Can Grande translates as “Big Dog”. Interesting name for the Scaliger family who ruled Verona with an iron fist in the middle ages. Can Grande II della Scala was also nicknamed Can Rabbioso or “The Rabid Dog”.
It was he who built Castelveccio and the Castelveccio bridge to protect himself and his family from the people he exploited so heavily that they fell into penury. The castle turned out to be a wasted effort because in classic Italian style Can Grande found his end at the point of his brothers knife.
How much you can learn from an obscure reference in a line of a poem. What did we ever do before Google? Happy Birthday Richard Aldington who did his own “googling” in the British Museum.
In the British Museum; by Richard Aldington
I turn the page and read:
“I dream of silent verses where the rhyme
glides noiseless as an oar.”
The heavy musty air, the black desks,
the bent heads and the rustling noises
in the great dome
the sun hangs in the cobalt-blue sky,
the boat drifts over the lake shallows,
the fishes skim like umber shades through the undulating weeds,
the oleanders drop their rosy petals on the lawns,
and the swallows dive and swirl and whistle
about the cleft battlements of Can Grande’s castle…