which is told for the first time on this occasion.

In 1898, after the death of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, the sculpture passes into the collection of her niece, Archduchess Elisabeth Mary of Austria, daughter of Rudolf of Hapsburg-Lorraine.

In 1942, after two years of negotiations and the payment of an exorbitant sum, the Musa Polimnia became property of Adolf Hitler, who wanted it for his Fuhrermuseum in Linz.

Found by the Americans in 1942 in a castle, it was moved to Munich, Germany.

Only in 1964 the statue returned to Hofburg, in the same rooms that had hosted it until 1929, and then moved for a few months to the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.veneziatoday.it/eventi/canova-hayez-cicognara-gallerie-accademia-venezia.html

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallerie_dell%27Accademia

http://www.gallerieaccademia.it/canova-hayez-cicognara-lultima-gloria-di-venezia-0

http://www.mostrabicentenariogallerie.it/

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Canova

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopoldo_Cicognara

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francesco_Hayez

http://www.exibart.com/notizia.asp?IDNotizia=54874&IDCategoria=264

David Hockney at Ca’ Pesaro

Ca’ Pesaro, the grand palace of the second half of the 17th century where the International Gallery of Modern Art of Venice is located, is hosting a beautiful exhibition which nears its end.

The exhibition of David Hockney, from June 24th to October 22nd, is the first Italian exhibition focused on the master of contemporary art, and it has brought for the first time in our country his most recent project: 82 portraits and a still life.

David Hockney was born on July 9, 1937 in Bradford, a British industrial town in West Yorkshire, and attended the Royal College of Art in London after graduating at the Bradford School of Art.

In 1960 he exhibited at the historic Young Contemporaries at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London, an exhibition which marks the birth of the British pop art, and David became one of the major exponents.

In 1961 he travelled to the United States for the first time, destination New York, and then in 1964 he went to Los Angeles, a city that inspired him with his dazzling California light: he became an interpreter of that particular light, turning the atmosphere of the American life into famous works.

His work, from the beginning to the present, has the figurative element as the absolute protagonist, from portrait to landscape, through the use of traditional art and new media techniques.

David ranges among pastel designs, engravings, oil paintings, photographic collages,  designs on the iPad, portraying the life around him, and he works also on many scenographies both in England and in the United States.

His artworks lead him to become one of the most famous and important artists of the twentieth century and, for some decades, the best-known British artist.

I’d like to indicate a quote to his famous picture “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with two figures)” in one of my favorite Netflix series: in the Bojack Horseman’s living room there is a funny “horse version”.

In the current exhibition at Ca’ Pesaro we can see the 82 portraits made between 2013 and 2016 featuring gallerists, curators, artists, well-known and familiar faces in Los Angeles, as well as family members and friends.

Each portrait is executed under the same conditions: the realization time is three days (or, as the artist says, “twenty hours of exposure”), with the subject sitting in a chair on a platform with a neutral two-tone background, to prove that, within the limits of these rigid standards of representation, the greatness of the master is measured by his ability to express an infinite range of human feelings.

 

Sources

http://www.veneziatoday.it/eventi/location/ca-pesaro/
http://www.veneziatoday.it/eventi/mostra-david-hockney-ca-pesaro.html
http://capesaro.visitmuve.it/it/mostre/mostre-in-corso/david-hockney/2017/03/18600/82-ritratti-e-1-natura-morta/
https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hockney
http://www.ilpost.it/2017/07/09/david-hockney/

Vere da pozzo – Venetian wellheads

Venice is undoubtedly a city unique in all the world, a symphony of treasures, monuments, palaces, glimpses, history, poetry and many other things, and sometimes you are dazzled by all this beauty that you do not realize that just in front of you there are spectacles of architecture, art, and engineering that go almost unnoticed. This is the case of the wellheads (“vere da pozzo” in venetian), real art jewels and above all an expression of the typical venetian wisdom that have contributed to make the Serenissima so powerful.

It may seems strange that a city crossed and surrounded by so much water has always had problems with water supply.

