There are 139 ciese in Venice, in fact the city started with the foundation of one. Early Venice consisted of a number of ciese (singular ciesa) each with a field in front of them and houses around the field. What am I talking about? Churches of course. Ciesa (also sometimes written cexa, ciesa, ciexa and pronounced che-ay-sa) is the Venetian word for church. Unlike the Italian, chiesa, it starts with a soft ‘ch’ sound.