Saturday, March 28, 2009

The chicken and the gondola

Our dealership uses two separate data bases to generate business.

One of the names that popped up recently on one of them was a gentleman whose last name was Leghorn.

Since I grew up watching a lot of Looney Tunes cartoons, the first thing that came to mind was a character named Foghorn Leghorn.

Because Leghorn is not exactly a common name, I was curious about its origins, so I went to Google for some clarification.

When I typed in “Leghorn” into the Google search box, it pulled up a name that I was not at all familiar with – Livorno. According to the website listed below, Leghorn is the English translation for the Italian word Livorno

As it turns out, Livorno is a city in Italy that was founded in the 1850’s.


One of the districts within the city is an area that all of us are a LOT more familiar with – Venice.

Venice itself is considerably older. Although exact historical records are not available, its origins go back to roughly the 2nd Century A.D., and it’s less a “city” than it is a legal connection that joins 118 islands in a lagoon on the Adriatic Sea. The dominant form of transportation in Venice is by gondola.

One of those islands is a piece of land called Murano, which has been the home of Venice’s glass making industry since 1291.

The glass that is manufactured on the island is much more varied than the glass used in windows. In a very broad sense, it truly is Italian art, and samples of Murano glass can be viewed by clicking on the name “Murano glass”.

Due to the fascination that the Japanese people have with Italian art, one of the names suggested for “the world’s first smooth SUV" was Murano – and that was the name that stuck.

By now you’re probably wondering what all this has to do with chickens, so I’ll take you back to the hen house.

There are 109 different breeds of chicken in existence in the world today.

The Leghorn is the only breed originating in Italy, but it is one of the most popular breeds throughout the world, and it is THE most popular breed for egg production in the United States. The breed is named after the city of Livorno, but there is no accurate information about when the breed first came into existence.

If you look carefully at the map of Italy, you’ll notice that the city of Livorno is on the “leg” part of the “boot” of Italy.

So ..

If you’re curious about the answer to that age old question of which came first, the chicken or the egg, the answer would have to be ..



  1. Must be some connection to the roosters in Key West.

    Regarding Murano glass, now that Waterford Crystal is only a storefront, there is an Irish heritage in glass making to track down. As I recall, glass has been made at Waterford for 3500 years. The current demise of business can be traced to the firing of master craftsmen, and the move to cheaper manufacture in the Czech Republic (Marquis brand). The setup of specialty craftsmen under various brand names, such as Tipperary, is where you will find the real thing.

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