Marin Sanudo, historian and chronicler of Venice, around the early 1500s wrote “Venezia è in acqua et non ha acqua” (“Venice is in the water but has no water”).

Because of its geological shape, the “lidi” (shores) were the only areas where rich water sources were present and where they found natural wells, formed by the accumulation of rainwater filtered and depurated by the sand.

Finding these wells could have influenced the method of construction of the wells, because only Venice used layers of sand to filter and make rainwater drinkable.

Since the Middle Ages, citizens began to build underground cisterns, while the government encouraged and promoted the construction of water systems.

The solution to the water problems of an ever-growing population was finally found thanks to the realization of the “Venetian wellheads“.

 

Photo by Wolfgang Moroder

These structures served both as a freshwater cistern -the freswater was carried by the Brenta and Sile rivers (task of the “Corporazione degli Acquaioli” founded in 1386)- and for the purification of rainwater.

Once found the best place for the well, they began to dig (usually no more deep than 5 meters below the sea level) sometimes raising an entire “campo” (field) to reach the required depth and to avoid that the brackish water of the lagoon enters the cistern as a result of the rising tide.

The walls and the bottom of the underground cistern were covered with a layer of clay that made it impermeable to any brackish water infiltration from the ground.

The clay was then covered with layers of clean sand of different sizes, which was constantly wet, and which had the aim to filter the rainwater.

Rainwater was collected inside the well through two or four stone blocks of Istria, called “pilelle”, arranged symmetrically in relation to the well barrel.

In some wells, the perimeter of the underlying cistern was visible on the surface thanks to a frame of Istrian stone.

 

Underneath the “pilelle”, they build structures made of bricks shaped like bells open at the bottom to convey as much water as possible, while the above pavement was slightly elevated around the mounds to help the water to drain thanks to the gravity.

At the bottom of the cistern, just at the center of the excavation, they placed a slab made of stone of Istria on which they built the well barrel with special bricks, called “pozzali”, which allowed the filtered rainwater to enter the barrel.

At the top of the barrel, usually above one or two steps, they placed the “vera da pozzo” (wellhead), the only part of the structure  external to the pavement.

 

Source: commons.wikimedia.org // Author: Marrabbio2

Usually the venetian wellheads were made of Istrian stone and Veronese limestone, though sometimes the oldest wells were obtained from large capitals coming from Roman buildings.

Over time, and with the evolution of architectural taste, the wellheads became ornamental elements, with many different shapes and decorations.

Building a wellhead was a very expensive and demanding hard work due to the complexity of the proceedings, and the Republic encouraged the richest families to donate a well to the city, thus bringing prestige to the family. This is why you can see a lot of wellheads with aristocratic coat-of-arms, inscriptions and bas-reliefs of the families that took charge of the construction.

The placing of the wellheads could be very different: from the public “campi” (fields)  to the private courtyards or cloisters.

Maintenance was necessary to keep the well in order and healthy, and it was just the Republic that took care of this, assuring that infantrymen of the “Provveditori alla Acque” supervised the wellheads.

Parish priests and county leaders had to check wells too: these had the keys of the cisterns, which were opened twice a day (morning and evening) to the sound of the “campana dei pozzi” (bell of the wells).

According to a statistics compiled by the Municipal Technical Office on December 1st, 1858, there were 6046 private wells, 180 public wells, and 556 basement wells.

In the 19th century, after the construction of the city aqueduct, the use of the wells was progressively abandoned and the wells were closed to the top with metal or cement cover for security reasons.

Today there are 600 wellheads and they fulfil a purely aesthetic function, in a city that in the past has always been able to improve through difficulties thanks to the intelligence and the willingness of its inhabitants.

