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Via Veneto(n)

My work recently relocated to an office in El Cangrejo that is near the street that the Veneto Hotel is on.  I usually take the Metrobus to get there but I was running a little late one day so I needed to take a Taxi.  This is how the conversation went with the first taxi stopped:

Me: Via Veneto? (In my best Panamanian accent)

Taxi: Confused look and said he had no idea what I was talking about, then drove off.

The Veneto Hotel is one of the most known landmarks in Panama; i’s famous for their casino and hookers that stand outside there all day.  It was very weird that the taxi driver had no clue where it was.

I said the same thing to next taxi driver that stopped and this is how it went:

Me: Via Veneto? (In my best Panamanian accent)

Taxi: Confused look then says “Ooo Veneton”

Me: Si si si

veneto mapI was not sure why he added an N add the end of Veneto but I was late so I did not have time to argue.  But it bothered me the whole ride there and I wanted to know why they were clueless when I called it Veneto.  After he dropped me off I decided to do some investigating.

I told the maid at work what happened and she said the street is called Veneton and the hotel is called Veneto.  I knew this was not true because I had just looked on Google Maps and the street is called Via Veneto and the hotel is called Veneto, there is no N at the end of either of those.

A few days later I asked a few Panamanian friends what the street and hotel was called and they all said Veneton.  When I confronted that this is not true they reverted to saying the street is called that or something.

So my conclusion is the official name of both the hotel and street are called Veneto, but the local name is Veneton.

But getting around Panama is knowing all the local landmarks, streets and buildings are rarely called by their real name.  F&F tower is called El Tornillo, my old street was called McDonalds street in San Francisco, my new street is called Super 99 in San Francisco, my old university’s street was called Riba Smith street in Bella Vista, and there are a hundred other examples that take time to learn.   So to get to Via Veneto I will now say Via Veneton.

If anyone knows where the N comes from at the end of Veneto please share, I am really curious!



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  1. Christian Rios

    The correct name is Via Veneto, just like the famous street in Rome. I have a theory so silly that it might actually be true. When I was growing up in Panama in the late 80s and 90s, there were several United Colors of Benetton stores. They had very distinctive colors and styles. This created brand awareness and a familiarity with the word Benetton. Remember the V and B sound nearly identical in Spanish. So, my theory is that when the casino opened, people became more familiar with that street, and since Benetton and Veneto sound similar, Veneto became Veneton.

  2. Diego De Obald­a

    I guess it's because of United Colors of Benetton, which kinda became a panamanian high-class fad in the late 90's and had some stores near El Cangrejo.

  3. Frankie DRgringo

    There is another snafu with the street and the casino. If you look at the Casino it is spelled VENETO with one T. If you look at half the stores on the street they spell it VENETTO with two Ts. I have long given up in trying to apply logic and reason as to why things are the way they are in Latin America!


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