 

 

Sources

A. Penso, I Pozzi, in ArcheoVenezia del 4 dicembre 1995
http://venezia.myblog.it/2016/01/20/le-vere-pozzo-venezia-straordinario-sistema-idrico-ornamento-della-serenissima/
https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pozzo_(Venezia)
https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vera_da_pozzo
http://veredapozzo.com
https://venicewiki.org/wiki/Vere_da_pozzo

The Venice Historical Regatta and Caterina Cornaro: the strength of a woman

The Venice Historical Regatta will take place on Sunday, September 3rd, (the Regata takes place the first Sunday of September) and it will have its climax in the beautiful “gondolini” racing, a fascinating race, rich in tradition and historic rivalries as well.

Before the official races, there will be a beautiful historical parade which recalls a particular episode of Serenissima’s history: the triumphant return of Caterina Cornaro from Cyprus to Venice in 1489.

Who was Caterina Cornaro, and why is this recurrence celebrated? What’s her story?
Caterina’s story is in fact the story of a strong, courageous and beloved woman which mixes strong feelings and political intrigues.

Caterina Cornaro (in Venetian the second name is “Corner”) belongs to one of the most powerful Venetian families. She was born on November 25th, 1454 in Venice and spent her early childhood in the family palace on the Grand Canal and later in a monastery near Padua.

At 14, she married Giacomo II of Lusignano by proxy, king of Cyprus and Armenia. The wedding was proposed by her uncle Andrea Corner, exiled from Venice to the island of Cyprus.

Needless to say that it was the classic marriage of convenience, and in this case there were many good reasons: the Cornero could better manage their possessions in the island, Venice could extend its influence on Cyprus and thus consolidate its control on the Mediterranean Sea, and finally Cyprus found thus a powerful ally in the struggle against Genoa, who yearned for Famagusta, and against the Turkish.

Actually, Giacomo II delayed his marriage commitment because he tried to approach the Kingdom of Naples, enemy of Venice; however, the insistence of the Venetians and, above all, the Ottoman advance convinced him to respect the treaties and in 1469 he concluded an alliance that guaranteed Cyprus under the protection of the Republic.

That’s how in 1472, when she was 18, Caterina left Venice on board of the Bucintoro to arrive in her new residence in Nicosia, where she got married and she was crowned queen.

Less than a year later, in July, Giacomo suddenly died, leaving Caterina pregnant of their son, Giacomo III, who would be born the following month.

Meanwhile the queen was excluded from the throne which was entrusted to a college of “commissars”. It was very difficult for Caterina to succeed in being recognized as Queen of Cyprus, but she resisted and remained until the Venetian fleet reached the island and restored order.

From March 28th, 1474, the Republic of Venice affixed to Catherine a commissioner and two counselors, removing some of the queen’s trusted men from the island.

Catherine, however, was a lonely woman, and the premature death of little Giacomo III made her increase her loneliness so much that she fell into depression. She was thus achieved by her father who helped her to overcome her illness and to improve her relationships with Venice, obtaining more freedom.

There were two conspiracies by noble Catalans who tried to overthrow the reign of Caterina, both repressed by the Republic of Venice.

After the second attempt, the Serenissima began to press for Caterina to return home and to surrender the kingdom to Venice in exchange for benefits worthy of a queen.

Caterina did not accept, but finally she had to surrender because of the intercession of his brother Giorgio Cornaro: on February 26th, 1489, dressed in black, she had to relentlessly leave the island forever and to return home, giving the island to Venice.

On June 6th, 1489, sitting on the Bucintoro next to Doge Agostino Barbarigo, Caterina made her triumphal entrance to Venice, which received her “daughter” with great affection: she was named “domina Aceli” (Lady of Asolo), retaining her title and rank of queen.

The historical parade of the Regata recalls just this episode: the embrace of the city to a strong and unlucky woman, who has always kept its integrity and dignity exemplarily.

During the reign of Caterina, Asolo’s court became famous for welcoming famous artists and literati. However, her life in the castle of Asolo was no less tormented: in 1509 she had to flee twice because of the advance of the Hapsburg troops, taking refuge in Venice, her city, where she died in 1510.

They say that the crowd who wanted to participate to the funeral was so big that they had to build a bridge of boats from Rialto to Santa Sofia to allow a better outflow.

Caterina still rests in the church of San Salvador, near Rialto Bridge.

The Redentore Feast in Venice

The Redentore Feast (Redeemer’s Feast) is a traditional feast of Venice: it is celebrated on the third Sunday of July and it is certainly deeply felt by the Venetians.

The Saturday before the third Sunday of July a long votive bridge of boats is opened on the Giudecca Canal connecting the island with the Zattere, thus allowing people to reach the Redentore Church.

 

The Redeemer’s Day is the event that celebrates the building of the Redentore Church by order of the Venetian Senate in 1576 as an ex-vote for the liberation of the city from the plague of 1575. The terrible plague caused the death of more than 50,000 people in just two years.

At the end of the plague, in July 1577, it was decided to celebrate every year the liberation from the plague with a votive deck being set up.

This celebration has become over time a tradition very much felt by the Venetians and it is still very much alive – and it is very healthy, indeed – after almost five centuries.

 

 

The festival is famous (also called “la notte famosissima – the very famous night”) especially for the wonderful fireworks show (“i foghi – the fires”) that takes place the night between Saturday and Sunday on the San Marco basin, which for the occasion is closed to normal navigation and welcomes the boats of the many Venetians who pour into the dock to eat, drink, dance and spend a night together.

 

Scala Contarini del Bovolo (Bovolo staircase)

Contarini del Bovolo Palace is a late Gothic building in San Marco district, near Campo Manin, overlooking the San Luca Canal.

The Palace, built between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, was the home of the Contarini family of St. Peternian.

In 1499 Pietro Contarini, Marco Contarini and Giovanni Battista Contarini, senators of the Serenissima Republic of Venice, added the famous spiral staircase (“bovolo” means spiral in venetian): from that moment on the staircase gave its name not only to the palace but to the whole family, who was nicknamed Contarini “dal Bovolo”.

The staircase represents a perfect synthesis of different styles, with its Renaissance elements, the typical construction technique of Gothic style and the Venetian-Byzantine shape.

 

Initially the staircase had the only purpose of decorating the interior facade of the palace, to enhance the prestige and the popularity of the family.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century the palace was purchased by Emery company. The company rented the palace to Arnoldo Marseille, who opened the hotel called “Maltese” in 1803, and that’s why the court of the palace is called “corte del Maltese” (Maltese court).

In 1859, from the lookout tower Wilhem Tempel, a German lithographer and amateur in astronomy, discovered a comet bearing its name.

The current owner placed in the back courtyard an important collection of venetian water wells, which frame the facade of the most imposing and prestigious spiral staircase in Venice.

From the mid-nineteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth century, the history of the Palace is linked to the events of assistance in Venice, until it becomes the headquarter of the IRE (Institution of Hospitality and Education), which administers the old people’s homes around the city.

 

Click here to see the watercolor “Scala Contarini del Bovolo (Bovolo staircase)” >

Sources
https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palazzo_Contarini_del_Bovolo
https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contarini#Contarini_dal_Bovolo
http://www.scalacontarinidelbovolo.com
https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Wilhelm_Tempel

Vogalonga 2017 – 43rd edition

Only three days to the 43rd edition of the Vogalonga here in Venice!

Vogalonga is a rowing regatta in the Italian city of Venice.

On November 11th, 1974 a group of Venetians, both amateur and professional rowers, had a race. They came up with an idea of non-competitive “race” in which any kind of rowing boat could participate, in the spirit of historical festivities. The first Vogalonga began the next year with the message to protest against the growing use of powerboats in Venice and the swell damage they do to the historic city.

Participants gather in St Marks Basin in front of the ducal palace. The racecourse is scenic route 30 kilometers long along the various Venetian canals and historical buildings, and reach islands like Sant’Erasmo, Burano and Murano.

At the this first edition there were about 1.500 riders.

The following editions Vogalonga gradually increased consensus and participation, reaching over 8,000 members this year (absolute record), with regattas coming from around the world and with all kinds of rowing boats.

Each participant receives a commemorative medal and a certificate of participation.

Thanks to www.vogalonga.com

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